Tenant Moving Checklist

You’ve found your next rental property and signed a lease. The next step is organizing your move from your current place to your new place. We’re here to help you prepare for moving day.

With so many important tasks, it’s easy to forget something. You could end up locked out of your new unit, living without air conditioning, or not receiving your mail if you forget one of these tasks. Our checklist below will make sure you don’t forget anything.

Plus, you’re likely to move again in your lifetime. According to an analysis of US Census data by FiveThirtyEight, the average person moves a total of 11.4 times. If you’re between the ages of 20 and 40, then you will likely move 3-8 more times. When you’re continually moving, it’s worthwhile to perfect the process to save yourself time and energy. You can refer to our checklist every time you move.

We know moving is a hassle, which is why we’ve created this checklist for you. After all, our ultimate goal is to make renting as easy as possible for tenants and landlords alike.

Start preparing for your moving day with our complete checklist.

Tenant Moving Checklist

Below, you’ll find advice for each step on the checklist.

Reach Out to Your Current Landlord

About 60 days before you plan to move, notify your current landlord that you won’t be renewing your lease. The exact amount of time required to give notice is likely specified in your lease agreement. By giving notice as far in advance as possible, you’re giving your current landlord as much time as possible to search for new tenants. Your landlord needs to be aware that you’re moving out and will need to help you with the process.

You’ll want to ask your landlord for a move-out damage checklist. This step is especially important if you have a security deposit. A move-out checklist allows you to check off what is in good shape and what is damaged.

Your landlord will want to go through the checklist with you, so set up a time for your landlord to stop by. When your landlord stops by, ask him or her if you are required to return your keys. If your landlord is changing the locks, then he or she may not need the keys back. If your landlord wants the keys back, you’ll need to set up a time to return them after you’ve moved out.

Contact Your New Landlord

As soon as you sign your lease, you should reach out to your new landlord about the following important tasks:

  • Find out when you can pick up your new keys
  • Ask about move-in day
    • Does your new landlord want to be present when you complete a move-in damage checklist?
    • Is there a certain place you should park?
    • Will you need to schedule a service elevator?
  • Double check what utilities you’re responsible for setting up
  • Double check the move-in date

Verifying the move-in date is crucial. Your new landlord will need to remind the current tenants what day they need to be out by. Communication surrounding move-in day is important because it would be a nightmare if a current tenant hasn’t moved out yet.

You also need to know your move-in date in order to complete the next task.

Schedule Movers

As soon as you know your move-in date, schedule your movers. It’s important to schedule movers as soon as possible to ensure the moving company is available. Weekends are busy times for moving companies, especially during the summer months.

When you call your movers, you’ll need to provide the moving date, your current address, your new address, and a rough inventory of your belongings, especially a list of heavy objects (couches, beds, dressers, etc).

When you reach out to a moving company, you can purchase moving supplies from them. Our preferred moving partner, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, offers a wide selection of boxes and packing supplies.

Read why we recommend TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® for your next move and get started with a free moving quote today.

Shop for New Furniture

When you move to a new unit, you may need furniture. If you’ve been using your roommate’s couch and now you’ll be living alone, then it’s time to go shopping.

You’ll also need furniture if you’re moving to a bigger space. You can shop at leading furniture stores like Crate and Barrel or Ikea to find your new furniture.

Consider Storage

On the flip side, if you are downsizing, or moving in with people, you may need to store some of your belongings. Companies like PODS and MakeSpace make it easy for you to store your belongings.

Set Up Utilities

Here are the utilities to set up before your move:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Cable and internet
  • Water
  • Trash

Most utility companies provide the option to switch your services from one address to another. All you need to do is set an end date for the current unit’s service and a start date at your new address. Companies like Comcast make it easy for you during the moving process.

Register Address Change with USPS 

To register your  address change, contact USPS. The process is easy:

  • Enter your new address
  • Select whether your new address is temporary or permanent
    • Note: temporary addresses are less likely to receive spam mail
  • Select family or individual
    • If you are moving with other people, it helps to select family so each individual doesn’t have to go through the process
  • Select a forward date
    • This tells the postal service when to start forwarding your mail to the new address

You can complete this task whenever you know your new address. We recommend selecting the forward date to be your move-in date.

You’ll also need to update your address with your bank, credit card companies, medical offices, magazine subscriptions, your office, and be sure to tell family and friends.

Update Your Renters Insurance

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Every time you move, you’ll likely need a new renters insurance policy. Renters insurance covers your belongings in case of theft, insures you in case someone is injured on your property, and more. Renters insurance is reasonably priced and can cover you for thousands of dollars in damage.

We recommend our preferred partner, State Farm, to provide insurance for your rental unit.

For more information, check out our Guide to Renters Insurance.

Research Your New Neighborhood

You should find out the location of your nearest grocery store, convenience store, and coffee shop, among other important spots.

If you’re planning on switching gyms, you’ll need to cancel your membership and start a new one.

Similarly, if you have a car and your unit doesn’t come with a parking spot, then you should research what parking permit you will need in your new location.

Pack Your Belongings

The last step on our checklist is packing, since you’ll need to access your belongings up until the time you move.

We recommend prioritizing your packing, starting with belongings you don’t need first. And then pack your last-minute items (toothbrush, towels, etc) closer to when you move.

As you’re packing, you may notice there are certain belongings you don’t use. We recommend donating belongings you don’t need anymore.

To make unpacking easier, clearly label your boxes. It’s a common mistake for tenants to label the top of the box, which makes the label useless once you stack your boxes. It’s better to label the side of the box on at least two sides, so you can easily identify what’s in each box.

As you’re packing, keep an inventory of each box, what items are in each box, and what room the belongings will go in. This ensures you won’t lose anything during the move and will make unpacking easier and more organized.

Clean Your Unit

After packing, you will likely need to clean your unit. You should also do some maintenance before handing it back over to your landlord for inspection. If you’ve hung artwork, we recommend patching up the nail holes. To do this, you can cover the hole with fast-drying spackle until the hole is level with the wall surface. Let it dry for 24 hours.

Landlords appreciate this maintenance and it ensures you’ll get your full security deposit back. Sometimes landlords deduct from security deposits in order to cover cleaning and maintenance fees.

Conclusion

If you use our comprehensive checklist, then you won’t forget any of these important tasks. We want to make your moving process easier than it’s ever been before.

When it comes time to schedule movers, we recommend TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. They’re reliable, fast, and protect your belongings during the moving process so everything is transported safely. You can read more about why we recommend TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and get started with a free moving quote today.


Also published on Medium.

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