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SJA offers premier Seattle property management services and serves as the local real estate industry’s most experienced resource for rental property owners.

While your tenants will have the most to worry about when moving out, it’s still a good time for you to get organized, put together a moving out checklist, and make sure that everything goes as planned. If you don’t have a professional Kirkland property management company helping you with the day to day details, you will have to make sure that your tenant is following your regulations, hasn’t messed up the property, and is moving out in an orderly fashion. The following includes a quick checklist to help you ensure that everything is as it should be.  

When You Receive a Notice  

You probably have a 30-day notice of vacancy requirement in your tenancy policy, and if tenants don’t give it, you can take the case to small claims court, where you can file for the rent until the expiration of the current lease, or for the month period after they moved out if you are on a month to month contract. You cannot do this if you already lease the unit out.  


It is important to start looking for new tenants as soon as possible, so consider putting together an advertisement within one week or less of the notice. Most people start looking for new apartments several weeks before they actually intend to move, so listing the unit, and showing it is an easy way to ensure that you can rent it out as quickly as possible after the tenants leave. While this is not an option if the unit needs work, it works if it is in good condition and ready to rent.  

When the Tenant Moves Out  

After the tenant moves out, you can start with ensuring that your property is ready to rent out to someone else.  

Perform an Inspection

You can choose to hire an inspection company, which is important if you’ve had them do a preliminary inspection when the tenant moves in, or do the inspections yourself. Here, you want to compare the condition of the unit now with the condition of the unit when the tenant moved in. If they’ve damaged the property, you can immediately charge them for the repair bills.  

Make Necessary Repairs

Normal wear and tear is almost inevitable, especially for long-term clients. While not necessarily the tenants fault, you still have to fix it. Hiring a repair team to go in and make any repairs and replacements ensures that the unit is in the best possible condition when you show the property.  

Consider Improvements

While not always a requirement, the addition of a “newly installed” or “newly refurbished” on the apartment listing can be quite attractive to potential tenants. Consider replacing small items that might have been damaged, swapping items out for more eco-friendly ones, or even refurbishing one room. 

Within 14 Days of the Tenant Moving Out 

After your tenant moves out, you can finalize your agreement, ensure that the property is ready for new tenants, and if necessary, bill the tenant for damages.  

Bill the Tenant for Any Damages

After you’ve done an inspection, you can make an itemized list of damages, and then bill the tenant for them. It is important that these are not wear and tear. Photo documentation of the property before and after the tenancy is the best way to prove this in a small claims court. Importantly, you do have more than 14 days to take cases to court, but it is easier to settle while you still have the security deposit.  

Return the Security Deposit

Washington’s law gives you 14 days to return the security deposit, so it is important that you get on that right away, but after you perform an inspection. If you have billed damages and repairs from the deposit, you should submit an itemized list of what was deducted. According to RCW 59.18.270, you may keep any interest accrued on the security deposit.  

Have Advertisements Up

By this time, you should already be showing the property if it is not in need of significant repairs or refurbishment. You should be advertising online, on social media, and in local newspapers as applicable.  

If you need help with managing your Kirkland property, consider hiring a professional property management company. With real estate attorney’s to help with paperwork, professional inspections, and full-time daily property management, we can ensure that you don’t have to worry about anything.  

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