Seven Tips to Help Multifamily Residents Have a Successful Move



Peak leasing season brings a flurry of activity at multifamily communities across the nation each year. Just as quick as property managers fill vacancies, residents make a dash to move their belongings in (or out).

Typically, weekends are prime time for moving and the process can draw out over a couple of days, even into the wee hours of the night, usually when property management staff isn’t at full strength. The excitement of moving can turn into disappointment when items are stolen, upsetting a resident before setting roots in the community.

Even worse, accidents can happen that leave the resident and property at a loss.

Round-the-clock security is certainly a safeguard, but even the best teams need help from residents and property managers when moving trucks cycle in and out of the property.

Ed Wolff, president of LeasingDesk Insurance, said property managers should encourage residents to have renters insurance well before moving in so coverage is intact in the unlikely event that a theft occurs while setting up house.

“People tend to be more focused right now on moving,” he says. “They may not think about the potential for theft as they’re moving in or out. It’s best that they have coverage in place before they are issued a key to their new apartment.”

Wolff recommends that property managers help educate residents on the do’s and don’ts of moving. While a new resident may have several moves under his or her belt, the new surroundings may be unfamiliar.

Also, the unit should be properly inspected for fire safety before the resident moves in.

Here are seven tips LeasingDesk recommends to help properties and residents prepare for a successful move:

1. Keep valuables out of sight

Avoid writing the contents on moving boxes. This is a sure way for folks to easily recognize what items are in the box when they are sitting outside waiting to be carried in or loaded onto a truck. Consider color coding boxes – red for kitchen, blue for bedroom, etc.

2. Inventory checklist

Encourage new and existing residents to create an inventory checklist. Renters have a lot of stuff, but they seem to not know exactly how much for insurance purposes. Wolff recommends that occupants create an inventory checklist that thoroughly documents possessions, and check the inventory after moving.


3. Avoid propping doors open

An open door is an open invitation for an unwanted guest to walk in and, if not survey the inside of the apartment, take something while nobody is looking. If the door must be open, enlist a friend to stand by. Doors of apartments on the interior of the community may be hidden from sight of the parking lot.

4. Lock vehicles

The easiest targets for theft are the belongings in a car or truck. Locking and unlocking the vehicle may be cumbersome, but it might just prevent thieves from helping themselves. This is especially true when the vehicle is left unattended, out of sight.

5. Don’t leave boxes, furniture unattended

Avoid leaving moving boxes or furniture staged outside or in the hallways of the apartment community. When nobody’s around, they could wander off.

6. Know your surroundings

Before move-in or move-out, residents should walk around the area of the apartment and see what’s happening. Keep an eye out for suspicious people or those nearby who could be watching the move and potentially trying to take something. Typically, most neighbors are friendly but it’s best not to tempt anyone.

7. Check unit for working smoke, carbon monoxide alarms

Wolff says it’s also a good time for property managers to make sure the soon-to-be-occupied unit is protected against fire. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms. Installing and testing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be done to ensure the resident’s safety and protect the property.


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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