If you are a California residential renter and need to move, click the button below to download a FREE moving checklist, a free sample moving budget, and a free letter to your landlord requesting repairs. The Security Deposit Toolkit will reduce the likelihood of deductions from your residential security deposit and assist you in the event your landlord nonetheless wrongfully withholds all or part of your residential security deposit.
Ensure You Know Your Rights When It Comes to Your Security Deposit. The Security Deposit Toolkit, which includes an eBook, sample forms, sample letters, and instructional videos, is available for purchase here.
Start Looking For A New Rental Unit. Friends and acquaintances are always a great starting point. Post on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter) (1) what type of rental unit you are looking for (including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms), (2) where you are looking to rent, (3) when you are looking to move, and (4) (if applicable) your rental budget. Here are some useful websites:
Research Jobs, Daycare, Schools. If you or your significant other needs to find a new job, start looking on Linkedin.com
Indeed.com, Ziprecruiter.com, Craigslist.org, etc. If you want to work somewhere in particular, contact friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. If you have children, immediately begin researching nannies, daycare, and/or schools.
Create A Moving Budget. Your costs may include:
[Free sample budget available for download here.]
Find Out When You Need To Give Your Current Landlord ("Prior LL") Notice. If your lease is month-to-month, you'll need to give your landlord at least one month's notice. If it's a fixed term, your lease should say how much notice to give (usually, 30–60 days before the lease term ends). [Tip: The more notice you can give, the more grateful your landlord will likely be to you for the extra time to find new tenants.]
Set Aside Or Save Funds For A Security Deposit And First Month's Rent At New Rental Unit. Set aside or save twice the anticipated monthly rental budget for your new unit—half for the first month's rent and half for the security deposit.
Narrow Search, Request Walkthroughs Of Prospective New Rental Units.
Complete Rental Application(s) And Provide Any Accompanying Documents.
Sign Lease For New Rental Unit. Security deposit for new unit will be due at this time.
30–90 Days Before
Inform Prior LL In Writing You'll Be Moving. Send written notice to Prior LL at the address and in the manner set forth
in your lease. Request a walkthrough of your current rental unit, and provide a new mailing address to which Prior LL can mail your security deposit and/or an itemized list of deductions. The Security Deposit Toolkit provides instructions
on actions you can take now to increase the odds of recovering your security deposit in full.
[Sample notice letters available as part of Security Deposit Toolkit, available for purchase here.]
30–60 Days Before
Rent A Pod Or Moving Truck And Hire A Moving Company. Visit https://www.move.org/best-moving-container- companies/ for moving options.
30–60 Days Before
Notify Your Utility Companies You'll Be Moving. This includes gas and electric, garbage and recycling, water and sewage, Internet/cable/telephone service. Some companies may allow you to transfer your service to a new address.
0–60 Days Before
Obtain Renters Insurance For New Unit/Notify Your Current Renters Insurance Broker Of Change Of Address. For the best renter's insurance companies of 2019, visit https://www.valuepenguin.com/best-renters-insurance-companies.
7–14 Days Before
Perform A Walkthrough Of Your Current Rental Unit With Prior LL. Prior LL is required to perform a walkthrough if you request it and must provide a written list of items in need of repair. If you wait until most of your items have been packed, Prior LL will be able to view as much of the rental unit as possible. The Security Deposit Toolkit includes instructions on preemptive actions to take to increase the odds of recovering your full security deposit.
0–14 Days Before
(If Applicable) Arrange For Carpets To Be Steam-Cleaned. You are required to return your current rental unit to the Prior LL in exact condition in which you found it. If the rugs were steam cleaned at the time you moved in, plan on having them steam cleaned before you move.
0–14 Days Before
Perform Any Repairs Following The Walkthrough. You can perform perform a walkthrough if you request it and must provide you with a written list of items in need of repair. You can perform these repairs yourself or hire someone to do so. Again, the Security Deposit Toolkit includes instructions on preemptive actions to increase the odds of recovering your security deposit in full.
0–14 Days Before
Set Up Mail Forwarding With USPS. For mail forwarding, visit https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm.
0–7 Days Before
Perform A Walkthrough Of Your New Rental Unit With Your New Landlord ("New LL") And Request A Written Copy
Of The Inspection. This is important so that you and New LL agree to the condition of the rental unit when you moved
in. A best practice is to take pictures and have someone else present with you. This will increase the odds of getting your security deposit back when you eventually move out. Follow up with New LL in writing (i.e., text or email) summarizing the condition as observed in the walkthrough and send copies of relevant photos. This creates a written record in case New LL fails to timely complete the repairs.
Update Your Physical Address. Here is a non-exhaustive list of companies, entities, and general areas where you'll need to update your address:
Notify New LL Of Any Item Requiring Repairs. Put your requests in writing and request a date by which you'd like the repairs completed. [Free sample letter available for download here.]
21 Days After
Follow Up With Prior LL If Security Deposit To Prior Unit Or Itemized List Of Deductions Not Yet Received. Your landlord has twenty-one days from the date you moved out to return your security deposit and/or an itemized list of deductions to your security deposit with any receipts. If your landlord failed to return your security deposit or failed to provide an itemized list of deductions, get help with the Security Deposit Toolkit, available for purchase here.