More than 100 million Americans rent their homes, and the typical American will move 11 times in their adult life, with most of those moves from one rental property to another. Moving home can be a stressful task, and if you’re not fully prepared for what you need to do, it can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor.
Fortunately, a little knowledge goes a long way. With that in mind, we’ve compiled the ultimate top 10 tips for moving out of a rental.
Check your lease agreement
This essential document details the processes and limitations of your term, and will typically cover the steps you’ll need to take to move out properly. Each lease is different, so it’s vital that you check what you’ve signed up for. You can expect to find out the following key points:
- How much notice you need to give your landlord
- Maintenance and cleaning obligations
- The process for retrieving your security deposit, and any potential fees you may be required to pay
- Information on how to end your lease early
Give your landlord ample notice
In most cases, you’ll be required to give at least a month’s notice before moving out. You’ll need to provide written notice of your intent to move, complete with a statement of the good condition of the property, the specific moving date, your new address, and a request to return the deposit. In case you’re terminating your lease early, you’ll be required to give reasons why, and request that the landlord cancel the lease or allow you to sublet the apartment for the remainder of your term.
Carry out a deep clean
Your lease agreement will detail exactly how you should leave the property before you move, with some landlords requiring all carpets to be professionally cleaned. In most cases, a thorough clean is required just before moving out. You may choose to hire professionals, or do it yourself, just don’t forget those forgettable places, such as lampshades, ovens, mattresses, and other furniture and appliances.
Document the condition
Be sure to document any cleaning and repairs that are carried out, whether they’re professional or DIY, as well as the final condition of the property. This covers you in case of disputes with the landlord regarding the state of the property after you moved out, and the return of your security deposit.
Schedule a move out inspection
Get in touch with your landlord about a week before you move out to arrange a final walk-through inspection. This gives the landlord a chance to see if they’re satisfied with the condition and allows them to calculate any security deposit deductions if necessary. It’s good to be there during the inspection, in order to discuss any potential issues and work out a solution that benefits everyone.
Sort out your utilities
Be sure that you’ve paid all of your outstanding utility bills, and set aside extra cash for your last bills. Record the final meter readings so that these bills can be calculated appropriately. You may also need to inform service providers that you’re moving and that they should cut the utilities after you’ve moved. Likewise, be sure to have them hooked up at your new place. As well as services, contact any insurance providers, and renew your policy with updated information that is relevant to where you’re moving to, i.e. add flood protection if you’re moving to an area that’s more prone to flooding.
Change your postal address
It’s easy to forget this one in the madness of moving, but it’s best to arrange to have your mail forwarded before you move out. This is a simple matter of contacting USPS.com, who will then forward your mail to your new address for the next 12 months.
Start the packing process early to prevent a mad rush on moving day. It’s important not to leave anything behind, as you may be charged for the removal of abandoned items. Check everywhere, including the attic and crawl spaces, and be sure to leave anything that was already there. Normally, anything else must go, so if you don’t need it, arrange to donate, sell, or trash it before you move out.
Get your security deposit back
Don’t forget about your security deposit! Do all you can to avoid deductions, then send a written request to your former landlord. They will then have 2-3 weeks to return your deposit, or provide a statement of deductions, which may include anything for cleaning and repair fees, to unpaid bills and missing items.
Unless you have a super-powerful memory, being organized is essential when moving out. Keep a spreadsheet and checklist of everything you need to do and when. In this way, you can stay on top of things regardless of the many tasks you’ll need to complete!