Before moving into your house or apartment, be sure to carefully inspect the unit. For a convenient inspection checklist please click here. Also, keep this checklist for when you move-out at the end of your lease.
After you’ve considered the questions and tips found online, you need to have a plan for maintaining your records and documents. Keeping accurate and complete records of your rental documents is critical. A documentation binder can serve as a central location for your materials, and is an easy solution.
- Consider renters insurance. This may be something you need to purchase, or you may be able to add it to an existing home owner’s policy with your parents or family members.
- Walk through the entire unit, preferably prior to moving your furniture in, and document any and all damages/problems that you see.
- Take pictures or video-tape the unit for visual documentation of any pre-existing damages (preferably prior to moving in furniture). Document the date (at the beginning and ending of the video-taping, hold out a newspaper with the date clearly visible). Video-tape the entire unit in one taping (do not stop or pause at any time). Always keep a copy of any type of documentation for your records. Never give your only copy to anyone!
- Request repairs by sending a Notice to Repair letter to the property manager, outlining all repairs that need to be done.
- Keep a copy of all communication with your property manager.
- Be sure to discuss expectations with your roommates(s). Consider signing a contract and discuss utilities, cleaning, noise and visitor agreements.
- Sign a "Roommate Contract" so that you and your roommates are clear about expectations regarding payment of bills, cleaning responsibilities, and socializing and study time. It is beneficial to all tenants involved to discuss all prospective issues and sign an agreement.
Moving-out of your apartment or house can be a very hectic time, but there are a number of steps you need to take during the move-out process. Find your checklist and revisit the check-in steps above. Doing so will help ensure the quick return of your security deposit.
- Provide prior notice in writing to your property manager for when you will be vacating the premises. Some property managers require 60 days or more notice, but to find out your property manager’s policy, check your lease. Even if you have a specific end-date for your renting contract, it is still recommended that you let your property manager know of your plans for vacating your property.
- Clean your apartment/house thoroughly and make any necessary small repairs! Remember, your property manager may/can deduct money from your security deposit for damages and items not cleaned properly.
- Complete the move-out portion of your checklist. This will help you keep track of the condition your property was in when you left, and may help you if your security deposit is not returned to you fully or at all.
- Take pictures and video-tape the property as you did upon check-in.
- Return your keys to the property manager by the end of the lease contract term.
- Forward your mail. Provide your property manager with a forwarding address so he/she will know where to mail your security deposit. Also, remember to notify the US Postal Service of your new address so you can receive any final utility bills or other important mail.