Before you leave your rental property, don’t forget to check these final items off your list.

leavinghome payingbills preparingtomove
Photo: iStock/Geber86

Final meter readings
If you have a separate meter for gas, water or electricity on your property, you should let the individual providers know in advance that you will be moving out. If you don’t do this, you could be charged for utilities in the next billing period.

Belongings left behind
If you leave any personal documents or goods behind, you will need to make arrangements to collect them. If these arrangements cannot be made, your landlord or property manager may request an inspection from your state Consumer Affairs office. The inspector will advise them what to do with your goods.

Your landlord or property manager cannot refuse to give back any of your belongings, even if you owe them rent. If you suffer a loss because they did not comply with the legislation in withholding your goods, you can apply to your state Tribunal for compensation. But if they have complied with the legislation and have suffered a loss through the cost of storing or auctioning your goods, they can also apply to the Tribunal to be compensated.

Personal documents
Personal documents include:

  • Official documents
  • Still and video cameras
  • Computer hard drives
  • Photographs
  • Correspondence
  • External storage devices
  • CDs and DVDs
  • Any other documents you could reasonably be expected to keep

What happens when my personal documents are left behind?
Your landlord or property manager must take reasonable care of your documents for at least 90 days.

They must also let you reclaim the documents after you pay the money your landlord or property manager had to spend to remove and store them. If they comply with their legal requirements to take reasonable care of personal documents for the required period of time, and you do not claim your documents, they are able to dispose of them.

Disposable goods
Your landlord or property manager can dispose of:

  • Perishable foods
  • Goods of no monetary value
  • Dangerous goods

All other goods must be stored, unless removal, notification, storage and auction costs would be more than auction proceeds.

Providing a forwarding address

In the event you leave your tenancy, it is a good idea to leave a forwarding address and a phone number. This new address and phone number should be given to the landlord or property manager. You can get your mail forwarded to your new address by completing a form at any Australia Post office.