How do I Move Out of an Apartment

Moving out of an apartment involves a lot more than just moving your things. There are scheduling issues, as frequently leases end on the 31st but begin on the first. And there is the important matter of your security deposit. Here’s what you need to do to move out of an apartment and get your full deposit back.

First, you must provide notice of intention to vacate. Most leases specify either a 1-month or 2-month notice. The best way to provide notice is in writing when you pay your rent, but if you pay rent electronically, send notice through the mail or email it. 

If you’re moving locally, you do not want to move out, thoroughly clean an apartment, and move into a new place on the same day. Even with movers, it’s a lot of work for one day. Either sign the new lease for the 15th of the month your existing lease ends or negotiate an extra couple of days to a week with the landlord of the place you’re vacating. Moving into a new home or condo? You’ll want a similar amount of leeway, and maybe more if there’s significant construction in your new home. 

Ask what your landlord expects. Some rental companies have long lists of tasks, from cleaning the oven and replacing any burnt out bulbs, to repairing nail holes and even repainting if you painted. Others just want the place to be mopped and bathrooms and kitchens cleaned. 

Consult your lease for any sneaky clauses regarding move out condition that may not be covered on the landlord’s task list. Verify the amount of your security deposit. If you’ve been in an apartment for several to many years, find out if your state requires payment of interest accrued on rental deposits.

Go through your apartment and identify items you installed, such as upgraded shower heads and nicer light fixtures. Will you be taking those with you? If so, find the originals and replace them. If you installed pantry systems, in-cabinet racks, or curtain rods, and you don’t want to take them with you, ask the landlord if you can leave them or if you will need to remove (and possibly patch holes). 

If you’ve been a good tenant, you shouldn’t have major damage, but look for things like large holes in walls, carpet stains, damaged window screens, and damaged or missing blinds or shades. These are all repairs that can be deducted from your security deposit, so fix them if you want your full deposit back.

Do you have a storage unit in the basement? Every year, thousands of tenants forget they have items in storage and move without them. Many others forget to account for storage units, and then find they don’t have enough room once the moving truck arrives. Take stock of what’s in your storage unit and be prepared to empty it.

Once the movers are done, work through the landlord’s cleaning list. At a minimum, empty and clean the fridge (if it’s really old, defrost the freezer), ensure all cabinets are empty, mopp hard floors, scrub the bathroom, and vacuum carpets.

Request a walkthrough of the empty apartment with your landlord. This will give you an opportunity to dispute damage (you took pictures of those problem areas when you moved in, didn’t you?) and find out if there’s something else you should take care of. Hand over the keys, including any extra copies. Most importantly, provide your address so they can mail your deposit refund and forward mail.

Whether you need help moving your apartment or home, Allied is here to help. 


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