Moving out is a big job. Planning is key to moving successfully while also writing exams, preparing for jobs and saying goodbye to friends. Students routinely underestimate how much “stuff” they have accumulated and often get caught short of time (and boxes) to move properly. Given that the majority of Queen’s students surveyed reported moving every year, moving is a job that you need to get good at!
Prepare Well in Advance
- Ask for help from family and friends well in advance.
- Book a moving vehicle as soon as you know you will need it. There is a local shortage on April 30th and May 1st.
- Note: If you want to move into a new place early or move out late you must get permission of the landlord and the tenants whose lease you are overlapping. Some tenancies will not allow this kind of overlap so ask early!
- Start getting rid of things you don't want to take with you; sell clothing, furniture and household items on Queen's Facebook groups or Kijiji, donate non-perishable, unopened food items and get creative with your leftovers, recycle your old notes and papers, and consign textbooks at Tricolour Outlet.
Notify Your Landlord
- The Residential Tenancies Act requires a tenant to give a landlord 60 days’ written notice of their intention to vacate, but there are three important clarifications to be stressed.
- When a tenant signs for a fixed term – say one year – they are still obligated to tell the landlord if they are not staying beyond the end of the term. A tenant’s responsibility to a rental unit does not end with the end of the fixed term.
- If a tenant signs a one-year lease and wants to move before the end of that one-year fixed term, the tenant is responsible for finding someone to take over the remainder of the lease. Giving 60 days’ notice before the end of a fixed term is not recognized.
- Sometimes 60 days does not mean 60 days. When you pay rent on the 1st of the month, your notice period must be for two calendar months. You cannot give notice in the middle of a rental period and then leave a landlord without rent for ½ a month. Also, if you give notice at the end of January that you will be moving at the end of March the short month, February, counts as 30 days.
Perform a Pre-Departure Inspection
- Before you vacate your unit have your landlord, or their representative, come to your unit to inspect for cleaning requirements and damages.
- During your tenancy you are allowed “reasonable wear and tear”. Reasonable wear and tear is along the lines of a few holes in the wall from picture hooks or lightly-scuffed flooring. Unreasonable wear and tear may be something like large areas covered with double-sided tape from posters, burns in the kitchen counter-top, or flooring damaged because of lack of proper care (failing to vacuum)
- Tenants are responsible for replacing items damaged by negligent or willful misconduct of themselves or their guests (even if the guest was not invited). For some student tenants that has meant replacing area carpeting because of burns caused by clothes irons or candle wax. It can also mean replacing appliances such as refrigerators if proper care wasn't taken. Clean the fridge well, unplug it and leave the door ajar if the electricity is being disconnected before the start of the next tenancy.
- When you leave, remove everything you brought into the house unless clear, written arrangements to the contrary have been made. If, for instance, the incoming tenants have purchased your couch, inform the landlord and leave a note to that effect on the couch so that it doesn't get thrown out.
- Do not leave garbage in the unit. The incoming tenants may not move in right away and if your garbage rots in the unit, you are liable for damages – and damages in a contract mean money!
When Do I Have to Vacate the Premises?
- You must vacate your unit, by the time specified by your landlord, on the last day of your tenancy. That could mean that you have until 12 midnight, but other contracts specify being out by 12 noon to ensure that the landlord has time to do minor repairs or clean carpets in advance of the next tenancy. This creates problems for students moving from one unit in Kingston to another; where do you keep your stuff for 24 hours? Try to negotiate to either stay in your current unit until the day after your lease ends, or move into your next unit a day early. Be generous with fellow students. April/May (and August/September) is a stressful and costly time of year for everyone.
- Don’t forget to cancel your services and utilities. It may be less costly to transfer the account into a new name rather than disconnect and reconnect. Again, think of your fellow students if approached to help negotiate the best rate.
- If your contract specifies leaving the oil tank full, call your fuel oil provider and have it topped up.