What You Need to Know About Vacating Your Rental

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There are a lot of things you need to consider when moving out of your apartment, including worrying about getting your security deposit back from the landlord and sourcing for the right vendors for each task. This article will provide you with what you need to know about handing your rental property back over to your landlord, and how to increase your chances of getting your security deposit back. 

Leaving Singapore for good? Read our Expat Guide to Moving Out of Singapore.


To-Do’s Before Handing Over

In order to maximise your chances of getting your deposit back in a timely manner there are a lot of things you should consider doing. Disputes can arise over the smallest thing so be sure to be meticulous and think from the landlord’s perspective. 

  • A full move-out clean: If you haven’t been cleaning the apartment regularly during your stay, it is a good ideal to enlist the help of a professional cleaning service. Cleaning is one of the main sources of disputes, so be sure that the cleaning is done thoroughly. This should include mattress, carpet and curtain cleaning, all the way down to closets, ceiling fixtures and even light switches. 
  • Floor scratches and marks: Landlords often find fault with tenants over scratches on flooring. Depending on the type of flooring, there are various techniques you can employ (with a little bit of research) to reduce the damage. To conceal minor damage you can try using a wood market to fill in any grooves, or you could go a step further by sanding and applying a top coating. 
  • Patching up holes: While this may seem intimidation, it can actually be a simple DIY job. Once you have taken down any wall hangings, be sure to remove the nails and patch up the holes. To do this yourself, you’ll just need 4 things: (1) some spackling paste to fill in the holes, (2) a putty knife to blend the paste into the wall, (3) some sandpaper to lightly sand each spot and smoothen out the wall once the paste is dry, and (4) you may also need some paint to hide the colour discrepancy between the paste and the wall. 
  • Handyman work: Some things just can’t be done yourself. This may include the repair of any furniture damage, and electrical or plumbing work.
  • Leave the premise empty: When you hand the property over, make sure you remove all of your belongings. This includes removal of all the big things like furniture, and also the small things, even if they’re unwanted items that you are not taking with you. Landlords can sometimes charge high disposal fees if they have to remove anything left in the property, even if it’s a small box left on the floor! 

With all of these recommendations, another important thing to remember is to keep the invoices of any services you pay for. By doing this, you can show the landlord that you did your due diligence to return the property as it was given to you. You may have realised that your to-do list ends up being quite long. All these activities require contacting contractors, gathering quotes, deciding on the most suitable provider, and organising a time for the work to be completed.


Moving Out Inspection

Before the end of your lease, you will have to arrange a moving out inspection. This usually happens two to four weeks before the end of your lease. Typically your property agent will help you coordinate this inspection, as the agents are familiar with the pre-stay condition of the property.

Relocating during Covid-19? Read some great tips here.


Tenant VS. Landlord Repair Responsibilities

Depending on the terms in your Tenancy Agreement, you may or may not be responsible for ‘fair wear and tear’. In most rental agreements, tenants are required to pay for any damage that they have caused, however may be exempt for general wear and tear. Go back and have a read of your contract to check if there are any clauses that mention this, because it might save you some money. Typically, ‘fair wear and tear’ is considered damage or deterioration as a result of ordinary use of property, rather than by tenant fault or negligence. The problem with this clause is that if not specifically defined in the contract, the term is subjective. While a scratch on the floor may seem like natural deterioration, the landlord might feel differently. A typical scenario finds the tenant and landlord sharing the responsibility for fixing the issues categorised as ‘wear and tear’.


Done Everything You Can But Can’t Get Your Deposit Back?

Things don’t always go to plan, and even if you feel that you have done everything right, sometimes you still don’t win. In the case that you have undergone all the necessary steps but your landlord still won’t return your deposit, all hope is not lost. In Singapore, you can try your luck in the Small Claims Tribunal, who may rule in your favour. Before applying to the Tribunal, be sure to check the eligibility of your situation. Some criteria include that leases must not exceed two years, the claim is made within one year of the incident, and the claim is no more than $10,000.


Relogo Rental Handover Service

To ensure you have a smooth rental handover process, Relogo has launched a new service: Rental Handovers. A dedicated Relogo representative will assist to gather quotes, book the appointments, collate the receipts and liaise with all vendors. The goal of this service is to increase your chance of getting your full deposit back, relieve you of stress associated with the move, and assist you to engage experienced vendors with competitive pricing. Get competitive quotes from our list of trusted vendors for the following services: 

  • Moving & Storage
  • Disposal service
  • Move-out cleaning
  • Curtain dry cleaning
  • Handyman services

Feel free to contact Relogo with any of your relocation enquiries. Relogo is here to put your mind at ease, and help you with any of your relocation needs.