Do Your Leases Really Need to Overlap?

published Aug 23, 2018
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Here’s a riddle for renters: Say your lease expires on October 31. Do you need to move out on October 31 and keep your stuff in storage until November 1, or can you actually move out November 1, giving yourself a little wiggle room?

The short answer: It varies depending on your management company or landlord, says agent Alex Lavrenov, of Warburg Realty in New York, New York. If they’ve got a tenant lined up to move in soon after your lease expires on the 31st, you really do need to be out on the 31st. Seriously. You’ll of course have more luck with a leisurely move-out period if the apartment is still vacant, he says.

Lavrenov points out that if your landlord owns the building—versus a management company—they’re more likely to be more lenient with things like this, as the relationship is usually pretty direct and more personal.

Another tip? Dig up that lease you signed when you moved in and see if there’s a specified time that you need to be out by. Most leases specify a time and date that your keys need to be turned in by, says Shawn Breyer, with Breyer Home Buyers, a real estate company in Atlanta, Georgia.

Turning over a rental in between tenants typically takes at least a week, Breyer says. (The subtext here: You won’t be cutting it so close you’ll be passing the new tenant as you’re moving out—but your landlord will probably be eager to bring in the painting and carpet cleaning crews as soon as you’reout because every day that apartment isn’t rented, money is being lost).

With that said, Breyer is still an advocate for overlapping your lease.

“It reduces the amount of stress of moving your entire house overnight or figuring out where to store your belongings during your transition phase,” he says.

You may be able to finesse yourself some extra time. A little communication with your landlord or property management company can go a long way, too, says Zachary Hassan, a real estate salesperson with Compass in New York City.

“Letting them know ‘Hey, I have the movers scheduled for 8 a.m. on the 1st, and will be completely out by 11:30 a.m.’ works wonders,” he says.

In fact, in all of his leases and dealings with clients, he’s only seen one instance where the owner required a tenant to vacate by midnight of the lease expiration—and, he notes, that had more to do with a rocky relationship between the landlord and renter.

For quick turnaround moves, have your items packed and labeled a few days prior to your move, he suggests.

Co-ops and new developments tend to have strict move-in and move-out days and times for tenants, says Emile L’Eplattenier, Chief Real Estate Analyst with Yes, it can seem stuffy, but they don’t want to annoy current tenants with anyone dominating the elevator or making a ton of noise early in the morning. Also, some buildings need to have staff members present to put up pads in the elevators or open security doors, so syncing your move-out time with the building’s expectations needs to be exact, he points out.

If you really want to avoid paying rent at two places for a day, you can usually have your belongings stored in a moving truck, says Nimrod Sheinberg, vice president of sales for OZ Moving & Storage. While this is more expensive than a usual one-day, local move, it can save you money on renting costs especially if a pro-rated rate is high for that extra day.