There are a number of things to make sure you have done before signing your new lease. Whether it be ensuring your utilities are lined up, to making sure your apartment is re-keyed it's important to make sure everything is taken care of.
Moving day for renters can be stressful. Whether it’s discovering damage means you won’t get your security deposit back, or arriving at your new building to discover that you were supposed to book an elevator, moving day when you rent can come with nasty surprises. Here are some moving tips for renters to help minimize unpleasant surprises.
Landlords and rental companies will provide a list of clean up tasks they require in order to get your full security deposit. These typically cover basics, like patching nail or screw holes, sweeping and mopping the floors, cleaning counters and inside cabinets, and inside stoves, dishwashers and ovens. So put spackle, a putty knife, and oven cleaner on your shopping list and budget time for these tasks.
If you’re moving locally, schedule some overlap between your new lease starting and your old lease ending. Time when you’re moving is a great thing. You can leave small breakable items and shuttle them yourself, and have time to complete all of the move out cleaning tasks. A week’s overlap means you won’t spend all day moving, and then have to spend all night cleaning.
Reconfirm the details of your lease before you sign. If something was verbally specified as included with your rent, like parking, water, heat, or utilities, be sure it’s in writing before you sign.
Find out what the service address is for the utilities. In some older buildings, the mailing address may not match an older system that the utility created decades ago. Sometimes it’s the floor numbers that don’t match, other times it’s apartment numbers. Sometimes the electric company and the gas company can have different service addresses, and neither of them match the official Post Office address. When in doubt, use meter numbers to get the right utility connections.
Ask if there are any restrictions around moving in. Some buildings have time restrictions, others require elevator reservations, and still others will specify where the truck can park. Then be sure that your moving company has these important details. The last thing you want on moving day is for the movers to stand around idle while you resolve issues, or for someone to call a towing company because your truck is somewhere it shouldn’t be parked.
Walk through your new place with the landlord or building manager. Reputable landlords make a point of making repairs between tenants, but walk through looking for stains, appliances that don’t work, torn screens or windows that don’t open. Take pictures of any damage to carpets or walls, with the date stamp enabled, and request that they be repaired. Write down any issues on your lease, along with the date you requested they be fixed.
The most important moving day tip for renters is to ask whether the locks to your apartment were changed. If they haven’t, request that they be re-keyed. You don’t know who may have keys to your new place, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.