Moving House Etiquette

Moving House Etiquette

, by Maeve Reidy, 11 min reading time

It can be easy to forget, with all the excitement/stress of moving, that that there is a Moving House Etiquette that should be followed when moving out of a property. The basic Rule of Thumb is that you should leave your house (whether rented or sold) in the same way as you'd expect your new place to be left. Read on to find out exactly what's expected ...

It can be easy to forget, with all the excitement/stress of moving, that that there is a Moving House Etiquette that should be followed when moving out of a property.

The basic Rule of Thumb is that you should leave your house (whether rented or sold) in the same way as you'd expect your new place to be left.

Read on to find out exactly what's expected ...

moving house etiquette

1: Clean Up After Yourself

You should probably think about doing a little extra cleaning before you move out. If you have carpets, then a deep clean is advised. Furniture that you are leaving behind, like sofas and armchairs may need a thorough hoover and deep clean. If you have a pet, you'll be aware that they often make the house dirtier with pethairs etc so keep their messes in mind as well.

2: Inform the Neighbours

Informing your neighbours that you'll be moving, and that they should expect new owners is, well, a neighbourly thing to do! It is not essential, as they may have seen the "For Sale" sign outside your house, but it's considered polite to let them know they'll be having new neighbours. It's often appreciated if you can let them know anything specific, such as if they're a couple, a family with young children or if they have pets.

3: Leave Fixture and Fittings

It may sound obvious, but you should leave all fixtures and fittings when moving house. Bear in mind that you wouldn't like to move into your new place to find light fittings, doorknobs, kitchen counters or cupboards missing, so why would you do that to somebody else?

Generally speaking, if it requires a tool to remove it from the wall etc, it is advised that it should be left.

Fixtures could include:

  • Light fittings and switches
  • Hot Water Boiler
  • Radiators
  • Plugs
  • Bathroom suites
  • Kitchen Counters and Cupboards
  • Wardrobes (unless agreed in advance that you're taking it with you!)

Fittings would include such things as:

  • Carpets
  • Curtain Rails and Curtain Poles
  • Lampshades
  • TV Aerials and Satellite Dishes
  • Beds and Sofas (unless agreed in advance that you're taking them with you!)

4: Create an Inventory

If you do plan on taking items with you that were there when the buyer viewed the house, such as plants from the garden or doorknobs, you'll have to make sure it is clear to the buyer by signing a Fixtures & Fittings Inventory.

The buyer could take legal action if you take something with you after stating that it'll be there on the Inventory. Never mind that it is morally expected that you leave most of the fixtures and fittings when you're moving house; if you take things without agreement, the buyer could quite legitimately withhold payment or even cancel purchasing your property entirely!

5: Leave Nice Touches

It's a nice gesture to leave some thoughtful touches around the house to welcome the new occupants. Often, some sellers will leave a bottle of wine or chocolates as a welcome gift to the new owners. At the very least, it is a kindness to leave some Essentials like toilet roll and hand soap.

If there are any specific things they should know about the house, neighbourhood or area, make sure to leave a note informing them. What day is Bin Day, if there is a particularly good take-away nearby, or letting them know about the dodgy handle on the bathroom door is worth letting them know.

moving house etiquette

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I clean before moving house?

You should give your house a thorough clean before the new occupants move in. Put it this way: You wouldn't want to arrive at your new house and have to clean everywhere before you could unpack, so why would they expect any different?

You don't have to hire a professional cleaner, but you should make some sort of effort to make your house look acceptable. Hoover carpets, clean floors, wipe down surfaces, ovens, showers and wherever there is a build-up of dirt and grime.

What stays and what goes?

There is an unwritten rule that you should leave items like the doorbell, light fittings & plug sockets, carpets and curtain poles in their place. You can take your curtains if they're going to fit in your new place. If they're not going to fit, it's best to ask the new occupants if they would like you to leave them, as they may have their own curtains they expect to fit.

