Moving Out of an Apartment Guide

People move in and out of apartments every day. Whether it’s due to an infestation of bugs, the need for change or finding a better space, moving out of an apartment is no small feat. Which is why you can use all the help you can get. This article will guide you through the steps of moving out of your current rental space and into your new apartment or home.

Give Notice    

Make sure that you inform your landlord at least 30 days prior to your expected move out date. Some apartment complexes require a notice of more than 30 days; you should be able to find this information in your lease agreement, if not ask your landlord. Your move will run smoothly if you set a realistic move out date and stick to it. Aim to be out of your apartment a few days before this date so that you can give yourself some wiggle room in case of emergencies.

You should write and sign a letter telling your landlord of your expected departure. This must be signed and agreed upon by both you and your landlord. Do not just pick up and leave, as this will look bad on future rentals, and you may bring a law suit upon yourself as well. Always follow procedures when leaving rentals.

It is best to move out when your lease is up. Just make sure to plan ahead and be out before your lease expires or you may be charged full rent or a fee for not exiting the apartment on time. If you will be leaving before your lease is up you may be responsible for paying the rent until your landlord can find someone to fill your space. Or you can come to an arrangement with your landlord and have someone take over your lease for you.

Clean Up

You should definitely give your apartment a good cleaning before you leave. You don’t need to go overboard, just make sure it’s close to the condition it was when you moved in. If you leave your apartment in bad condition you risk not being refunded your deposit, as well as being charged extra for cleaning and repair fees. Moving is already stressful enough, so why put more pressure on moving out; try to avoid extra costs and fees.

To clean up, vacuum all carpets, clean bathrooms and the kitchen, wipe down walls, mop the floor, and so on. Perform your basic cleaning duties in order to prevent a deduction in your deposit. If you don’t have time to clean you can always hire a professional cleaning crew to get the job done for you. This way you can ensure your apartment is left in an acceptable condition.

You should also use this time to get any and all repairs done prior to moving out. If you would rather use your deposit money to fix these problems, you can ask a professional for an estimate to see where you stand. Be up front about all needed repairs and damages with your landlord to avoid any future disputes. Try to leave on good terms if possible.

Inspect Before Leaving

You may also want to inspect your apartment before you leave. First do a walkthrough by yourself to make sure you did not miss anything. After you have done this it is suggested to do a walkthrough of your apartment with a friend and a camera. Take pictures of the condition you left your apartment in, and have your friend sign and date them as well. This is to ensure you have evidence of how you left your apartment in case any disputes arise later. After this you can immediately walk over and deliver the keys to your landlord.

It is best to hand your keys directly to your landlord so there is no confusion as to when you dropped them off. Make sure to take the necessary precautions when moving out of an apartment to ensure that you do not have to pay fines for damages.

You should also schedule a final walkthrough with your landlord to clearly present the condition of your apartment upon departure. At this time you can also hand over the keys if you will not be returning.

Address Change

Like with any move, you are going to need to update your address. Below are a few places to make sure you notify of your address change:

  • Phone/Cable/Internet provider
  • Utilities and power
  • Delivery and prescription services
  • Banks
  • Schools
  • Work
  • Post Office (if you want to forward mail)
  • Friends and family
  • Leave your new address with your landlord so they know where to send your deposit check.

Getting Your Deposit Back

Upon leaving a rental you are entitled to receive your deposit back in full if there were no damages. Your deposit should be mailed to you within 30 days of your lease expiring, so make sure to give your landlord a current address. If there are damages in your apartment that are not considered “wear and tear” from everyday living, the costs will be deducted from your deposit. If the damage exceeds your deposit amount, you will be billed and expected to pay the difference.

If you have not received your deposit or the remaining balance within 30 days of the lease expiration you may take your landlord to small claims court. If you are declared in the right you may be compensated double the amount of your deposit. Keep in mind that sometimes the cost of small claims court may be more than the remaining deposit, so double check before you file any claims.

The Moving Process: Apartment Style   

This section will cover the details of removing your belongings from your current apartment, and into your new home. Below are a few key points that should help you have a successful relocation process.

  • If you have decided to use a moving company to assist you, then it is recommended that you research and choose a professional and reliable company. This will take some time; so set aside a few hours a day to research company services, price, and reviews; then compare and select the best company for your move.
  • You can also choose to rent a moving truck and perform the move yourself or with the aid of friends. This is ideal for those who are moving locally and do not have that much stuff.
  • When packing make sure to use strong, durable boxes that will not break open when transferring them to the truck and or your new home. You can also use plastic bags, duffle bags, and anything to help carry your personal items from point A to point B if you are performing a self move.
  • If your building has an elevator and you live above the first floor please notify your neighbors and landlord of your move out day and reserve the elevator if possible. This will make moving out a whole lot easier.
  • You should cone off a parking spot spanning the length of 3 cars; make sure it is close enough to your building so your movers can haul items more easily.
  • Don’t forget to notify your moving representatives of any and all obstacles such as how many flights of stairs there are. Moving companies have fees after a certain amount of obstacles; you may also want to inquire what they consider a flight of stairs.

Follow this guide to make your moving experience hassle free. The key to a successful move is planning; so make sure to give yourself and your landlord enough time to prepare.

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