Moving In & Moving Out
At each stage of the moving process, there is something else to focus on. Once the search is behind you, focus on creating a calm, safe, and pretty great living situation. How to do this may take a bit of effort, but it will pay off.
- Make sure you have a plan with your roommates about how the rent, utilities, and common household good costs will be divided.
- Create and go over with your roommates the apartment guidelines. Additionally, make a plan about how to communicate with each other before a situation arises. Reflect on what boundaries are for the apartment, as roommates, for guests, and for your shared space.
- Complete a Living Agreement with your housemates. Each member of the household signs the agreement and is given a copy. You can avoid problems by documenting household understandings and agreements from the start.
- Organize yourself. Make a folder for your important paperwork pertaining to your room/apartment/unit. This should include your rental and house agreements, landlord inspection checklist, renter's insurance, any emails or written correspondence with your landlord, receipts for your deposits, and rent payments.
- Ask your landlord if you need to arrange for any utility hook-ups or name changes on the utility accounts. You may need to contact PG&E and make arrangements for water, garbage, phone, cable and internet service.
- Consider purchasing Renter's Insurance. Your belongings are not covered under the landlord's insurance policy. Renter's insurance protects against property losses such as losses from theft, fire, vandalism or water damage.
Since you're moving in, we hope this means you read your lease carefully! Along with honoring the lease, also honor yourself. This means:
- Taking photos and completing an apartment or room inventory sheet
- Verify with the landlord the room or apt looked like "this" before you move in
- Verify how the rent transaction will be handled so there are no issues
- Realize that you deserve a safe space to live so if anything is not right, contact OCL. However, in any emergency situation, please call 911 then USF's Public Safety Office: (415) 422 2911
Moving out can be a difficult process, but it doesn't have to be!
- Discuss with your roommates what their move out plan is so you are all on the same page. Make sure your landlord is aware of your plans too.
- Figure out how you are all getting your things out of the apartment. This doesn't necessarily have to be done at the same time or in the same manner, but it's important that you all know what each other is doing.
- Take note of any damage you and/or your roommates caused in the apartment. This could be a reason you would not receive your full security deposit back, so make sure you take note of everything before your landlord does the final walk through.
- Clean the space before you leave! Be courteous to your landlord. They will have someone clean before the next tenants move in, but it is the responsible thing to clean up after yourselves as well.
"Chances are that you have handed over a lot of money in order to move into your rental unit. This is your money. In San Francisco, your landlord must pay you interest every year (unless the rent is assisted by a government agency), and return your deposit to you when you move out if there is no damage. The landlord must agree to do a pre-move-out inspection and can only withhold your deposit for certain reasons.
If your landlord does not return your security deposit, you will need to sue in Small Claims Court or Superior Court. You can sue by yourself in Small Claims Court but suing in Superior Court will probably require an attorney. You can come to our counseling clinic for advice."
To continue reading and get more information go to:
Security Deposit and Disputes
In addition to the requirement that your landlord return your deposit within 21 days, they have to provide you with a full accounting if they withhold return of any portion of it. That means they are required to send you receipts for replacement items they had to purchase, invoices for services they had to pay for, etc. If your landlord does not provide you with documentation, call them out by writing them an email or letter (remember, always keep copies) demanding to see the proof. If they refuse, or ignore you, you can use this as proof of bad intent later on (see below for details on what happens if they don’t give you the deposit back). Likewise, if your landlord submits a receipt/invoice that looks outrageous – $500 for a new towel rack? You should consider asking for an explanation in writing.
Should I cash a check if I want to dispute?
"If the check doesn't say anything on the front or back and there's no other 'offer,' then you can endorse it and cash it and still go to Small Claims court. I was sent a 'settlement in full' security deposit refund." Jul 29, 2010
"The bottom line is, if the memo line on the front or the back of the check says anything like 'full payment for lease' or 'final settlement,' or if there was a letter with the check that said anything like that, don't cash the check.. If the check doesn't say anything on the front or back and there's no other 'offer,' then you can endorse it and cash it and still go to Small Claims court."