Whatever you do decide to remove, it should not involve leaving wires exposed! If you have mirrors or pictures on the wall that have been screwed or nailed in, it's deemed acceptable to take them. Generally, fixed mirrors in the bathroom are part of the bathroom suite and should therefore stay.

Can you leave rubbish in the bin when you move?

It is important to be considerate of the new homeowners when moving house. If you have any rubbish lying around, take the time to remove it. Whether this means taking a couple of trips to the local dump, hiring a skip, or asking a neighbour if they'd mind taking a bagful until Bin Day, it is always better to be kind.

Make sure to read your contract thoroughly before moving as many will specify that the house must be clean and cleared of rubbish before the new owners move in. If this doesn't occur, the buyers can request you to remove any remaining rubbish. This is even more important if you are renting, as the landlord can legitimately withhold your deposit if your rented property is not clean and clear of rubbish.

You have to think about how you would feel if you had just arrive at your new home to discover a load of rubbish and waste. After the chaotic journey, it's bad enough to have to unpack, let alone trying to wade through rubbish that isn't even yours!

Can I take my Wheelie Bin when moving house?

You shouldn't take your wheelie bin with you when you move house. You will have them at the new place and the odds are that the people moving into your house won't be bringing theirs either!

It is acceptable to leave, perhaps one small bag of rubbish in the wheelie bin when you leave. However you should ensure that the new occupants have enough space left to last at least until the next Bin Day. Any excess rubbish should be taken to the dump or into a skip that you have hired (and had removed before the new occupants arrive!)

Do you take curtains when you move?

It is polite to discuss this with the new buyers. Unless it states so in the contract, you're not obliged to leave your curtains when moving house. If the curtains are something you'd want to take with you, make this known as soon as possible, as nobody wants to live in a house with bare windows! It takes time to find the right sized curtains, and to fit them, so the new owners will want to know as soon as possible to help them get organised.

Don't forget that you will most likely be required to leave the curtain pole where it is.

What do I have to leave when I sell my house?

In short, whatever has been specified in the contract must remain in the house. Think about what you would like to be left when you move, and consider if that is an option for you.

Any fixtures and fittings that are permanently fixed to the structure of the building should remain in the house. this includes lighting, plugs, radiators & central heating, built-in wardrobes among other things of this type. Basically, anything that is nailed down, mounted or bolted should be left. Also, there must be no exposed wiring in the house before you move out. Therefore, you must leave or replace any light fittings when moving.

Should you fill holes in walls when moving?

Look at it this way: When you move into your new house, do you want to suddenly discover gaping holes in the wall?! If there is a "make good of any damage" type clause in your contract, then you may be legally expected to fill any holes. This is especially true for any large holes that have caused extensive damage.

Do you have to leave light bulbs when moving house?

What do you think? Imagine if you arrived at your new place, switched on the lights at the stairs to safely negotiate your way upstairs and found ... darkness?!

You must leave or replace any light fixtures when moving out as exposed wires are a very dangerous hazard. If you are that petty-minded, you can take the light bulbs from them if you so wish, but working light bulbs are a minor comfort that the new homeowners will appreciate!

Do you leave shelves when moving?

Generally speaking, fittings (items fixed to the building's structure) should be left where they are. Read your contract thoroughly to know whether or not it is legally expected of you to leave shelves in the house, but usually they will be left behind. If there is an item that you particularly want to keep with you, make sure to come to an agreement with the new owners before the contracts are signed.

Should you leave something for the new owners?

The most important things to consider leaving for the new owners would be:

  • A clean house
  • Important details of the property, like alarm codes, where the meters are, waste collection dates etc.
  • A welcome note, perhaps stating local takeaway numbers or other local information

If you would like to leave a gift for the new owners, perhaps a bottle of wine or flowers, it will likely be appreciated. It could brighten up their very chaotic moving day, but it is not expected or essential. It is more important to leave behind what you would like to see if you were moving in, and be considerate of their needs.

Moving house is a very stressful event, so any form of kindness is always appreciated!

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