What Can Apartments Charge For When Moving Out?

Landlords can charge renters primarily for repairs at the end of the lease.

They may also deduct some amount from the security deposit the tenant paid in case of severe damage to the rented apartment.

In some cases, renters may lose the entire security deposit.

Lastly, some landlords may ask for a move-out fee, but typically that’s mentioned in the leasing contract.

That means, as a tenant, you would know about it from the start.

Expenses to Bear When Moving Out Of an Apartment

Generally, renters don’t need to pay anything to their landlords when leaving an apartment if they have not caused any noticeable damage to the place.

However, there are cases when you may have to bear expenses other than repair costs. Some property owners can ask tenants to pay for the freight elevator to move furniture.

And if that happens to mar the place in any way, then also a fee may be charged.

Usually, all these expenses come under the move-out fee, which needs to be mentioned in the lease. If it’s not, a tenant may refuse to pay the amount.

In sum, you don’t need to bear any move-out payments unless it’s present in your contract. You may have to remunerate your landlord for wear and tear to the place.

However, that cost is not to be deducted from the security deposit.

Furthermore, some states have their own set of regulations when it comes to charging tenants at move-out.

For example, Illinois has the Illinois Security Deposit Return Act, according to which an estate owner cannot take away any amount from a renter’s security deposit for ‘damages are done to the apartment.’

If they feel like they must receive payment for rough use, they need to notify the tenant 30 days prior to the move-out.

They also need to provide a list of all the repair costs and the receipts of all the work done for said remodeling.

In some cases, a renter may have to compensate the landlord if they are moving out before the date the lease is supposed to end.

Likewise, they will likely have to pay for overstaying after their lease has ended.

As a tenant, you don’t have much ground to contest paying compensation if you overstay or move out before the expected date because your doing so will cost the landlord.

In the case of an early move-out, your property owner may not find another renter soon enough; hence, lose part of their rental income.

Similarly, if you stay past the end of your lease, they cannot rent their place to anyone else.

Either way, they will lose a chunk of their revenue, for which you must reimburse them.

How to Avoid Paying Any Costs at the Time of Moving Out?

If you wish to get all of your security deposit back and not have to pay any additional charges as well, here’s how you can do that.

Know Your Lease Terms

Many tenants make the mistake of not going through the rental agreement at the time of the signing.

As a result, they may be unaware of any charges they are expected to pay when moving out.

To prevent that from happening with you, be sure to peruse your lease contract thoroughly and go over every clause.

That way, you’ll know exactly what you are getting yourself into by signing the said document.

You may also want to discuss or negotiate any unreasonable conditions present in the agreement.

Then when it’s time to move, review your lease to know if you are being unfairly charged for anything.

Discuss Move-Out Guidelines

An essential step to ensuring you move out smoothly without conflict with the landlord is talking move-out terms.

Meet with them and ask if there is anything you need to do or care for before leaving.

But remember that you don’t have to fulfill unreasonable demands. If the property owner tries to extort money, don’t comply.

Go Over the AAOA Move-Out Checklist

The American Apartment Owners Association (AAOA) has a wear-and-tear checklist that binds tenants to pay for certain damages.

In simple words, if you happen to mar any of the items mentioned in the AAOA’s charge sheet, you will have to compensate for it.

Here are all the entries on AAOA’s move-out checklist.

  • All doorknobs and locks should be in proper working order
  • All closet doors should be opening and closing easily
  • All hinges, fixtures, or handles must be fixed in place
  • No stains on the ceiling or fissures in the walls
  • Carpets should be clean, and the seams are not coming off from the edges
  • All the materials used in the apartment, wood, linoleum, or others, must be fine without scratches, cracks, or warping.
  • Wallpapers must be properly pasted
  • All the faucets should be running
  • All the windows should be working correctly, and all the latches are in place.
  • All the curtains, drapery, and blinds should be in tiptop condition
  • The bathrooms should be working just fine without leaks or other plumbing issues

Be sure you check off all the items mentioned above to not pay additional charges or lose part of your security deposit when moving out.

Also read: Apartment Carpet Replacement Cost

Clean the Apartment Thoroughly

It goes without saying that you need to clean your rental unit extensively when getting ready to leave. It’s the right and ethical thing to do.

Whenever we borrow something from someone, we make sure that it’s in the best possible shape when we return it. So, obviously, that applies to rented apartments as well.

You should clean every nook and cranny of your place before moving out. Wash the bathroom, and clear any soap scum, mildew, or stains that you might find.

Vacuum the carpets, and if that’s not enough, have them washed.

Clear the refrigerator and all other appliances that came with the apartment, such as an oven.

If there is a microwave, inspect it for grease stains. If you find any, wipe them with a grease-remover.

Check the walls for drill holes or visible cracks and spackle them up with spackling paste.

Freshen up the paint or repaint if you changed the color of the walls after moving in.

Typically, tenants are not allowed to change the wall paint, but if they are, they need to color it back to the original shade.

Wipe the windows and sponge the tiles squeaky clean.

After all, that’s done, give your apartment a once-over and see if anything needs a little TLC. If so, take care of that.

Know the Damages You Made

Sometimes landlords can try to con tenants into paying for damages that were already present in the apartment.

Simply put, every place has some defects to begin with, for which you don’t have to pay as long as you didn’t make them worse while staying there.

Ideally, one should inspect the apartment thoroughly at the time of moving in and note all the existing issues.

That way, they will know what they don’t need to pay for in ‘repairs.’

Wrap It Up

After you have cleaned the apartment, paid for any costs incurred because of you, and gotten your security deposit back, get ready to move. Return the keys to your landlord.

If you don’t get the security money while you are still living in the rented unit, give your details to the property owner so that they can transfer you the money later.

Final Note

In conclusion, you should not have to bear any additional charges when moving out if you have been a responsible tenant and your lease didn’t mandate you to pay a move-out fee.

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