Moving Days 2018 - Tenant Resource Center

Moving Days 2018

The Great Day Of Moving is upon us! Many Madison leases turn over on August 14-16, and here's the crucial informational goods:

  • There are so many ways to get rid of your stuff! There are donation sites all over town, more trash pickups than usual, and lots of ways to recycle. That's all here:
  • You can contact us if you have questions! (Though our most commonly asked questions are below!) Our contact info is here, but you can also find our staff at the Schenk's Corners Block Party on August 17th and 18th!

Below are answers to our most commonly asked Moving Day questions. 

"I want to pick up a gorgeous piece of furniture that's free on the sidewalk. How do I know if it has bedbugs?"

Bedbugs are a big deal! They are very difficult to detect, and if you end up with bedbugs in your apartment, it can cost thousands of dollars to get rid of them. If you are picking up a piece of furniture, it's a good idea to look it over really, really well and see if you can find the little bugs. Bedbug eggs can stay dormant for up to a year, so it's possible that you won't see the suckers, even though the eggs are there. Bedbugs leave rust colored droppings, and tend to make furniture smell musty. If you bring it home, clean the object well, and if you are able to get it really hot, often that will kill bedbugs. More info on bedbugs is here.

Tip: If you had bedbugs in your apartment, and now you are throwing away furniture, please spraypaint or mark the furniture to show that it had bedbugs. The rest of the city will thank you.

"My landlord is charging me for carpet cleaning. What do I do?"

Your landlord cannot charge you for normal maintenance, and also cannot charge you for normal wear and tear. However, sometimes tenants do damage the carpet, or leave it dirty beyond normal wear and tear, and they can be charged for cleaning related to that damage. More info on carpet cleaning here. More info on normal wear and tear here.

"My new apartment is so dirty/in need of repair! Is my lease void? Could I clean/fix it and get paid back?"

No, probably your lease is not void. The contract is likely still in effect, and it is the landlord's responsibility to maintain the rental unit and to keep it in a reasonable state of repair. When the landlord rents out a unit, there is an implied warranty of habitability (see notes at the end of this law), which means that it should be livable when tenants move in.

However, getting the landlord to clean the unit can be tricky, as can trying to get important repairs made quickly. It can also be difficult to try and clean or fix the problem yourself, hoping for reimbursement. Here's what we recommend:

"I wasn't done moving, but my landlord threw my stuff out! What do I do?"

Before you do anything else, document what was tossed! Write an email, or a letter, and make sure you note down everything you know was thrown out. If you are able to recover it (look in the garbage bins), great, but if not, you'll be glad you wrote it down. 

Your second step should be looking through your most recent lease. As of March 2012, it is legal for landlords to write their own rules into the lease about disposing of property you leave behind. If there is nothing in your lease about it, then they have to store ALL property and, within 10 days, they have to tell you where it is, along with any charges, and give you 30 days’ notice if they will throw it out. You can be required to pay the moving and storing costs in order to get it back. Medical equipment and prescription medication must be stored for 7 days and returned promptly upon request– no matter what. More info on property left behind here.

If your landlord incorrectly (according the law and lease) threw away your belongings, and you were not able to get them back, then you might be able to sue to be compensated for your stuff. Small Claims Court tips are here

"I'm afraid my landlord is going to take my security deposit. How do I make sure that I get it back?"

We talked about this last week! All our suggestions are here:

Tip: Avoid this problem in the future by doing a really good job of filling out your check-in form, and make sure to take photos, if you are able. Doing so when you move in means that you will be able to prove, at the end of your lease, the damage that you did or did not do.


Hi! Did you know? We are not attorneys here at the TRC!  And this isn't legal advice, either.  If what we've written here doesn't sound right to you, talk about it with someone you trust. For help finding an attorney, check out our attorney referral list.

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Tenant Resource Center