10 Things to Do Before Moving Out of Apartment, Town Home

The time has come for you to start planning your move from an old apartment or town home to a new one, but you haven't bothered to notify a property owner or landlord of your move just yet. There are some things you may want to consider before moving especially if you want to maintain a good relationship with the landlord or property owner.

One. Report maintenance issues such as leaks, electrical problems and non-working equipment.

When you contact the property owner about ongoing problems in the apartment, he or she will not be able to assume you caused damage to the unit. For instance, a soft spot on a shelf or ceiling that eventually turns into a hole may be caused by a water leak. Also, mold issues may arise causing more damage.

Two. List issues that were not addressed by landlord prior to move.

You may have told the landlord about a number of problems and he or she may have promised to handle them, but never did. Note the date and/or time you contacted him or her and what was said.

Three. Notify landlord at least thirty-days in advance that you will be moving.

The more days in advance of a move you tell the landlord, the better. You won't have to worry over unnecessary fees for not letting her or him know in advance. You also have a right to decline your apartment be shown until you move out, so if there is nothing in the lease that you signed requiring you to show the apartment, don't worry about it. However, do remind the landlord that while you are living there, you don't want your apartment to be shown.

Four. Get your new mailing address and cancel delivery of mail and newspaper.

Sometimes people fail to forward their mail creating problems for residents who may be living in the suite after them. Avoid chasing the mail man and the newspaper boy, change your mailing address with the post office and with the companies you do business at least a week prior to your move out date.

Five. Arrange to transfer all utilities back to property owner prior to move.

You don't want to have utilities turn off too soon prior to moving out, but not too late either which may also cause problems for the owner or preceding resident.

Six. Schedule a move-out inspection before moving, so that the property owner can communicate concerns and you can fix anything you broke.

This is very important especially if you know you damaged something and might need to get an estimate. Don't rely on the property manager to be fair about damages to the unit. Have him or her note the problems while you get someone to fix them before you leave; otherwise, you will get less of your security deposit than you expect.

Seven. Clean unit.

Every individual has their own version of what they consider is clean. The best way to determine what to leave clean in the apartment is to look around. Do you see crumbs on the floor, counter tops, and refrigerator, grease in and on the stove, stains on the toilet, carpet, and walls? If so, the apartment is not considered clean. However, if you do clean the apartment, a landlord may still take out of your security deposit carpet cleaning charges and other cleaning fees if you don't produce paperwork that shows that the unit has been professionally cleaned. Most often, do-it-yourself cleaning is not clean enough.

Eight. Take pictures of rooms of apartment or town home.

After you have made repairs and cleaned the unit, you will take pictures of every visible flaw that you may think might be an issue. If it was there before you arrived, take a picture. If you caused the visible defect, take a picture. If you think that it might be a problem for the next resident, take a picture.

Nine. Schedule a final move out walk-through.

When the time comes to take the property owner or a member of the leasing staff on a tour of your clean suite, you will want to point out the problems that were not addressed by management and the cosmetic defects so as not to be charged. You will also want to ask about any charges you may incur. Some property management companies have a price list of how much damages cost.

Ten. Ask when to expect remainder of security deposit.

Although you may already know when to expect your refund, ask anyway. This way you have confirmation from the owner or staff person. Note who told you when you will get your security deposit and also if the company has a corporate office do get the phone number. Then when the time comes to expect your security deposit to arrive in the mail and it doesn't, you can take up your complaint with the right people.

These ten points will help you maintain a good reputation with your old landlord in the event you may need him or her in the future.

N. McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media