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It's move out time, which means you're spending your days planning your move and your nights packing your life into dozens of boxes. No fun at all.
Unfortunately, there are a few more things you need to add to your to-do list. If you want to protect yourself against a landlord lawsuit and an unreturned security deposit, that is. If you do, don't forget to do the following five things before you move out. In the end, you'll be glad you did.
1. Give proper notice. Your lease will tell you what kind of notice you have to provide before you move out, so be sure to give it -- in writing. If you don't have a written lease, be on the safe side and give your landlord 30 days notice.
2. Make repairs. If you broke something, fix it. If you painted something, repaint it. Otherwise, your landlord can deduct the cost of repair from your security deposit. You can probably fix it cheaper than he can.
3. Clean well. You need to return the property in the same condition it was given to you. Get the unit to the same level of cleanliness. If it's really gross, consider calling a cleaning service. Again, it may be cheaper than the service your landlord uses.
4. Do a walk-through. Inspect the property with your landlord. This will give you a chance to take care of any problems before you move out. Be sure to have the landlord sign off once the place is up to par.
5. Return all the keys. And we mean all of them. Some landlords will insist on changing all the locks otherwise, which will cost you a pretty penny. So before you move out, make sure you can't get back in.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.