Tenant Tips: Move Into Your Next Home
Written by Jonas Bordo
You’ve found a new place and were just approved to move in! CONGRATULATIONS! Maybe this is your very first place on your own or it’s just been a while since your last move, but here are 6 steps to make moving as simple as possible.
Pay Your Security Deposit Through a Trackable Method
(check, cashier’s check, wire transfer)
Once you’ve toured the property and been approved by the management company, it’s time to sign your lease and pay your security deposit! For those of you new to renting, your security deposit [typically] holds your spot to move into the property. Once you move in, it is then used as collateral to insure you abide by your lease.
When you pay your security deposit make sure to use a trackable method. Although fraud is not an incredibly common issue, it is still possible. Therefore avoid wire transfers and cash payments. The best methods are checks (either personal or cashier’s).
Schedule An In-Person Walk Through With Your Landlord
Once everything has been signed and your security deposit has cleared, schedule a time with your landlord to meet at the residence on your lease start date. This is when you’ll pay your first month’s rent (remember to use a trackable method) and collect the keys to your new place.
Get Utilities Turned ON
Next up is scheduling to have your utilities turned on (electric, water, gas, internet). Put a reminder in your calendar to call your utility companies at least 7 days prior to your lease start date. You want to call sooner than later because some companies might either require you to be home for access/safety ( gas companies) or have a large backlog of appointments. By calling ahead you are making sure that your rental will be ready by the time you plan to move in.
Stagger Move Out / Move In Days So There’s Some Overlap
Now, this might not be a popular opinion, but I don’t believe that your move-out day [from your old place] should be on the same day as your move into your new one. Ideally, there’d be 2 - 3 days overlap. Why? Verification.
By having overlap, I am able to verify that my new unit is empty and as promised. I can also make sure that all utilities are on and working. If my move-out and move-in days are the same, I don’t have any wiggle room for possible issues.*
Fill Out Walk Through Form Within 5 Days of Move In
Ideally, once you move in, your landlord will give a walk-through form. This form helps you document the current condition of the home to make sure you aren’t held responsible for any issues that were present before your arrival. If they do not, you should still do your own walk-through and submit your findings to your landlord within 5 days of moving in.
In order to create your own form, write down any issues you find. Then take pictures/videos of the issue. Now don’t feel pressured to have it all done on day one. Take your time! Some problems don’t show themselves immediately. You might not realize a window is stuck or the ice maker doesn’t work on your first night. Give yourself a few days to live in your new home before submitting your report.
Email Old Landlords
Lastly, once you’ve moved in and are completely out of your old place, email/text your old landlord regarding your security deposit. Inform them of your new address and request a full breakdown of any charges they might have deducted. A full breakdown is already required in most states, but it doesn’t hurt to follow up!
Again, congratulations on your new place, and please let me know if you have any questions!
* I do want to say I recognize that overlapping leases means double paying for rent and that is not a privilege accessible for many. Please make sure to do what is best for you, this is just advice.
Written by Deandra McDonald