Can you leave stuff behind when you move out? Make sure you have agreed in writing what is to be left or you could face a hefty bill.

In summary:

  • You should not leave personal items such as old clothes
  • You Should dispose of all rubbish
  • Create an inventory of items that you intend to leave in the home when you sell it
  • You must leave all items that you have agreed to sell to the new owner
  • You must leave all the fixtures as listed on the home sale document
  • Renters must leave all items listed on the inventory
  • The property should be left in a reasonably clean and tidy condition

Are you being helpful by leaving the half-empty tin of paint for the people moving into your old home, or will they think you have not cleared out the shed properly?

Or should you leave the shower curtain up when you move out?

What is acceptable to take, or to leave, when moving home?

There are certain things you are expected to leave behind when you move but are under no legal obligation to do so, and certain things that you should not leave.

Before the exchange of contracts on a house sale, the solicitor will ask the vendor for a list of items that are included in the sale, which items are not included, and any items that will be sold to the buyer separately from the sale of the house.

Carefully check that document to ensure it is correct.

If you are leaving a rental property be sure that all the items that were on the original property inventory are left so that you get your deposit back.

Be sure to get the inventory signed off before you move out, and keep a copy of it.

You may also like to read: Home Moving Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Moving Home. There are some things you should do and other things that it would be nice to do for the people moving into your old home. Here we look at what is regarded as good etiquette when moving home.

What do you Leave When Selling a House?

You are under no legal obligation to leave anything, but it is the normal practice that you would leave the fixtures of the home.

What is classed as fixtures? These are generally taken to be items that are attached physically to a property, for example:

  • Built-in cupboards, cabinets, and wardrobes
  • Bathroom suites
  • Kitchen units
  • Water boilers
  • Central heating systems
  • Light fittings
  • Sockets and switches
  • Towel Rails
  • Toilet Roll Holders

Buyers should expect that any fixture not listed as staying will be taken away by the people moving out.

Therefore you should check the inventory list very carefully, and clarify exactly what the status is of certain fixtures that you wish to remain.

Often fixtures can add significantly to the value or character of a home, and these questions must be answered before the exchange of contracts.

What is classed as fittings? These are usually described as things that are free-standing, hanging, or not fixed permanently to a building such as:

  • Paintings
  • Mirrors
  • Freestanding furniture
  • Freestanding appliances
  • Curtains
  • Lampshades
  • Carpets

So as an example, your TV would be a fitting (because it is removable), but the wall bracket would be a fixture (because it is attached to the building).

Bonus Tip: Be sure to clarify what the status is of plants in the garden, it is not unheard of for sellers to remove prized plants from a garden.

You may like to read: Common Repairs to Do When Moving Home. There are often nail holes or scuffs on walls after moving out of a home. In this guide, we look at how to make cheap and easy repairs to things that you should repair when you move out.

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Rubbish Left Behind
It is not uncommon to face this kind of mess left. Be sure you know what action you can legally take to get the items removed.

Legally, things left by the seller are still their property, and there is a process to try to get them to take their property away which you should follow.

  • Photograph the items (not a requirement, but if you have a date and time-stamped photograph of the condition of the item then there can be no comeback on you).
  • Write to the vendor stating that you will store the goods at their expense (if you do not have their address ask your solicitor to pass the letter onto the vendor through their solicitor).
  • State how long you will hold the items before they are disposed of.
  • Inform the seller that after that time elapses you will dispose of the items, or they will become your property.
  • Depending on what was left, and if you believe it worth the effort, you can take the vendor to the small claims court to recoup your losses. However, this can be costly if you instruct a solicitor to do this for you.
  • If you intend to recoup any expenses that you incur when disposing of the items left behind, be sure to keep receipts of everything.
  • Keep copies of all documentation, correspondence, and photos, in case you need them if the case does go to court.

Further advice can be found here at

You may also like to read: How to Make the Ultimate Home Moving Binder. A home moving binder contains all the essential information about your old home that the new occupiers could need. In this guide, we offer suggestions for the type of information your home handover folder should contain.

FAQ about leaving things when you move home

  • Do you leave shower curtains when you move? This is a fitting and can be taken with you.
  • Do I have to leave shelves when moving home? This is a fixture and should stay in the home.
  • Can you take light fixtures when you move? This is a fixture and should stay in the home.
  • Is it ok to leave furniture behind when I move? Only with the written consent of the buyer or landlord.
  • Can I come back for some of my things after moving day? Only with prior written consent from the landlord or vendor.
  • Are integrated appliances included in a house sale? It is usual that these are included in the sale of a home as they are classed as fixtures. But ensure that you clarify that in writing and ensure its inclusion in the inventory of items to be left or taken.
  • How clean should you leave your home when you move out? If selling your home it would be a common courtesy to leave your home clean, and the garden tidy, whilst the wheelie bin should not be overflowing with rubbish. The rule of thumb is to leave your old home as you would expect to find your new home. For renters leaving a property, there will be guidelines in your contract as to whether the property should be professionally cleaned before you move out. Be sure to find out if that is the case or the landlord may charge you for any expenses that are incurred to have it cleaned after you move out.

