a family is moving out of their home

Moving Out

Giving notice, inspecting the unit and settling rent and deposit money. Here are some important tips to remember when it’s time to move out.

Moving Out

Giving proper notice

A renter must provide proper written notice to the landlord when intending to move out of the rental unit. This can be done by personally delivering the letter or by sending it by certified mail with a return receipt.

The notice should have your name, the unit you are occupying and the date in which you will be completely moved out. It should also include a forwarding address to where your security deposit can be mailed.

If you have a month-to-month rental agreement, a 30-day notice should be provided to the landlord. If you have a lease, review it to determine if it has terms that discuss what happens at the end of your lease. In most instances, the tenant can simply move out when the lease has ended as most leases automatically expire at the end of the lease term.

Initial inspection (Walkthrough)

The landlord must give the tenant written notice of the tenant’s right to ask for an initial inspection. Two weeks prior to vacating the rental unit, have the landlord conduct the initial inspection of the unit. The landlord must give the tenant at least 48 hours advance written notice of the date and time of the inspection whether or not the parties have agreed to a date and time. Make sure you are present during the initial inspection. This allows the landlord to point out what things need to be fixed or conditions that might warrant deductions from your deposit.

Tenants are not entitled to an initial inspection if they are served with a 3-day notice.

Condition of the property

Before vacating the property make sure you thoroughly clean the unit and try as best to leave it in the condition in which you moved in. If it is not, you may be responsible for any fees the landlord has to pay to have it cleaned.  For more information on security deposits, see our Security Deposits tipsheet.

Take pictures of the entire unit before moving out just in case you might need proof of the condition of the unit after you leave.

Rent due

You are responsible for rent due while living in the rental unit. If you give your 30-day notice to vacate after you’ve paid your rent then you must pay for the extra days you live in your apartment. The security deposit is not your last month’s rent.


Servicemembers are allowed to break a lease when they go onto active duty if the lease was entered into before going onto active duty. They are also allowed to break the lease if they receive a permanent change of station order or orders to deploy for a period 90 days or more. To break a lease the servicemember must make the request in writing and must include a copy of their orders.

Domestic violence victims

Victims of domestic violence can notify a landlord that you or another household member has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, and that you intend to move out. Tenants are still responsible for the rent for the 30 days following the notice to move out. You are required provide the copy of the restraining order, emergency protective order, or police report, within 60 days the order or report was issued or made.

Civil Code 1946, 1950.5(f)(1), 1946.7; Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: Dec. 1, 2013

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