There’s more to moving out than just giving your landlord back your keys, and for many moving is so overwhelming that they don’t know just where to start, fear not! London Relocation Services has helped hundreds of people move out and get back their deposits and if you follow these top ten rules for preparing for your final walk through you’re likely to get back all your money too. Remember that you are responsible for any changes or damages to the property that occurred while you were a tenant so it’s best to use your mother’s rule of “leave something better than you found it.”
For your convenience we have added a moving checklist at the bottom of this post that you can print out and use when you are inspecting your flat before you go. It has notation space for inspections items broken down by room, columns to keep track of repair costs, extra spaces for you to personalize the list to your space and property’s features, signature lines for you and up to a total of three tenants and fields for your landlords address should you need it after you move out for something, like a reference for your next flat that London Relocation can find for you. It may be a bit of an overkill but better safe than sorry. (Ok that’s the last of mother’s phrases we’ll use). Still, with all the activities of moving it’s so easy to overlook the small stuff during your move, but fear not we will walk you through the process, so let’s get started.
- GET RID OF WHAT YOU DON’T ABSOLUTELY NEED:
This may seem obvious but until you look at those fifty pairs of shoes with the new idea of what do I actually wear you could end up packing and moving stuff you really should part with anyways. Shoes is a good example to start with because how many pairs do you actually wear? Think about it, we all gravitate towards certain things in our closets and others we like but just don’t seem to select, so pack up what you are not really using and decide to pass it on at a consignment or donation location. The extra dough you’ll accumulate at a consignment store will feel like free money and you can actually buy another pair of good walking shoes that you will wear and that are practical for traipsing around London and catching the Tube. A good test when asking yourself if you can live without it is “does this bring me joy?” If the answer is no then when it doubt, throw it out!
- MAKE A LIST
I know, I know, we said no more Mom phrases, but on this little fact she may be right. As much as we fight the hum drumness of paperwork and being so uptight and proper, a list will help you to organize what you need to deal with so that you leave yourself enough time to get to it. A simple inventory list can do wonders for listing all the items that need to be handled and packed in your move. Will you need a new zone on your Oyster Card? Things like this can easily be forgotten when you have the mundane task of packing and labeling everything your own. But thin k of a list as insurance against leaving anything that might be important to you behind, just in case move day is a hectic one.
A good candidate for a list is anything that can’t be moved in a box. This way you will know what bubble wrap is needed for those fragile items and what you will have to make space for in your vehicle outside of the moving truck items. This way you can use your list to be sure you have the things that are important to you that you don’t want the movers to touch. Also, keep a separate list of things you may need to do before you move, like change your address, and pay bills before your actual move week so you don’t have to worry about missing deadlines and paying late penalty fees.
- START EARLY
Don’t let moving day be put off because you are procrastinating packing. Waiting to until the last minute will only add stress to your life and move. If you don’t leave enough time to properly prepare you may end up throwing things in a suitcase all Willy Nilly and that is how things get lost or broken during a move. You have enough to worry about with your relocation so don’t make your calendar your worst enemy! If you are boxing everything in your flat or apartment yourself then start at least four week s in advance. You can begin with all those items that you thought you should donate or consign but just couldn’t seem to part with yet (there’s hope when you are unpacking that you may decide to come to your senses and pare down still). You will want time to prepare your valuables in time for the big move.
4. READ YOUR LEASE CAREFULLY
Because you are moving out the last thing on your mind is your old lease, but don’t fall into this complacency trap. Reading your lease will tell you precisely what’s expected of you in order to get your deposit returned. It’s not unlike some landlords to sneak into an agreement an item you might not think is your responsibility, like changing the locks or cleaning the carpets. But if there is a catch clause in there now is the time to find it before you r landlord points it out on your final inspection day. When you moved in you weren’t thinking about when you are moving out, only that you wanted to get in and get settled. Now you can read your lease with new eyes and just be sure that there aren’t any hidden surprises that could cost you some or all of your deposit money.
- INVEST IN SOME CLEANING SUPPLIES
This may also seem like a given but you’d be surprised. Keeping your landlord in a good mood during your walk through can end abruptly when they look inside your oven and see you’re boiled over scalloped potatoes dish all over the oven’s bottom. A can of oven cleaner is no more than a few pounds and it’s a spray and wipe activity. Cleaning appliances may seem like an overkill but you have to view it from your landlord’s perspective. He didn’t make the oven a mess so it’s on you to be sure it’s clean. The refrigerator (larder) is another appliance that often gets overlooked. You don’t want to leave your leftovers in there and have any mess for your landlord to have to clean, think ahead and have all this done. And hey, another great use for oven cleaner? Your shower floor or shower doors will shine. No one likes cleaning these items but oven cleaner will remove any sign of mildew or soap scum so have at it and believe me, the day your cleaning the bathroom you’ll thank me for the oven cleaner idea, trust me!
