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No matter if you’re leaving for greener pastures or moving just across the street, moving out of a rental is always an ordeal. Aside from physically lifting your belongings (which professionals should do for you), it doesn’t have to be too much of a headache though, especially if you take the right steps. Planning your move carefully and leaving your space the right way is crucial to making this a smooth a process as possible.

Below are some steps to take whenever you decide to move:

Tell Your Landlord When You Will Move Out

As soon as you know for sure when you’ll be out of your rental, make sure you communicate that date to your landlord in writing. If possible, let them sign it as well and make a copy so that you have a firm, no-fuss date of when you will officially be gone. Many renters have simply told their landlords when they’ll be gone, only to have the landlord “forget,” and charge them an extra month as a result.

Telling your landlord when you’ll be gone for in advance is also a nice consideration on your part. Of all the landlord responsibilities that are out there, finding a new renter is generally one of the hardest; it’s not always as easy as just waiting for someone to walk in. Giving them time to prepare for a vacancy will help the move-out/move-in process go smoother for everyone.

Give Your Space a Deep-Clean

The absolute last thing you want to do whenever you move out is leave a mess behind. Landlords lose money every day that a place sits unoccupied, and most will charge a cleaning fee that can sometimes be double or triple what a regular cleaning service would charge to get the work done faster. Who do they pass those charges on to? The previous tenant.

The safe bet is to get all of your belongings out of your space as soon as possible, and then do a thorough clean of the carpets, walls, cabinets, everything. This will not only make the cleaning easier but will also help you find stains you may not have known existed.

Fix Everything That is Damaged

Whether it’s a hole in the wall that you’ve patched up or a piece of carpet that has a two-foot slice in it, eventually the damage that you caused will be found out, either by the routine inspection or the next renter. You’ll be charged a premium on fixing it by the landlord – for the same reasons as above – but if a future renter finds it, you could be looking at a lawsuit to recover the damages. The best option is to find out what broke and get reputable workers to fix it yourself before you move out.

Document The Entire Unit

When you eventually move out, it’s always a good idea to do a walkthrough with your landlord to verify that there are not any obvious damages, but you also want to make sure you take pictures of every part of your rental. The last thing you want is your landlord coming back later with a claim that something was broken; if they do, simply show them the pictures or video that proves otherwise.

Obtain Your Deposit

If everything checks out with your place and you’ve officially moved out, then the only thing left to do is to get your deposit back. Chances are you should get most if not all of it back, provided that you fixed whatever damage there was and you were honest about the state that it is in. Keep in mind that not all landlords take the initiative to return your deposit to you; it may be that you have to go down to get it yourself. According to landlord tenant law, the security deposit is legally your money, but unless you claim it, they have every right to keep it.

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Tom Philips

Thomas Philips is a writer and content marketer with a keen interest in the moving industry. As a travel enthusiast and logistics expert by training, Thomas has been working with various moving companies for the past 16 years. He currently writes for Roadway Moving and applies his expertise through his written works. Thomas makes it a point to give practical moving advice to both clients and readers to help transform their moving experience into an unforgettable one