Moving is less than fun in the best of circumstances. Add the coronavirus crisis to the mix, and it’s… well, a crisis.
But in some cases, you might not be able to put off your move, and during this stressful time, it’s extra important to stay safe and save money.
Here’s what you need to know about moving during the time of the coronavirus, if you absolutely must.
What Happens With My Lease During COVID-19?
If your lease is coming up in the near future, you may be wondering if you have any options to fall back on to avoid moving — even if you’re not planning on staying in your place long-term.
In most cases, if your lease is up during the coronavirus, you’re going to have to re-sign, ask to go month-to-month, or move.
On the other end of the spectrum, the pandemic may have you hoping to break your lease without financial repercussions. For instance, maybe you moved in with a partner for the period of the quarantine and aren’t sure when you’ll be able to move back — or if you even want to.
Renters are protected by written renters’ rights, which vary from state to state but always include clauses dealing with what happens if a renter breaks a lease.
Can’t pay rent? Here’s how to talk to your landlord if you can’t come up with the money this month.
In most cases, the landlord is allowed to charge the tenant for at least some of the losses they’ll incur from the break in the agreement, which may mean losing your security deposit or having to continue paying rent until they can find a new renter. It’s even possible you may get sued for the balance of the lease.
That said, these are unprecedented times. Whether you want to extend a lease or break it, it’s worth reaching out to your landlord or leasing agency directly to see if you can come up with a compromise.
Are Moving Companies Still Open during COVID-19?
No matter your circumstances, if you must move, you might want help — and a lot of it.
Moving companies are considered essential services in most states with shelter-in-place orders, so you can still hire out the heavy lifting.
That said, hiring movers does mean increasing your chance of exposure, since you’ll be interacting with more human beings. Many moving companies are implementing special precautions, like wearing masks and gloves.
Staying Safe While Moving During the Quarantine Period
You might not have a choice about the move — but you do have some choices to make in regards to keeping you and your family as safe as possible.
Here are some tips:
Tour homes digitally. Thank goodness we live in an age with tools like Zillow and Zumper, which give you the opportunity to get a lot of information about your potential digs from the comfort of your own quarantine cave.
You could also ask your real estate agent or potential landlord for extra photos, videos, or even video calls.
Consider a DIY move — or a storage pod. To save money and avoid interacting with movers and having them handle your stuff, you could bite the bullet and move yourself.
Another option: Rent a storage pod, which allows you to pack up the unit, have it delivered to your new dwelling, and unpack it at your leisure.
If you’re using a moving company, ask them to follow best practices. If you do choose to offload some of the heavy lifting, ensure that the movers keep their distance, handle your belongings with care, and sanitize their equipment regularly.
Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com.