I’m Moving Out Of My Rental Unit. Can You Give Me A Short Checklist of Steps I Can Take To Avoid Problems With My Landlord?
Nobody wants to deal with arguments and problems from a previous landlord. Here’s a short list of things you can do to avoid as many problems as possible:
- Give the Landlord Advance Notice of at Least One Full Rental Period.
- For more information about giving proper advance notification in a month-to-month rental, read this article.
- Repair Minor Damage to the Unit Caused by You.
- For more information about ‘damage’ versus ‘normal wear and tear’ read this article.
- Clean the Unit, Including Floors, Carpets, Kitchen, Bathroom, Etc.
- Yes, that includes the toilet, bathtub, the inside of the refrigerator, and the stove.
- Remove All Trash, Food, and Other Items.
- Don’t leave empty boxes, packing material, or plastic bags of junk you don’t need. Take them out to the trash can.
- Don’t leave left over food in the refrigerator to rot and spoil and stink up the place.
- Ask the Landlord to Do a Walk-through Inspection of the Unit with You.
- If landlord says everything is okay, get a short receipt dated and signed by landlord saying “unit in good condition.”
- If landlord says there are problems and you agree, take care of them.
- If landlord says there are problems but you don’t agree, take lots of pictures to show why you believe the unit is in good condition. You may need these if there is a dispute later.
- Return the Keys to the Landlord.
- Don’t just leave the keys on the kitchen table, unless the landlord tells you that’s what you should do.
- Some landlords argue you have not fully vacated the unit until you return the keys. So return the keys in a way that you can later prove the date and time it was done.
- Tell the landlord when you have actually gotten everything out.
- Don’t assume the landlord will come by and check. Don’t assume the neighbors will tell the landlord you’ve left. Contact the landlord personally, and state clearly the date and time that you in fact vacated the unit.
- Leave a Forwarding Address.
- Make sure the landlord knows where to send your deposit refund, or where to contact you if there are other problems. Give a new address, and phone number.
- If you don’t want the landlord to know your new address, give the landlord a Post Office Box, or the address of a friend or family member who will receive mail for you. Just make sure that person really will tell you if something comes for you.
- If you expect problems getting the security deposit back, take lots of pictures of the unit before you leave. For more information about getting your deposit back, read this article.
- Take Pictures. If you expect problems getting the security deposit back, take lots of pictures of the unit before you leave. For more information about getting your deposit back, read this article.
If you can do all of these things, you probably won’t have any difficulties with the landlord. Yes, it is extra work. But it will help you avoid a lot of trouble and headaches later.