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Moving House Etiquette

Martha Lott
Written by Martha Lott
17th September 2018 (Last updated on Tuesday 6th August 2019)

It’s easy to forget that there is a moving house etiquette that should be followed when you’re leaving your house, and although many people are unclear what exactly that is, it’s still important to stick to it. You should leave your house the same way as you'd expect your new house to be left. 

There are certain things you should leave behind, items you should clean and nice touches to consider when you’re leaving your house. We’ve put together a guide on moving house etiquette that you stick to when welcoming the new owners of your house, along with the answers to some commonly asked questions. 

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5 Moving House Etiquette Tips

We've put together the best tips to familiarise yourself with the moving house etiquette.

1. Clean Up After Pets

If you have a pet, you’ll be aware that they often make your house dirtier than it would be without them. 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 like sofas and arm chairs will need a thorough hoover and deep clean to properly remove any hair that your pet left behind. 

2. Leave Nice Touches

As a nice gesture, you should leave some thoughtful touches around the house to welcome the new occupants. Often, sellers will leave a bottle of wine, milk and bread as a welcome gift to the new owners, or at the very least make sure they have essentials like toilet roll and soap.

If there’s any specific things they should know about the house, neighbourhood or area, make sure to leave a note informing them of any pointers. You may have a dodgy handle on the bathroom door that should be worth letting them know about.  

3. Inform the Neighbours

Informing your neighbours that you’ll be moving house and expecting new owners soon is a nice way of making them aware of the situation. It’s not essential to let them know as they’re sure to see the ‘for sale’ sign out the front of your house.

It’s considered polite to let them know that they'll be having new neighbours and anything specific such as if they’re a couple, a family with young children or if they have any pets. 

4. Leave Fixtures and Fittings

You should leave most fixtures and fittings when moving to a new house. Keep in mind that you wouldn’t expect to turn up at your new house with light fittings, plugs and kitchen counters and cupboards missing. This will be sorted out by your conveyancer and will be included in your conveyancing quotes.

If you took a substantial amount of the fixtures and fittings that were there when the buyer viewed the house, then they would be getting a lot less value than what they paid for.

Generally speaking, if it’s going to cause hassle removing it from the wall with tools, it’s advised to leave it.


  • Light fittings and switches
  • Boiler
  • Radiators
  • Plugs
  • Bathroom suites
  • Kitchen counters and cupboards
  • Wardrobes


  • Carpets
  • Curtain rails and curtain poles
  • Lampshades
  • TV aerials and satellite dishes
  • Bed and sofas

5. Create an Inventory 

If you plan on taking items that were there when the buyer viewed your house, such as your plants from your garden or door knobs, you’ll have to ensure this is clear to the buyer before you sign the fixture and fitting inventory.

The buyer could take legal action if you take something with you after stating that it’ll be there on the inventory. Also, it’s morally expected that you leave most of the fixture and fittings when you’re moving house.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We've answered some of the burning questions you have when it comes to what's acceptable to do when moving house. From wheelie bin etiquette to how much you should clean, we'll have the answer for your commonly wondered questions. 

Should I Clean Before Moving House?

You should give your house a thorough clean before the new occupants move in. You wouldn’t want to arrive at your new house and have to clean everywhere before you can 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, scrub surfaces, ovens and showers where there’s a build-up of dirt and grime. 

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, the people moving into your house won’t be bringing theirs either. The general rule is that it's acceptable to leave some rubbish in the wheelie bin.

By doing this, you'll allow the new occupants to add to it as there should be enough space left in the bin to last until the next bin day. Any excess rubbish should be taken to the tip or go in a skip if you have one.

What Stays and What Goes?

It's an unwritten rule that you should leave items like the toilet roll holder, towel rack, doorbell, light fittings and plug sockets, carpets and curtain poles in their place. You can take your curtains if they are 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 that they expect to fit.

If you have mirrors or pictures on the wall that have been screwed or nailed in, it's deemed acceptable to take them. Generally, mirrors in the bathroom have been put there as part of the bathroom suite and tend to stay. 

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