Renting can be a viable alternative to buying a home, especially if you’re in a transient phase of your life. Many college students and young professionals will rent while living in college towns or before deciding to settle down. Many first-time renters don’t understand the kind of impact their rental history can have on their future renting or even purchasing decisions, so it’s extremely important that you move out properly and leave on good terms with any landlord.

One of the most important first steps before moving out is to review your lease and look for any special move out instructions. Some landlords will require that you have the unit professionally cleaned or steam cleaned, or that your security deposit will be withheld. Landlords must abide by the lease, so if nothing is written in the lease or in any amendments, then they cannot hold it against you. To make sure you’re safe to start moving out, you may want to contact your landlord and ask if there are any special requirements.

While some leases with a set expiration date may not require that you give notice, many landlords will require that you give notice, either written or expressed, that you plan on moving out. Some require your notice 30 days before move out and others will want 60 or even 90 days. This can present problems for college students, since many times graduating seniors are still undecided on their plans.

Some landlords will give you an extension of your lease on a month-to-month basis. These “periodic” leases will definitely require giving notice, so it’s important to know when to give notice or you may be stuck paying an extra month of rent.

If your landlord gives you an extension on your notice, make sure you get it in writing. It’s always best when dealing with apartments to have written proof of all correspondences, in case there are any issues in the future. Most states will rule in favor of the landlord if you don’t give proper notice, since they need that time to find a new tenant and prepare your unit for them. A typical penalty for missing notice is one month’s rent.

What if you need to move out before your new lease expires? This can get tricky, and many individual landlords will be more lenient with your move out than a big apartment complex. Many complexes will require you to pay a fee to break your lease, but sometimes landlords will ask that you find a replacement tenant and will let you out of your lease without penalty. Again, with breaking your lease, make sure to get everything in writing to guarantee no problems in the future. For more information on real estate and to check out our homes for sale in Denver CO, visit us at

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