Moving Out

A tenant must move out by 1 p.m. on the last day of the tenancy (usually the last day of the month). A landlord and tenant may agree on another time or date – as long as it’s in writing and signed by both parties.

Overholding Tenants

A tenant who continues to occupy a rental unit after the tenant's tenancy is ended is called an overholding tenant. The landlord continues to be entitled to payment for use and occupancy when a tenant overholds. In this case, the landlord may apply for dispute resolution seeking an order of possession and accept payment for use and occupancy while awaiting dispute resolution. 

When accepting payment for use and occupancy, the landlord should state in writing that:

  • The payment for rent or utilities is being accepted for use and occupancy only – it does not cancel the notice to end tenancy
  • The tenant must still move out

Note: The “use and occupancy” arrangement is short-term—it allows use and occupancy only for the period of the payment and does not reinstate the tenancy.  If, in a dispute resolution hearing, a party claims that tenancy has been reinstated, an arbitrator will consider all the circumstances including the intent of both parties when exchanging payment.

Clean the Unit

A tenant should check their tenancy agreement and ensure they comply with any specific responsibilities for cleaning a unit, as set out in the agreement. A tenant is expected to clean the inside of their rental unit – even if it wasn’t clean at the beginning of the tenancy:

  • Carpets should be steam cleaned or shampooed for tenancies that lasted longer than a year – tenants are responsible for any  carpet cleaning costs
  • Appliances should be cleaned in the unit – including behind or under the fridge and stove, if they’re on wheels
  • Window coverings provided with the unit should be clean and in reasonable condition at the end of the tenancy
  • Windows, including the inside tracks, should be cleaned
  • Balcony doors, windows and tracks should be cleaned on the inside and outside
  • Walls should be washed so that there are no scuff marks or finger prints left behind, unless the texture of the walls doesn’t allow for this
  • Nail holes do not need to be filled if the landlord’s rules for hanging and removing pictures have been followed – however, tenants are expected to pay to repair excessive nail holes or deliberate damage
  • Baseboard heaters should be vacuumed or wiped down
  • Fireplaces should be cleaned out, if they’ve been used
  • Light bulbs and fuses should all be working

Before the Move-Out Inspection

Tenants should make sure the unit is prepared for the final condition inspection – that means they must remove all belongings, clean the unit and fix any damage. Otherwise, the landlord may ask to keep some or all of a deposit to cover cleaning or repair costs.

Inspect the Rental Unit

At the end of a tenancy, a landlord and tenant must inspect the rental unit together – this is sometimes called a “walk-through.” This should be done:

  • When the unit is empty
  • Once the tenant moves out and before the new tenant moves in

Comparing the move-in and move-out Condition Inspection Reports allows the landlord and tenant to see if the rental unit was damaged and who is responsible for paying for repairs. The tenant isn’t responsible for reasonable wear and tear of the rental unit.

Video: Condition Inspections

STEP1: Schedule the Inspection

It’s the landlord’s responsibility to schedule the condition inspection (or “walk-through”). Both landlords and tenants should be flexible and reasonable when arranging a suitable time for the inspection together. It’s acceptable for a tenant to authorize another person to attend the inspection on their behalf – as long as they notify the landlord before the inspection.

If the first attempt to schedule an inspection isn’t successful, the landlord must make an offer to schedule the inspection in writing:

If there’s no response to the final written notice, the landlord completes the inspection alone and gives the tenant a copy of the final inspection report. This means that the tenant may lose their rights to the security deposit.

Landlords must follow the inspection procedure closely in order to claim any deposit money for damage done to the rental unit.

STEP 2: Bring the Move-In Inspection Report

The landlord should bring along a printed copy of the Condition Inspection Report (PDF, 1.6MB) that was completed at the start of the tenancy. That completed report will serve as an official record of the rental unit’s condition.

STEP 3: Conduct the Inspection

Walk through the rental unit and write down any damages on the inspection report – this doesn’t include damages from normal wear and tear.

Be sure all damages and concerns are noted in the report – it’s a good idea to take photos, if possible. These items can be submitted as evidence if there’s a dispute about the rental unit’s condition at the end of the tenancy.

STEP 4: Sign the Condition Inspection Report

The landlord and tenant must sign and date the inspection report. If a tenant disagrees with the landlord’s assessment, they should note any concerns or comments on the report before signing it.

STEP 5: Distribute Copies

Within 15 days of the inspection, the landlord must provide a copy of the completed Condition Inspection Report (PDF, 1.6MB) to the tenant(s). If there are more than two landlords or two tenants, the landlord should include the additional names on a separate form called the Schedule of Parties (PDF).

Moving Fees

A landlord can charge a fee for moving between units in a multi-tenanted building if the tenant requests the move. This must be stated in the tenancy agreement, and the fee cannot be more than $15 or 3% of the monthly rent – whichever is greater.

A landlord can also charge the tenant if a fee is required by a strata corporation for moving out of a strata building.

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: June 14, 2022.

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch