Step 17: Moving Out

Moving out of your apartment is a big step in the rental process. While it is exciting, here at the NHO we recognize this process can be a little overwhelming. There’s so much to do! To make your transition into your new place run smoothly, we compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you along the way!

Terminating your lease agreement

Terminating your Lease Agreement

Pay close attention to the language in your lease. The type of lease you have matters! Is it a month-to-month or a term lease? Term leases have a fixed amount of time, typically 1 year for UWM students. Your lease will have a termination date listed. Different leases have different requirements for minimum number of days’ notice as well.

Be vigilant of automatic renewal clauses. This automatically renews a lease unless either the landlord or tenant gives notice of non-renewal, which is due a set number of days before the lease ends. Additionally, in order for a landlord to enforce automatic renewal, the tenant must receive a written reminder from the landlord 15-30 days before the tenant must give notice to stop the lease from renewing. Landlords legally cannot fail to remind tenants of the renewal written in a lease and still require tenants to renew their leases.

It is in your best interest to notify your landlord via written notice of your intent to move based on your lease requirements. Check your lease. The Neighborhood Housing Office recommends sending notices via certified mail so that you have proof that the written notice was delivered. Additionally, always ensure you include a forwarding address where your security deposit can be returned to.

Giving notice to your landlord that you're moving out

When to Give your Landlord Notice

To know exactly how much notice you need to give before moving out of your apartment, check your lease.Most leases require 60 days, but can be up to 90 or as little as 30 days. Since this time period varies lease to lease, make sure you check this well in advance.If you don’t give proper notice, you could lose your security deposit or be held responsible for several months’ rent.The delivery method should also be specified in your lease. Usually, a written notice is required.​ See a good template of written notice here.

Enlisting help

Enlisting Help

This is important to do in advance. If you plan on getting a moving truck, it is recommended to make reservations 2 months in advance. Book one as soon as possible to guarantee a vehicle for your move out date, especially during busier moving times such as the end and beginning of the academic year. If you plan to have family and friends help, having a few cars/trucks to move your things can be helpful. Confirm that they all know what time you need to be out of your rental, and you give yourself plenty time to move everything out. Ensure you have time to do one final walk-through with your check-out sheet.

Starting/stopping your utilities

Starting/Stopping your Utilities

Around two weeks before you move, call your utility providers and schedule your turn off/on dates.You want to turn the utilities off at your current apartment the day after you move out (to avoid the electric and water being shut off while you are trying to move boxes – especially in the summer). Schedule the utilities to be turned on at your new apartment the day before you move in so you’ll have electric and water when you are moving in.

Changing your address

Changing your Address

Make sure your mail makes it to your new home address by visiting your local post office, or going online to submit a change of address. Notify credit card companies or your personal bank of your new address, and remember to change it in PAWS. Touch base with We Energies and any other service providers to transfer services to your new address as well.

Packing tips


Start packing your personal belongings at least 2 weeks ahead of time, varying on how much you own. It will take some time to make sure you have everything packed and ready to go. It can be helpful to use clear totes so you can see what is inside, or grab a few sharpies or colored duct tape to easily identify boxes. Keep similar items together and label everything for an organized unpacking experience as well. For example, you may want to have a couple boxes designated for kitchenware and others for bathroom supplies. After you go through your things, make a box of items you don’t need/use anymore and donate them. Goodwill is a great company to donate old items to! Just make sure you are following their guidelines before bringing all your unwanted items to a location. Two Men And a Truck also provides some helpful moving tips!

Cleaning your apartment


Try to get your apartment as close to its original move-in condition as you can. Some normal wear and tear is to be expected, but make it your goal to erase the year (or years) you spent in the apartment.

Make sure to repair things, such as:

  • Removing nails or screws from walls
  • Fill in holes with putty
  • Use cleaning products for toilet, sink, mirror, counter top, floor, stove, fridge, etc.
  • Vacuum if carpeted
  • Mop and sweet if hardwood floors

Once your apartment is sparkly clean, make sure you take some pictures, just in case you need proof of the apartment’s condition. If your landlord spots something after you move out, you can refer to your pictures to see if it is something you overlooked or if it possibly occurred after you vacated the property.

Final Inspection

Final Inspection

Deliver the key to your landlord after you do a walk-through inspection. The Neighborhood Housing Office recommends doing a walk-through with your landlord so any discrepancies can be addressed immediately. If you are not doing a walk-through, take photos of the move-out conditions of your apartment or house. Ask your landlord when you can expect to receive your deposit back, and then set a reminder in your personal calendar to follow up. Give the landlord a forwarding address to receive your security deposit or the list of itemized cost of charge and deductions from the security deposit. Landlords are required to return this minus any deductions within 21 days of your move out.

Where can I put items I don't want to take with me anymore?

Items You Don’t Want Anymore

There are many options when it comes to getting rid of unwanted items. Some of your options are:

  • Sell/Give away your items on Facebook:
    • UW-Milwaukee Class Facebook Pages (2021, 2022, 2023, 2024) 
    • Facebook Marketplace 
    • East Side Neighbors Facebook
  • Drop bulky items off at a Drop-Off Center* (Will also take electronics, appliances, and tires for recycling.) 
    • North Milwaukee: Milwaukee DPW Self-Help Center 
    • 6660 N Industrial Road Milwaukee, WI 53223 
    • South Milwaukee: Milwaukee Lincoln Ave Self-Help Center 
    • 3879 W Lincoln Ave Milwaukee, WI 53215 Regular Pick-Up
  •  Regular Bulky Pick-Up through the City of Milwaukee
    • Only for one (1) cubic yard, about the size of a rocking chair or two garbage carts, may be put at your regular collection point for pickup on your regular day. No online request or call is needed.
  • Schedule a Special Pick-Up  *Special Pick-Ups are temporarily unavailable.*
    • For more than one (1) cubic yard, place the item(s) at your regular collection point and submit a request online or call the city at 414-286-2489.
    • Rates: 
      • $50 for 1-4 cubic yards
      • $150 for 4-6 cubic yards
  • Donate your items!

*These centers require a Milwaukee I.D. or a recent utility bill under the same name as your I.D. in order to use their services. 


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