How Long Does it Take for an Apartment to be Prepared?

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So you’ve toured a number of apartments, selected one, or are about to select one, and are wondering how long it is going to take for your apartment to be prepared.

Generally, once you sign the lease and the previous tenant moves out, it takes about 5 to 7 days for the apartment to be prepared for you to move in. During this time, here is what happens in the apartment (or should happen at a reputable apartment complex).

  • Complete cleaning of the walls and floors
  • Repainting all the walls. *Not all building owners repaint the entire apartment between tenants (find out in advance how your apartment community prepares vacant apartments).
  • Replace anything broken including minor and major repairs
  • Check that all appliances are working and replace them if necessary
  • Check that the plumbing, fire, and mechanical systems are in good working order, and make repairs and/or perform maintenance as necessary
  • Have the carpet or other flooring professionally cleaned

Depending on how the previous tenant left the apartment, it can take significantly longer if the entire apartment needs to be prepared. Similarly, if you requested an upgraded apartment, this could take closer to three weeks or longer.

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Keep in mind that the landlord doesn’t always fully know the extent of the apartment’s condition until they get the keys back from the previous tenant. Here are some considerations –

  • Find out how long the landlord expects it will take before you can move in once the old tenant moves out
  • Check whether the landlord needs some additional time to set up the apartment so you can plan accordingly
  • Ask if there are any major upgrades or renovations being planned or if the landlord expects to just complete the basics if the apartment is already in good condition.

Move-In Date

The move-in date you decide with your landlord will depend entirely on the lease start date, the number of apartments the landlord needs to prepare and the condition your specific apartment was left in.

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Nearly all apartment buildings will provide a projected move-in date. Find out the projected move-in date at least a week in advance. Inquire as to when you can start moving your household belongings in and make sure to set up utilities and Internet access far in advance of your expected lease start date. Landlords will generally try and be as flexible as possible depending on what condition the apartment is in.

Be patient and flexible, if possible, because you naturally want the apartment to be in the best possible condition especially if you are going to live there yourself for at least a year, if not more. Generally speaking, once they get the keys from the previous tenant, your landlord will have a basic idea of the time it should take, so this should give you an indication.

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