Move out information and cleaning checklist
During the summer months we receive many questions from tenants regarding move-out day and security deposits. This page and checklist will address these questions. You’ll notice that the checklist is very similar to the check-in sheet that you completed at the beginning of the year, which includes items we will be looking for during the check-out process. This should be a useful and helpful guide. We don’t schedule walk-throughs or checkouts because it gets too busy this time of year.
The move out process essentially involves:
Reading this page and checklist - pay special attention to the list of common problems below.
Planning your move out & cleaning schedule with your roommates.
Removing your belongings and debris from your apartment, as well as from common areas such as basements, hallways, yards, and storage units. Please refer to the checklist for a guide.
Cleaning. When you moved in, your apartment was professionally cleaned beforehand, or you signed an early move-in cleaning waiver. It must be left in a clean condition.
Leaving the doors unlocked and your keys on the counter top
Forwarding your mail
Providing us with your new address for deposit return.
Common problems during move out
Listed below are some common pitfalls during move out. They can be avoided very easily with a little planning and communication.
Misunderstanding the actual move out deadline and remaining there beyond that time (hold over tenancy): Remember that move out time is 12:00 noon on the 14th, or end of the month, not midnight! Please note, it is not the 1st or 15th. That is when the new residents move in. We only have 24 hours to make sure the apartments are ready for our residents.
Underestimating the amount of time it takes to move out: When this happens, our cleaners show up at noon to inspect and clean what they think will be an empty apartment. What they find however, is an apartment full of belongings because the resident didn’t start moving their belongings until 10:00 am. This leaves the cleaners, who charge hourly, standing around watching somebody move out. We’ve been asked, “why don’t they just go to another property and clean that one?” It’s a good question. The reason they can’t is because they have other teams of people already working on our other properties. We try to start inspecting and cleaning every house as early as possible on the 14th. It is best to assume my cleaners will be there at 12:00 noon.
Abandoning the house prematurely: Another recurring problem is that we’ll find a house full of belongings and nobody is there. This is a variation of the first/most common problem but it’s worth mentioning it because it is the worst situation. When no one is there, we don’t know if belongings have been abandoned or if someone is just getting lunch. Either way, if it is past noon, nothing should be in the apartment at all. In this situation, we have no choice but to move the items out of the apartment which is charged back to the resident. We do this because someone is moving in the next day and there is very little time to get it ready.
Lack of, or poor communication between, residents regarding assignment of cleaning duties: This situation is often traumatic for a final remaining resident who is usually frantically moving and cleaning after all the other roommates have left. It typically occurs when one roommate finishes moving their things out of the house and assume that whoever is still moving their belongings will “tidy up” when they are done. Everyone after that does the same thing until there is only one person left in charge of cleaning the entire place! They have no chance of getting it done by noon. Cleaning a house or apartment requires a lot of time and effort – that is why we have teams of people to do it. Talk to your roommates today and discuss how you are going to clean and who is going to help. It is best to have everyone there until the whole place is finished, that way it won’t be so overwhelming for one person.
Forgetting to use the cleaning checklist: Every year, we’ll have a newly arriving tenant stop by while we are cleaning on the 14th. They’ll peek at the apartment and pose the question “who were the slobs that lived there and why didn’t they clean?” Those same people will move out the next year, only to have the incoming tenant remark the same thing about their cleaning skills. Yes this really happens. Why? It is because the people moving out are just so overwhelmed by the process that they simply forget to clean a lot of things. Who really thinks about vacuuming bugs out of the light fixtures when they’ve been hauling heavy boxes all day in 90 degree heat? Well, actually we do, but it’s because if it isn’t done, the tenants scheduled to move in will notice and complain. That is why we’re providing this checklist. When you’re standing in the empty apartment, wondering what else to do or where to start, pull it out and use it. It really helps. We use it during inspections to determine what we need to check and re-clean if necessary.
Deciding to simply let us clean and “allow” us to withhold fees from the deposit: Please don’t do this. Take the time to be responsible and clean your apartment. We much prefer encountering a clean apartment and returning full deposits to dealing with strife generated when withholding money. Additionally, even the cost for us to do simple things really adds up at $48 per hour. Something as simple as cleaning the stove can take a couple of hours.
That’s it! Those are the most common reasons that people leave their apartments a mess and lose money when deposits are returned. If you plan, communicate, and follow the guidelines listed below, you should have few, if any, deductions from your deposit for cleaning or holdover tenancy.