By: Maria Rohr- Property Supervisor
We have all been there, you live in a rental, which has become your home for a year or so, and then it’s time to move out! You have a growing family, job relocation, or you just need a change of scenery. Either way, you need to move out of your home. Chances are, there is a substantial security deposit that you would love to get back. Nothing is worse than not getting it back, or not understanding why you are only getting a partial refund of the deposit- see future blogs on how to dispute your security deposit.
What it really boils down to is understanding your obligation of the lease, communication, and cooperation.
Moving out doesn’t have to be as bad as you think!
This is a chance to take control of an otherwise uncertain situation! Below are some tips that may help you through this process and ease the pain and stress of moving out.
“What are my responsibilities?”
Read the move out obligations of the lease. So many times, we are so excited to get the keys to your new home that we forget to read the terms of the lease. Take a look at your lease and really read about the move out process! As soon as you decide to make a change. Pull out the lease and read through it again. If you are unsure- ask!
Complete a move-in assessment
Many housing providers will supply a document to you that will notate their opinion of the condition of the rental prior to your move-in. It is ALWAYS a good idea to do the same for yourself and send a copy to the owner/manager, for them to fix, or at least to document condition. Different eyes have different perspectives. Start the relationship with your manager/owner off strong with good communication and take lots of pictures for both of your records. When you move-out this is something that can be referred to so that you are not responsible for things that were pre-existing. It is much easier to have a meeting of the minds in the beginning than at the end.
When and how should I communicate to the Owner/Manager of my intention to move?
Hopefully by now you understand the move-out requirements of the lease. Most leases require a certain notice period, some 30 days, some 60 days, etc. Be sure you know when to submit the notice so you can start off on the right foot! Remember, if there are several lease holders named on the lease, it must be signed by all lease holders. Best case scenario is to contact your housing provider and they will usually provide a form for ease of this process. Also- don’t forget to follow up and make sure they received it!
Can you fix things?
It is a good idea to fix things that become damaged or fail due to wear and tear through the life of your Lease. Don’t wait till the last minute, if you do not take care of it it can cause additional damage to the rental and you can be held liable. An Owner/Manager wants the home to be well maintained- for your comfort as well as for the preservation of the owner’s property. An easy move out is ideal for everyone!
Where should the deposit go?
Always provide the new address, so that they can send you your money, or any other correspondence necessary after the move-out. Additionally, in the case of multiple leaseholders that are moving to different locations, it is always a good idea to check in with the landlord and make sure they can accommodate this. Landlords are obligated to cut one check with all leaseholder’s names on it. If you are all moving to different locations, then it might be difficult to cash that refund.
Schedule a pre-move out inspection
In the state of California, Civil code 1950.5 (f) 1. Requires the Landlord to offer a pre-move out walkthrough of the home within a reasonable time, (2 weeks) prior to the move-out date. You do not have to do it, but I highly recommend scheduling this with your landlord. It saves a lot of stress and keeps everyone on the same page. During the walkthrough, take the opportunity to discuss any potential responsibilities you may have, estimated charges, and what you can expect.
A typical lease requirement is that a lease holder must return the rental in the same condition they received it, with consideration for wear and tear through time. If the unit, newly carpeted prior to your move in and there are now several stains, bleach spots, pet urine etc. it’s going to need to be replaced. This is a good time to chat with the landlord of what the potential cost of the replacement is, less the wear and tear that has passed for the lifespan of the carpet. For example, the life span of the carpet is 4 years, so you may be responsible for half the carpet cost. Wouldn’t it be nice to know this before receiving a collection notice from the Landlord? And NO… pet urine is not normal wear and tear!
Things that you can do to ease the moving process.
So ultimately, you have a deposit that can also be used to negotiate potential charges. If you did the intial walkthrough, then you now know that you are going to be responsible for some expenses, such as touch up paint, replacing light bulbs or a final cleaning. Moving can be hectic and if after you have moved all your belongings into your new home, it may just be easier to have the landlord get the items fixed and take it from your security deposit. I know how excited you may be to start your new life in your new home, and after moving sometimes going back to fix things or clean the rental is not what you want to do. You really have options here, just communicate with your Owner/Manager, again so you are all on the same page.
Don’t forget to shut off utilities and clean up the yard!
If you have a rental that has a yard, landscaping responsibilities, and of course utilities, remember you have a responsibility to manage those items through the move-out process. For example trash – be sure you have planned for it to be picked up before terminating service. Be sure to have a clean up done of the yard, front and back. If you leave things behind, then they are going to need to be hauled off. All these expenses can ultimately be billed back to you. Remember, when you have a rental that has these items as your responsibility, you must ensure they are handled to the very end.
Deliver your keys to your Landlord.
Returning legal possession means giving all keys and/or remotes to the Owner/Manager. If you fail to do this then the Landlord does not have rights to take the property back. There is a lengthy and costly legal process that you could be on the hook for. Avoid this completely by turning in your keys and remotes, timely!
I received a partial deposit refund or a bill for charges, what do I do?
Let’s say, for some reason you receive a partial refund of your deposit or a bill for charges that you don’t understand. Well, no one likes this to happen and it usually drums up some stressful emotions. Take a deep breath and take a second before picking up the phone and yelling at someone! I’m sure there is room for discussion, understanding and negotiation, but it starts with putting your inquiry and concerns in writing.
Hopefully, you see that the move-out process does not have to be so scary! Through good preparation, communication, and collaboration your transition to your new home can and will be an easy one!
For more information please call 619-286-7600 or visit https://fbs-pm.com
For a current list of rental homes visit: https://fbs-pm.com/renter-services/rental-search/