What Are Tenants' Rights When Moving Out of Rental Homes
A time comes when you probably have to leave your rented unit to move into your own home or to another apartment. It is prudent to know your tenant rights when moving out to avoid being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous landlord. DoNotPay can help you get these rights and intervene on your behalf when the landlord raises rent or threatens to evict you.
Do I Have a Right to Move Out Early?
Well, that depends on a couple of things, such as your type of tenancy as well as the landlord's goodwill. You can either have a fixed-term tenancy that ends on a certain date or a periodic tenancy, also known as a rolling tenancy or contract.
|Fixed Tenancy||Fixed tenancy agreements state that you will be occupying the property for a definite term. This arrangement is often inflexible and can only be broken by exercising a break clause in your agreement or getting your landlord to agree to end the tenancy.
A break clause is a term in the lease agreement that allows you to terminate the tenancy before the end of the fixed term subject to specific conditions, such as adequate prior notice. You can't leave your tenancy early if there is no break clause unless the landlord agrees.
Also, under fixed agreements, you can only give notice if you have a break clause, and the amount of notice should be as stipulated by the clause. You can't give the notice to end the tenancy before the end of your fixed term.
|Periodic Tenancy||This is a more flexible arrangement that gives you the right to notify the landlord of your intention to move out whenever you decide to do so. A periodic tenancy exists if:
You have never had a fixed-term agreement, and you have a rolling tenancy that runs from week to week or month to month.
The fixed tenancy has ended, and you are yet to renew for another term.
While you can leave whenever you want if you are under periodic tenancy, you must give the landlord a four weeks' notice if your tenancy runs from week to week or a month's notice if it runs from month to month.
Leaving When Your Fixed Term Tenancy Ends
You are not required to give the notice to leave on the last day of your fixed term unless the lease agreement says so, though you could also opt to do it as a courtesy which also serves the following purposes:
- Help you get a reference from your landlord
- Notify the landlord that you need your deposit back.
When vacating, make sure to leave everything in good working order as you found it when you moved in. Doing so will ensure that you get your deposit back.
When Should I Get My Security Deposit Back?
If you paid a deposit when moving in, you have a right to get it back when leaving. However, the landlord has the right to deduct a portion for repairs resulting from your actions or arrears that need to be accounted for. It would be best to inform your landlord that you need your deposit back or do the same with an agency that manages the unit. Ask for the deposit in writing and retain a copy of the letter as evidence. Once you have agreed with the landlord on the amount, the law requires them to return it within ten days.
What Deductions Are Exempted From My Deposit?
Your landlord has no right to make any deductions for the following purposes:
- To replace a carpet that has undergone the natural process of wear and tear with a new one
- To fix damage resulting from a repair they refused to carry out when they should have after you informed them
- To paint the house or fix some piece of furniture that has grown old.
No money should be taken out of your deposit for things that have worsened due to reasonable wear and tear.
Do I Get the Deposit Back if My Local Council Paid It?
If your local council paid the deposit, you are not entitled to get it back. If the landlord takes out money for damages or rent owed, the local council will have to meet these expenses, and chances are, you will have to pay them back.
What if the Landlord Refuses to Give My Deposit Back?
If you feel that the landlord is unfairly keeping your deposit, try having a civil conversation with them or sending them a written reminder of your willingness to pursue legal alternatives should they insist on carrying on the unfair act. Contact the deposit protection service responsible for securing your deposit and follow their internal dispute resolution process if the landlord does not give in. If the landlord did not secure your deposit, you could seek legal recourse in a small claims court, where you stand a chance of getting your deposit back in addition to being compensated for your troubles should you win the case.
However, the burden of proof lies with you, and it is up to you to present a convincing case to stand a chance of winning; this is all a rigorous process involving paying legal fees.
You can avoid all this by getting your deposit back with the help of DoNotPay.
Use DoNotPay to Get Your Tenant Rights When Moving Out
Be it to get your security deposit back or upholding your other tenant rights when moving out, we've got you covered. All you have to do is follow these steps:
- Search for and open the Landlord Protection product on DoNotPay.
- Select which issue applies to you.
- Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to create your demand letter.
- Choose whether you want DoNotPay to send the demand letter to your landlord or roommate on your behalf. If you already tried sending a demand letter and it didn't work, we can help you start the small claims court process.
We can also help you with the following landlord protection services:
- Kick out a roommate.
- Provide a template on which to draft a notice to end the tenancy.
- Offer you information on how much notice you should get from your landlord.
What Else Can DoNotPay Do?
Dealing with the landlord is one of the many things we do. We can also help you:
Join us today to protect your tenant rights!