So, you’ve found your dream home… but wait, you’re not finished yet! There are some things you need to set-up before you can get cozy in your new abode.
This is the most important thing you will do to protect yourself and to prevent yourself from paying lots of money to your landlord/property management company.
- Walking through your apartment/home with your landlord and assessing each room for existing damages, taking pictures, and noting them on a checklist is a requirement by state law and highly recommended!
- All existing damage and any repairs you want fixed before you move in should be noted on the checklist with photos of damage.
- Both you and your landlord need to sign the checklist and make sure you keep a copy for yourself.
- When you move out you will not be responsible for any damage noted on the checklist! Yay saving money!
Generally considered as: Deterioration that results from the intended use of a dwelling…but does not include deterioration that results from negligence, carelessness, accident or abuse of the premises, equipment or personal property by the tenant, by a member of the tenant’s household or by a guest of the tenant.
Property management companies and landlords tend to use the term “normal wear and tear” to define what is normal usage of the property and what is not. This can come up when you are moving in or out of a home or apartment; usually as part of your damage deposit. Property management companies and landlords are looking for the unit to get rented in the same state it was before you and your roommates moved in and that can mean different things for different rentals. That’s why doing a walkthrough before you move in is so important, so that you and your landlord are on the same page.
An important part of moving into your new place is setting up all the services and utilities. Ask your landlord or check your lease to see which utilities you will be responsible for. Whoever creates the account for each utility is responsible for collecting money for the rest of the roommates and paying the full bill to the utility company.
Garbage, Recycling, and Compost |360.734.3490
If you live in a house you may need to set up service, with Sanitary Service Company, Inc. Compost is set up separately and costs extra, but can be a good way to save room and not add to your trash.
Water & Sewage are attached to the address if you live in a single family home and do not need to be turned on. If you receive a bill when you aren’t renting on the property or from when you weren’t moved in, notify your landlord or property management company and show them the bill, they will prorate it and only change you for when you were moved into the rental property. To change account information or find out about rates and billing, contact the City of Bellingham Finance Department at 360.778.8010.
If you have a water pipe break call your property management company or landlord right away. They have 24-72 hours (depending on severity) to respond and make plans for repairs.
Electricity | 1.888.225.5773
If you experience a power outage or electric hazardous condition, call a Puget Sound Energy (PSE) representative 24 hours a day toll-free at 1.888.225.5773.
Gas | 1.888.522.1130
You can report a gas leak, carbon monoxide alarm, line break, or any other gas service emergency by contacting Cascade Natural Gas at 1.888.522.1130, 24 hours a day.
Check your lease and see what the rules are about parking and parking spaces. There are usually guest parking restrictions and most apartments require parking permits. This is usually something you’ll need to discuss with roommates early on, before you sign your lease.
When you move to a new address, you need to notify the post office by filling out a change of address form, which can be found online or at your local post office. It’s also important to notify your landlord or property management company when you move out, so that they know where to send a check to so you can get your damage deposit back!
Don’t forget to provide your school with your current contact information! This information is critical in an emergency and also allows your school to provide you with important information for your off-campus life.
Getting to know your neighbors can be a great way to get to know your neighborhood, prevent future conflicts, and feel safer knowing that you have people you trust that live by you. Exchange contact information, so that you can contact each other if problems arise or if you need help.
Check the recycling guidelines for how to recycle your moving boxes! Make sure you don’t have a soggy mess of cardboard rotting next to your recycling… that’s gross. Don’t be that person.