Many leases come to an end during the summer and especially at the end of the school year. A little planning in the weeks prior to your move-out can help keep you on schedule and ensure you receive as much of your deposit back as possible. This checklist of 6 steps for an apartment move-out is a handy guide to make moving out of an apartment go smoothly.
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1. Provide written notice to your landlord of your intent to move
Hopefully, you are aware of the notice you must give your landlord prior to termination of your lease. The notification period varies depending on the lease terms and can be as much as 90-day advance notice. Check your lease. If your landlord or property manager is on site, hand-deliver it and ask them to sign a copy for you to confirm receipt. Another good option is to mail it with a return receipt requested for your records.
2. Book a moving company or reserve a moving truck
This is important to do ahead of time so you are not scrambling at the last minute. If you are moving during this time of year, you have to contend with the mass exodus or arrival of students moving after they graduate or just to a new home before the next school year. Having your reservation booked weeks in advance will be an immense relief. If there will be a lag between moving out of your current apartment and moving into your new apartment, reserve a storage unit to keep your belongings until you are ready for them.
3. Submit your change of address
Providing a couple weeks advance notice of your new address will eliminate, or at the very least lessen, any lag in service. Make sure your mail makes it to your new home by visiting your local post office, or go online, to submit a change of address. Don't wait until after the move to notify banks, credit card companies, and your landlord of your new address. You will also want to touch base with the utility companies to transfer service to your new address if it is a local move.
A few weeks before the move, begin packing non-essential items. Our Busy College Student’s Guide to Smarter Moving offers timesaving tips and tricks for packing. Starting the packing process early provides time to really go through items and decide if you want them to move with you. Donate or throw away any items that are not needed or wanted. Keep the cleaning supplies out because you will need them, especially if you hope to get your deposit back.
Maybe the last thing anyone wants to do before moving on to their next home is clean, which is why landlords dangle the carrot of getting the deposit back. If there is no damage to the apartment and it just needs a good cleaning, there is a good chance you will get all your deposit back. Put on some good music, hunker down, and get through it. Do as much ahead of time as possible. Here is a list of things to definitely touch on:
- Remove nails and screws from walls and fill holes with putty.
- Wipe down light switches, doors, and walls of any dirt or smudges, especially in high traffic areas.
- Vacuum, mop, and dust all rooms and living areas. Remove any carpet stains that may have been ignored over the months.
- Remove soap scum from the shower and tub. Bleach the grout to remove any mildew that may have developed.
- Remove cabinet and drawer liners you may have inserted and clean out any hair or debris that has accumulated.
- Clean the toilet and wipe down the sink, mirror, and countertop.
- Sweep and mop the floor last.
- Clean out all cabinets and drawers of liners, crumbs, and debris.
- Remove shelves and drawers from the refrigerator to clean them and scrub away spills or crumbs inside the refrigerator.
- Scrub the oven and stove. Remove the drip pans, burners, and shelves to remove grease spattering, crumbs, and baked on mess.
- Wipe down cabinets doors, the refrigerator door, and countertops.
- Clean and disinfect the sink and shine the faucet.
6. Say Goodbye
Lastly, say goodbye and lock it up. Deliver the key to your landlord after you do a walk through inspection with him or her. Just to be on the safe side take photos of the move-out condition of the apartment. Be sure to inquire as to when you can expect to receive your deposit back, and then set a reminder in your calendar on your phone to follow up.
What tips do you suggest to help renters when moving out of an apartment?