5 Step Apartment Move-out Checklist

Are you facing the end of your first lease? Use this handy checklist by our guest blogger Jessica, to make sure that everything goes smoothly and you’ll get your security deposit back pronto!

5 Step Apartment Move-out Checklist

When it’s time to move out of your apartment,  lack of planning can cost you financially and upset your work or personal schedule in the weeks leading up to the ‘moving day’. A checklist is the best way to identify what’s to be done and to stay updated of your progress. Here are five action steps to put on your checklist.

1.) Formally notify your landlord about your imminent move

First things first – be aware of the notice period specified in your lease. Depending on your lease, you can be required to give up to 90-day advance notice. To avoid too much back-and-forth with your security deposit, send a formal notice to your landlord or landlady by mail, with return receipt requested, keeping the notice period in mind. Follow it up with a phone call to ensure that your notice has been received.  (Ed. note: MFA reader Robert recently suggested that you deliver the notice in person and have a copy countersigned by the landlord’s representative.)

Move-out Checklist2.) Book a moving company or reserve a moving van

It’s always smart to book your moving company in advance. It will beat the frustration of last-minute booking hassles, especially during peak seasons when college students arrive or leave. Mayflower is one of the moving-companies you can book pretty easily and know you can trust from a brand perspective. Compare their services with other companies and ask for customer testimonials if possible, to make an informed decision. If you don’t plan to engage the services of a moving company, reserve a rental truck or van (unless you already have one that’s big enough) for the job.

3.) Communicate change of address

Visit your nearest post-office for a change of address form and notify your landlord or landlady, banks and credit card companies about your new contact details. If you have to transfer utility services, you also want to communicate your new address information to your utility companies.

4.) Take care of packing and cleaning

Make a list of the essentials you will need immediately after you move. Arrange those clothes and personal items in your suitcases or carry bags. Label all your moving boxes clearly. Store your valuable items securely and, if possible, bring them with you. Finally,  donate items you don’t plan to use any more.

You may have a hard time getting back your security deposit if you leave your apartment in poor condition and you don’t want to give the new tenants a nasty welcome either! Cleaning your place is an obligation you cannot escape and your lease may specify how you need to leave the place.  (A typical clause may state “broom clean” meaning that all the loose garbage and dirt needs to be swept up and thrown out.) If your lease requires higher level of cleaning and if it’s a bit much to handle, hire a cleaning service for the job. You want to do whatever is required in order to get your security deposit back.

And if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty – here are a few pointers.
–          After you’ve taken down paintings or artwork, patch up holes and sand the spot to make it easy for your landlord/landlady or the new tenant to paint over.
–          Give special attention to your bathroom – get rid of floor scum and clean out the vanity, sink and toilet
–          Disinfect your kitchen countertops and clean the exhaust fan, cabinets, dishwasher, oven, sink and faucet

5.) Don’t forget the final formalities

When you move out, you will need to hand over the apartment keys or access cards to your landlord or landlady. Keep them ready and remember to give them back once you have completed a walk-through of your apartment with him or her. During the walk-through, take pictures so you’ll have proof of the apartment’s move-out day condition. Also enquire when you will get your security deposit back, and create a calendar reminder of it on your cellphone.

Our guest blogger, Jessica Davis, is a Content Strategy Specialist with Godot Media.  Her other interests – besides online content strategy, internet marketing and search engine optimization – are technology, sports and fashion.

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Comments (5)

  1. Avatar myrtice

    Great Article. Thanks for the info. Does anyone know where I can find a blank “Property Mgmt & More Move-In / Move Out Inspection Checklist” to fill out?

  2. Avatar RG Quality Moving & Storage LLC

    Thanks for the useful information about apartment move out checklist. Every step in this post is really valuable.

  3. Avatar annshirley33

    Great tips! Cleaning is my least favorite part of moving. You always forget about that because it’s easy assume you’re just going to pack and go. What you forget about is all of the things that need to be sorted through and thrown out and the dust bunnies moving tends to create. Ugh. My husband and I are going through all of this now as we prepare for our big move to Denver. We’re also currently looking for the best Colorado moving companies for some extra help and I think we might have settled on one. I’ll be happy when this is all over!

    • Alex Alex

      Hi Ann Shirley,

      Thanks for the tip — it’s true, cleaning out the place can take an extra hour or three. Best of luck on your move to Denver … and keep us posted!

  4. Avatar Lucky Renter

    #4 is a really good tip, sometimes getting ready to move takes focus away from what you need to have handy when you get to your new place!

    This info on surviving your move out inspection, might also be helpful to your readers.

    Keep up the great information, we just linked to your post!