First Person: How to Transfer Apartments

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I've always thought the best aspect to renting was the opportunity to pick up and move when the lease was up. I grow tired of staring at the same walls and love moving into a new place that I can decorate and call my own. Unfortunately, moving to a new apartment complex every year gets expensive and becomes a hassle. At this point, many renters start to think that they're stuck, but there is an alternative: transferring, or moving into another apartment within your apartment complex. Here is how to pull it off.

Finding a New Apartment

Your first step is to visit the property management office and see what apartments are available. Depending on availability you have two options. One, you can make a lateral move from your apartment to another that is the same size and price, or you can choose to upgrade or downgrade. For example, I was living in a small one bedroom apartment in a complex. I decided to move into a larger two bedroom because I was upgrading, my rent increased.

Once you decide on an apartment size, ask to tour the rental in person, rather than the model. Model units can be different than what you'll actually rent.

Transferring Your Lease

Since you're moving into a new apartment, you'll need a modified lease agreement, which will vary depending on the property management company's policies. Typically, if you are at the end of your current lease, they'll ask you to sign a new lease for the new unit. However, if you are still in your current lease, many property management companies will simply transfer the length and terms of your lease over to the new address. For example, when I upgraded to a bigger apartment in my complex, I had seven months left on my lease. I signed a new lease with all of the same rules for seven months at the new address. This way, I didn't have to add any additional time to the length of my lease.

Handling Fees

The rules for security deposits and moving fees vary by property management company. The small property management company I work for allows renters to simply carry over their security deposit and pet deposit into a new rental unit providing that the tenant did not cause any damages in their original rental. If the tenant is moving into a larger or more expensive apartment, we ask them to pay the difference between the two security deposits. The amount you'll pay will vary, but be sure to ask about these fees upfront before agreeing to transfer apartments.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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