Other cleaning supplies to consider: glass cleaner; cleaning spray and wipes, floor cleaner, mop and vacuum, trash bags, cleaning rags and paper towel, magic erasers (for scuff marks that are hard to remove), scouring powder, duster, step ladder, and any specialty cleaning solutions, particularly some pine cleaner that you can do the floors a once over with the day of inspection so it smell fresh and clean. Areas that sometimes are forgotten are window sills and sashes, baseboards and shelves, blinds and windows, door surfaces, dusting closets, kitchen sink, inside drawers, the outside surfaces of appliances, and behind appliances. With this kind of comprehensive cleaning even the pickiest of landlords will be happy.
- CHANGE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION AND ADDRESS WITH SERVICE TO YOUR NEW PLACE
If you are smart and have London Relocation setting up your next flat this is a item you won’t have to worry about, but you will still have vital contact information to change on your personal items like:
- Credit cards
- Pension statements
- Insurance agent
and services such as:
- Gas supplier
- Electricity supplier
- Internet service provider
- Cable TV provider
- Postal Service
- HIRE A MOVING COMPANY PROFESSIONAL
This is not an absolute must if you are like me and a do-it-yourselfer, but for many the thought of manual labor is enough to justify a few hundred pounds to save your back and level of stress or frustration. It seems on moving day there isn’t any one around that may have given you the impression that they would be glad to help you lift and move everything you own (said like that can you blame them?) but hiring a pro is never a bad idea if you can afford it. You want to make sure that you get someone who is licensed and insured, and by all means have them come out and look at what they will be moving in person! Moving companies are notorious for adding on fees the day of the move and claiming that you are moving Buckingham Palace and that you have “far more things than you mentioned.” The only way to combat this add on aggravation is to get them to sign a contract after seeing all of what you have to move in your apartment and giving them the address to where it will be going, if there are stairs to contend with at either end of the move and if there is a lift they can use or not. Be sure to ask if they set up the beds at the other end if you will be moving solo and have no one to help you move mattresses’.
8. MAKE REPAIRS TO WHATEVER YOU CHANGED WHILE IN THE FLAT
Are you like me that you don’t feel like you live in a space without customizing the paint and décor? I feel you, believe me I do. This is also why before I vacate a place I buy five gallons of beige or white paint and go to town on a painting get together with friends the weekend before I move. Once my place is empty I can go around and fill nail holes of pictures I hung and painting I had here and there. I make repairs and then have friends over to paint. So long as you have the floors covered and taped with plastic there’s not too much that can go wrong with white or beige paint. The point is to get your deposit back this may seem like an extreme thing but it’s actually less than £100 and it’s a guarantee most times to ensure your landlord is in the best of moods when he does your walk through since you have saved him the expense and trouble of painting before the new tenant moves in. It’s cheap insurance, look at it that way and hey with friends it can be fun.
- REQUEST A PRELIMINARY WALK THROUGH
Not all landlords will necessarily agree to this but some that use agencies might be alright with an initial once over walk through to give you the preliminary nod that you are leaving things in the right order in which to get your full deposit back. Many times someone from the agency, a property manager or licensed agent will make themselves available in order to ensure that their landlords property is left in tip top shape. Certainly, it never hurts to ask and it can save you any unpleasant surprised the day you move out.
- AND FINALLY, TAKE PICTURES THE DAY YOU MOVE OUT
This too may seem like overkill but really what other proof do you have that the apartment or flat was left in the condition you worked so hard to leave it in? None. So if you are snapping photo’s make sure you get all the appliances, the light fixtures, and of course a photo of whoever is doing your walk thorough in one or two of the shots can’t hurt to help establish a time line that there was someone there on the landlords behalf and that they did walk through and agree to the condition on which your returned you r apartment. The other good idea is really try to have them use a checklist, like the one or two below that they sign and date that you left everything in working order and that there wasn’t any damage to the apartment before you left.
Moving can certainly be a stressful time in one’s life, but if you have followed the above at least you will have one month’s deposit coming back to you in order to put done on your next place. Remember, if you are renting and looking for the next perfect property give us a call at London Relocation and we will find you another great place that is even better to live and enjoy London.