So you're planning on moving out. Have you considered the following issues yet?
Keep Ann Arbor Beautiful - Stash Your Trash
When you move out, help keep Ann Arbor beautiful:
1. Bag Your Trash - Use double bags to keep the critters out.
2. Break Down Your Boxes - Boxes should be broken down to 3 by 2 ft sections and bundled or stuffed into a smaller box.
3. Don't Block the Dumpsters - Don't place your car or your trash next to or in front of dumpsters. The city schedules extra trash pick up services during students' move out week. Help them keep to their pick up schedule by providing easy access to the dumpsters.
4. Salvage Your Sofa - Don't put your sofa or other furniture in the dumpsters. When the dumpsters are too full of trash or full of big furniture items, the city cannot empty them and the whole trash pick up schedule goes haywire. To find out how to trash or donate your furniture, check the Ann Arbor Waste Management Department web site for instructions and for a list of local resale/donation centers.
5. Roll Your Carpets - The city wil pick up carpet rolls which are 4 ft in length, 18 inches in diameter, and a maximum of 50 lbs. Place your carpet rolls curbside with your trash.
More information on other web sites:
Recycle Ann Arbor: http://www.recycleannarbor.org/
Information from the Off-Campus Housing Office: http://www.offcampus.housing.umich.edu/files/recyclinginfo.pdf
List of Waste Removal Businesses from the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce:
Protect Your Security Deposit
Before you move out, either shut off your utilties or transfer them into the name of the next tenant. Read our handout on Security Deposits to review the steps you should take to get your deposit back. Click here to see the Michigan Public Service Commission's Tips for Changing or Terminating Utility Service.
Thinking of Subletting?
Many people try to sublet their units to help them avoid paying high rent for a unit they cannot occupy. Do not let desperation cause you to make bad choices. The problem with subletting arises when you fail to discuss and agree on what should happen if various problems occur. Many people sublet their places to friends or strangers and never realize that they are still liable and responsible for their rental unit and the damages that the person they subleased the unit to may cause.
Avoid Costly Mistakes:
* Make sure all roommates are in agreement about who will be subletting and the terms of the sublease.
* Notify your landlord of the sublease situation and seek his or her permission if necessary (check your lease to see if permission is required).
* Obtain a sample sublease agreement form from the University Housing Office and have everyone agree to and sign the sublease.
* Make sure everyone understands the terms of the sublease.
* Have the subtenant fill out a new inventory checklist form.
* Collect a security deposit (up to 1.5 times the monthly rent) to protect you from losses, damages, or their failure to pay rent.
* Collect permanent contact information from all the subtenants in case of emergency, or if any of the subtenants decide to "skip town."
* Transfer utilities to your subtenant. You do not want to pay for a $500 call to New Zealand.
* Discuss move-out procedures and dates with your subtenants.
* Do not forget to give your subtenants the "Rights and Duties of Tenants" handbook distributed by the City of Ann Arbor.
Generally, you have the right to sublet your dwelling - your landlord cannot "unreasonably" refuse you the right to sublet. If you find your landlord is being unreasonable, either refusing to let you sublet or or imposing unreasonable restrictions, see a tenants' advocate (check the referral information on MI.LawHelp.org, or our list of Important Phone Numbers).
Landlords usually agree to sublets. But once you find someone and agree upon a price, you still have a good deal to do. There are many possibilities as to how to handle the responsibilities of the sublet period. Your landlord probably has a set procedure concerning subletting, having done it year after year. A cooperative landlord can make things easier for you, but landlords are unfortunately under no obligation to cooperate with you. Depending on your landlord, you may use either a substitute lease or a sublet lease.
- Substitute Leases: Involves your landlord assigning all rights and responsibilities over to the new tenant, so that he or she is simply substituted in your place. An inspection of the apartment is made by your landlord and your security deposit, less damages, is returned. You will most likely have to pay the difference between the original rent and the new rent in a lump sum before the new tenant moves in. This type of lease is the easiest to use and better for the original tenant, but landlords in Ann Arbor rarely use it as it takes time and money to inspect the premises, and they usually prefer to have two people liable for the rent under a sublet agreement.
- Sublet Leases: Lease between the tenant and subtenant. The original tenant remains responsible for the entire monthly rent, and the subtenant is responsible to the original tenant for their agreed-upon share of the rent. In other words, you're still responsible for the rent, and this is why it's better to find someone who is reliable. Your landlord may be willing to act as your agent to inspect the apartment and collect the rent, but you are responsible for all other arrangements.
For more information, see our handout on Leases.
It's imperative to collect a security deposit from the subtenant. Before you move out, it's best if your landlord will inspect the place with the subtenant present, and fill out an inventory checklist with you. At that time, your landlord can tell you items that you might be charged for and that will have to be corrected before you leave. If your landlord won't do this, use an inventory checklist anyway as a protection for both yourself and the subtenant. The security deposit cannot, by law, exceed a month and a half of the rent the subtenant pays. There are many ways to handle the security deposit. One suggestion is to have your landlord return your security deposit less damages and to collect one from the subtenant (see above). If, instead, you keep the security deposit, you must put it in a safe place, such as a savings account. Remember that it's not your money, it's the subtenants'. Again, be sure to inform your landlord of all agreements you make with your subtenant. For more information on how to handle your subtenant's deposit, and the steps you must follow when returning or keeping the deposit, see our handout on Security Deposits.
Before You Leave
When leaving for the summer, there are some important things to remember. Make sure that you cancel all utilities and phone responsibilities or have them put under the subtenant's name. Be sure to get permanent addresses for your subtenants, and leave your forwarding address with the subtenants and your landlord. Should there be any trouble, you'll want them to contact you, since by law, you are the responsible party, and you can be held responsible if you fail to respond to any claims. Also, contact the post office to have your mail forwarded, and clean your apartment reasonably well.
If you are presently withholding rent, you can sublet as described above, continuing to deposit the full amount of rent into an escrow account. Have the subtenant pay you directly.
If All Else Fails
If, in spite of all your efforts, you can't find a subtenant, you are faced with the prospect of paying all the rent for the remainder of your lease. Some tenants go ahead and pay the full amount. Others are simply forced to abandon their apartment. If this happens, the landlord can then sue for any rent due and extra expenses incurred, and deduct this from the security deposit. The landlord must still return any unused security deposit money, less damages, to you. However, landlords must try to minimize their damages. This means they must try to fill the empty space as soon as possible in order to suffer as small of a loss as possible. The potential consequences of abandoning your apartment is a poor credit rating and future trouble if you need references from past landlords. For more information on breaking your lease, see our handout on Leases.
To return to the Michigan Tenants Counseling Program web site, click here.
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