Transferring Apartments - What You Need to Know

Top Considerations if You're Considering Moving Upstairs or Down the Hallway

Couple relaxing with moving boxes in new apartment
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If your apartment needs have changed but you're happy with your building and neighborhood, then transferring to a different apartment in your building may be the perfect answer for you.

Why Transfer Apartments?

You may find yourself wanting to transfer to a different apartment in your building if:

  • Your household size changes. You might outgrow your apartment and need one more bedroom or another bathroom. For instance, your one-bedroom apartment might have been perfect a few years ago, but now that you've adopted two children, you need more space. Or you might be in a situation in which you no longer need all the space you. This can happen, for example, if you have children who become adults and move to a place of their own.​
  • Your financial situation changes. You might get a raise and decide you'd like to use your extra earnings to live in more spacious digs. Or, you might need to save money by downgrading to a smaller apartment so you can pay a lower rent.

Important Apartment Transfer Considerations

If you discover that the perfect apartment is just upstairs or down the hallway, keep the following points in mind before you go ahead with transferring apartments:

  • Let the landlord know you're interested in a transfer. Find out the procedure and what's required. For example, will you sign a new lease or amend your current one? Do you need to go through a new round of tenant screening? Will your assigned parking space need to change? Will you owe more as a security deposit, or will you be due a partial refund?​
  • Get on a waiting list. If there's no apartment available that meets your requirements, see if you can be added to a waiting list. Ask for a time estimate. Also, confirm that the waiting list is just a list, meaning it requires no deposit and isn't binding, should you later change your mind.
  • Check in periodically. It's a good idea to call the management office once in a while just to make sure you haven't somehow been dropped from the list. You should take the opportunity to inquire about the wait and let the person know you're still interested.​
  • Plan your move accordingly. Don't underestimate the time, effort, or expense involved in transferring to a different apartment in the building. Since you'll be moving within your building, the good news is you won't need a moving truck, which will bring substantial savings. However, depending on furniture and other bulky objects you might own, you may still need to hire professional movers.
  • If the new apartment is vacant, ask your landlord if you can begin moving your belongings to the new apartment before your lease officially starts. While this usually doesn't happen with new tenants, your landlord might let you do it since you're already a renter in the building. If you do start bringing over items before your lease begins, you'll, of course, need the key as well as assurance that your belongings will be secure. For example, you'll want to know if contractors will be performing work (such as painting) in your new apartment, and make sure they know not to leave the door open while on a break.​
  • Expect to cancel and set up new utility accounts. Even if you're moving to the apartment next door, keep in mind that you'll still need to set up new accounts as if you moved several blocks away. It might seem like a pain, but unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in this regard when transferring apartments.​
  • Notify others of address change. It might be as small as a single letter or number being different, but if you move, you'll have a change of address, and so you'll need to let the post office know. Also, be sure to inform credit card companies and others of the change. Let the mail carrier, as well as your old apartment's new tenant, know that if something should come for you, that you're still in the building but at the new apartment. Tell friends and family about your new address through a quick e-mail or formal moving announcement.​
  • Be courteous if you have a change of plans. If you decide to move away to an apartment not in your building, point out to the landlord that you no longer need to be on the waiting list. Also, if your needs change and you decide you would like to stay where you are, let your landlord know you wish to be removed from the list.