a Jump on Moving Day
No one looks forward to moving day, but it's
almost as inevitable as death and taxes. If you're planning a move, the
kindest thing you can do for yourself, your roommates, and your furry
friends is to try to lighten up. It helps to be organized, and start
early! Even if you're also juggling finals and goodbye parties, do one
moving task a day beginning up to six weeks before your move.
- If you'll be hiring movers, contact three
estimates, and start taking videos or photos of appliances, antiques,
and irreplaceable treasures.
- If you're moving on your own, contact truck
and line up some hale and hearty friends for the big day (bribe them
with beer and pizza).
- Begin collecting boxes and packing materials.
- If you have pets or young children, arrange
for a sitter to
take them on moving day.
- Gradually begin deep-cleaning to reduce the
stress of final
- Start packing items you won't be using
before the move; kids
can help by packing their own off-season clothing and soft toys, or
placing stickers on boxes.
Most leases and rental agreements specify
much notice you're required to give your landlord before
moving—usually 30 days. Put your notice in writing and
that day's date, your unit's number if you're in an apartment, and a
forwarding address for your deposit refund. Keep a copy in a safe place.
If you're forced to move before the term of
lease has expired, discuss options as soon as possible with your
landlord. In most states, landlords are required by law to hunt for a
new tenant as soon as possible, sparing you from paying for the full
Ask your current landlord for an extra day
or two at
the month's end. You may be required to pay a prorated fee, but it's
worth it for a low-stress cleaning day. If not, ask your future
landlord if you can move in a day or two early.
One month in advance
- If you're moving to a new town, make final
dental and medical
appointments and get a checkup for that trusty old car.
- What can you do without? Have a garage sale,
get busy on
eBay, or make a donation to a favorite charity. If you have a big
enough load, some not-for-profit organizations will make pickups.
- Start eating your frozen foods! Less to move.
- If you have a security system, give notice
to the provider.
Do you subscribe to any other services that require a 30-day notice to
Three weeks in advance
- Keep a-packin', but don't pack your camera.
You'll see why
under "Making a Clean Break."
- Submit a change of address with your post
contacting your friends and family, employer (important for tax time),
school and student loan office, and medical professionals and
veterinarians; business contacts including clients, banks, insurance
carriers, and credit card carriers; utilities, phone company, and ISP;
and newspapers, periodicals, and favorite catalogs.
- Have new checks, business cards, and
- Arrange for help on cleaning day.
- Ask your landlord if he or she will do a
you after you've moved out and cleaned; it's the best precaution
against surprise deposit deductions. If the landlord has a cleaning
checklist, ask for a copy to refer to when cleaning.
Two weeks in advance
- Talk to your bank now if you need to
transfer accounts and
clear your safety deposit box.
- Arrange to have new utilities connected the
day before you
move into your next home: gas, electricity, water, garbage, phone
lines, high-speed computer access, and modem hookups. If you're moving
out of town, you may need to give notice to your current ISP and
arrange a new one.
- Change the address on your driver's license
- Call your current utilities providers and
for having meters read. Don't cut off important utilities, including
phone, until the day after you've moved out and cleaned up.
- Dig up your lease or rental agreement and
check the sections
that refer to your deposit. Some landlords specifically require that
you fill nail holes, repaint, and the like.
- Confirm travel plans and accommodations.
- Pack an "emergency kit" of essentials (such
as snacks, pen
and paper, scissors, soap, and a set of utensils) and a special box of
valuables and documents for easy access after your move.
- If you're leaving town, pick up items you've
left at repair
shops and dry cleaners.
- Return cable equipment.
- Confirm that your landlord has your
- Put cleaning materials in a box and stash it
with your vacuum
- Cook, eat, or give away perishable foods.
- At least one day before moving, unplug,
defrost, and clean
- On the night before your move, get plenty of
sleep, and have
a high-powered breakfast in the morning.
- On moving day, put bedding and other
last-minute items in a
box labeled "Load Last."
- Take a deep breath—by tomorrow at
this time, you'll be
all done. Oh, aside from cleaning.
a Clean Break
Cleaning and deposit
Now that your furniture and boxes are out of
way, it's time to get busy with the all-important job of cleaning.
Think of it as being paid by the hour; you want that money back, right?
If you're a neatnik, this may be easy, but if you haven't so much as
dusted since you moved in or if you're the last to leave a messy
four-bedroom house, it could take a day or two.
If your landlord gave you a checklist,
closely. If friends are available to help, divide labors based on
equipment needed—one of you can scrub the stove while another
washes windows and another gets started on the bathroom.
When you're all done, take that tour with
landlord. Inspect every nook and cranny together, and write down any
problems. If he or she is dissatisfied with any areas, stay calm, and
discuss it on the spot until you agree on a solution. Discuss how much
deposit money you should expect, and when you will receive it. In most
states, law dictates that deposits (or portions thereof) must be
returned within 30 days. Put all of this in writing, and have the
landlord sign and date the sheet.
Finally, take pictures of
corner of every room. Photographs will be your best defense if you end
up in a disagreement.
In case of dispute
In some states, landlords are required to
you with an itemized list of deductions. What makes a deduction
reasonable? Your lease should spell that out.
If you don't get your deposit back within
state's legal time frame, or if you receive what you consider an
unfairly high deduction, follow these steps:
- Phone your landlord, and tactfully ask about
delay. Invite him or her to meet with you to review documents and
photographs. Sometimes simply showing that you're willing to pursue a
solution gets the ball rolling.
- If the problem persists, phone your local
Business Bureau and ask for their advice.
- Consult with another neutral third party.
cities offer publicly funded mediation at little or no cost. Call the
office of your mayor or city manager and ask to be connected with
someone who specializes in housing disputes or landlord-tenant
- As a last resort, you can contact small
court. (Then again, simply mentioning court might jog your landlord's
sense of fairness.) Filing a small claims suit can sometimes cost more
than the money you're trying to reclaim. Find out what your local law
says about responsibility for court fees; in many states tenants have
no legal mandate to pay for the landlord's attorney fees, even if the
lease says otherwise. Contact your state bar association to get a good
picture of your options. In many cities legal support is available for
tenants at low or no fee.
||Moving Out of a Rental- Things To Do
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