Moving out can seem like a pain, but it’s also an exciting and new transition, and it generally just happens a lot in life. To make things easier, here’s a list of things that you can keep in mind when you are getting ready to transition out of your old home or apartment.
Check the terms of your lease; leases can require anywhere from 30 – 120 days to give notice. Check with your landlord or property management company for their requirements/procedures for moving out. Start thinking early on about how long you want to stay at your current rental and look our for a renewal notice from your property management company or landlord. Make sure you and your roommates communicate with each other about moving out. Tell your landlord if you are planning on staying and signing a new lease for the new year; otherwise they may want to get it filled with new tenants.
Review your lease.
Determine what you can expect at move out. Familiarize yourself with what part of your initial move in deposit was refundable (a damage deposit) vs. non-refundable (a cleaning deposit).
Review the move in inspection.
Note any damages you will be held responsible for and talk to your roommates about how to handle this fairly. You can’t be held responsible for “normal wear and tear” on your unit, but you will have to pay to repair damages. Have a conversation with your landlord if you need to discuss damages and repairs.
Talk to your landlord about the move out process.
Find out how to return the keys and make sure you agree on the exact date you will be completely out of the unit. After you move out, your landlord has 21 days to send you all of your deposit or a letter telling you why they are not giving some or all of it back. They must send this letter to the most recent address they have for you. (RCW 59.18.280.) When you move out, give your landlord your new address, or make sure your mail is being forwarded so that you will get the deposit or letter.
In future renting reference checks, your landlord will report on how you left the unit when you moved out. A good rule of thumb is to leave the unit in the same (or better) condition that it was in when you moved in. Sometimes it’s easier to thoroughly clean a place once all the furniture is out. Plan enough time to get the cleaning done and work with your roommates about a fair distribution of the work. Cleaning Guidelines
Moving Your Stuff
If you don’t have a friend or family member with a car or truck you will need to rent a truck or hire a moving company. Most car rental companies will not rent large trucks to people under 21 except for Uhaul. If you do need to rent a car or truck, make sure you make a reservation well in advance because move out times are busy for vehicle rental companies.
Sometimes you just have extra stuff you don’t want or can’t move with. That’s ok! Be aware of your impact on the community; it is against the law and disrespectful to neighbors when you don’t dispose of items properly. Besides, there’s a bunch of ways to help others and also get rid of your stuff! Check out the printable list of resources here!
Drop off at a Charity
If you item is in good condition consider donating it! Goodwill, Value Village, Salvation Army, The Restore, Arc of Washington State, Wise Buys, Habitat for Humanity, and Northwest Center’s Big Blue Truck are all great places to donate.
Word of Mouth
Talk to friends and neighbors, or post an ad on Craigslist. *If using Craigslist, always tell a friend/roommate where you are going, or that someone will be coming over to pick-up stuff! Craigslist Safety Tips*
Have SSC pick it up
Call SSC at 360.734.3490 for Junk Pick-Up quote and to arrange for your item to be picked up!
Drop off at an Event
Watch for event notices: Move out Madness (see below) is the biggest one, hosted by the WWU Office of Sustainability. Some neighborhoods like York host their own move-out events!
Store your furniture and save it for next year
Here is a link to some self-storage companies in Bellingham.
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. For more information, visit the US Postal Service.
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.
Contact any utilities that you put in your name while you were renting this unit. Arrange to get it out of your name and back in the landlord’s name or ask if you can move your service to your new location. If you don’t do this, you might still be accumulating a bill at your old rental even after you’ve left it. Visit our Moving In page for more information about specific utilities in our area.
Have stuff you need to get rid of before you leave town? Bring it to Move Out Madness! Every year at the beginning of June in the York, Happy Valley and Sehome Neighborhoods, Zero Waste Western and the Campus Community Coalition host a donation drive and garbage collection site free for students.