If in any doubt about an item ask the buyers if they want that particular item left if you do not want it.

Whatever their response be sure to make a note on the TA10, which is the list of things that will, and will not, be left in the home, which forms a part of the contract of sale.

Any changes made to that list should always be in writing (preferably by email so that you have a date and time stamp of the correspondence) and always through your solicitors.

Always seek written permission from your landlord if you want to leave things in your rented home when you leave.

In many cases, the landlord may be interested in buying items of furniture or household goods that you no longer need or want.

Good communication between all parties is vital for a stress-free and easy home move, so if you have any doubt about any aspect of the home move, speak to them and find out for sure.

  • What happens if you leave furniture in an apartment when you move out? Within your rental agreement, this scenario is likely to be covered, and what action the landlord will take in such circumstances. Be sure to read your contract very carefully so you know exactly what costs you may incur if you were to break the terms of the agreement. If you no longer have need of certain items of furniture see if the landlord would like to buy them from you, or you can donate the items to charity.
  • What to do when a tenant leaves their stuff behind? There are set procedures as to what a landlord should do if a tenant leaves personal property within the rented home after moving out. goes into more detail about this.
  • Should you leave something for the new owners of your house? Hopefully, you will have created a home moving binder which of course you will leave for the new owners as it will be full of useful information. But it is also a nice gesture to leave a ‘welcome to your new home’ card and a bottle of wine. And hopefully, the owners of the home you are moving into will have done the same for you.

Bonus Tip: We have all heard horror stories of people who have moved into a new home to find even the light bulbs have been taken by the previous occupants, so plan for such an event. If you can, buy a selection of light bulbs to keep in the car in case you arrive at your new home and all the bulbs are gone. It is better to be safe than sorry, and you will always need light bulbs, so the money won’t be wasted.

Keep a torch with new batteries handy too just in case you arrive in the dark.

Useful information: How to Move Out of a Rented Property. In this guide, we look at what you should do when moving out of a rented property to ensure that you get your tenancy deposit back and also so that you do not incur any more bills after you have left.

What is Not Worth Moving to a New Home?

  • Self-assembly furniture made from particleboard. Cheaper self-assembly furniture is not designed to be moved around. And due to the construction methods and materials used, it is often the case that this type of furniture will easily split when moved, or when the fittings are removed the holes will widen or crack.
  • Partial bottles of liquid. Liquids can easily spill out of bottles when moving home causing damage to other items. It is easier and cheaper to plan your use of such items so that there is none left come moving day, or you find someone to donate the partially used items to.
  • Items that your removal company is not allowed to move. Your removal company will have a list of items that they cannot, or will not move, usually for health and safety reasons. It is not worth the risk of trying to sneak these items into a packing box as if they do cause damage to other items, or to the removal van, then your insurance will be invalidated.
  • Pieces of furniture that will not fit in your new home. Be sure to create a floor plan of your new home so that you can determine if all your furniture will fit. There makes no sense to pay to move items that will not fit in your new home and if this is done early in the home moving process then you will have time to sell or dispose of the item.

Related articles that you will want to read:

  • How to pack items that your removal company can’t. In this guide, we look at items that most removal firms will not more for health and safety reasons and how you can pack them so that you can safely move them yourself.
  • How to create a floor plan for moving home. Creating a floor plan of your new home is essential to ensure that all your furniture will fit in the available space and that crucially you can actually get it into the house or up the stairs. This guide shows you how to create a simple floor plan for your new home and how to measure furniture properly.

How to Save Money On Your Home Move By Decluttering

Electric Wall Points
If it is attached to the building it is a fixture. If it is not permanently fixed it is a fitting.

Moving home is a great opportunity to get rid of all the things you no longer need in your life, and it is the guaranteed one way of reducing your home moving costs.

So your first task when moving home is to declutter your home so that you will only be packing and transporting the things that you really need or want in your new life.

And there is also the financial equation of what is not worth moving, things that will cost more to pack, load, and transport than will cost to replace.

If you are downsizing to a flat for example and no longer need a lawnmower, it makes sense to try and sell that to the people buying your home, or via the classified ads.

The guide below will give you lots of useful information and techniques for decluttering your home before you move.

Must read: An Epic Guide to Decluttering for a Home Move. Room by room we help you with not only the physical decluttering but also how to detach emotionally from all the things you own.

There are many more useful guides to moving home in our resource section which is designed to make your home move safer, easier, cheaper, and stress-free, be sure to visit it.

Good luck with your home move.

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