Maintaining your Apartment while you’re Gone for the Summer

summerWhether you’re heading back to your hometown or maybe going to a big city for a summer internship, many college students will be leaving their apartments unoccupied for the summer months. Some students will sublet their apartment over the summer (click here for tips on finding a sublet), but many choose not to deal with the hassle and just pay the rent while they are gone.

If you are going to leave your apartment unoccupied for several months, there are a few things you’ll want to think about before leaving.  Don’t worry though, I’m here for you.

Our first recommendation is to “take it slow”.  Give yourself at least a couple hours to make sure you have dotted all of your i’s and crossed all your t’s before leaving. If you’re rushed, you’ll likely forget to do something important, like take out the trash!

Keeping your Apartment in Good condition while you are gone

  1. Keep your utilities on – many of you are required to pay some/all of your utilities directly to the utility companies. When you leave for the summer, you’ll likely need to keep those on and in your name.  Check with your landlord if you’re not sure.
  2. Turn your A/C ON – “But I don’t want to pay to cool my apartment while I’m not there!!!” I hear you loud and clear.  The problem is that if you leave your apartment with no air circulating during the hot & humid summer months, chances are damage will occur to your apartment.  I recommend leaving the A/C on at about 78 F. At that temperature it will not run much, but it will run just enough to keep air circulating & the humidity down in your apartment
  3. Do not unplug the Fridge – Same deal with the A/C; I understand that you do not want to pay for the energy use while you are not there.  If you unplug and leave the fridge doors closed, it’s likely something gross will begin to grow in your fridge, potentially destroying the fridge.  Alternatively, you can turn the fridge off, but you MUST remember to leave the fridge / freezer doors open if you do that (make sure the freezer is defrosted if you plan to do this; if not when freezer defrosts the water will pour onto the ground).
  4. Toilet seat up – Men, this is the one and only time you will not get in trouble for leaving the toilet seat up. You probably won’t have a problem if you are only gone for a week or so, but we’ve found that if a toilet lid is down for an extended period of time, mold sometimes begins to grow on the seat, potentially ruining the seat.
  5. Remove all perishable food items from your fridge, counters, cabinets, etc – The smell & sight of a 2 month old rotted vegetable is never a great way to be greeted.
  6. Take out the trash – Think rotted vegetables smell bad; doesn’t even compare with the smell of a 2 month old chicken leg.
  7. Keep the air flowing – Besides keeping the A/C on, you might also open closet and cabinet doors, just to keep fresh air moving in and out of those areas.  If there happened to be any moisture in those areas and they’re sealed up, it could lead to additional damages to your apartment.

Keeping your apartment secure while you are gone

  1. Close your blinds – If a potential burglar can’t see all your goodies, they’ll be less likely to choose your apartment
  2. Have a friend check-in from time to time – If you know someone staying in town, you might ask them to check in on your apartment once per week.  Maybe have them rotate switching on a light and also have them pick up any solicitations that are left on your front door (IE. phone books or restaurant flyers).
  3. Lock your door and windows – Duh, you’ll make sure all of your exterior doors are locked, but you might forget to confirm your windows are locked

Misc Items to reduce potential headaches

  1. Forward your mail –  especially if you have utility or other bills sent to your apartment.  You can do that through the USPS website.
  2. Put together a plan to pay your rent each month.
  3. Pay your utility bills – Most utilities allow for online payments; this might reduce the hassle a bit.
  4. Know your move-out date – If you have not renewed your lease, make sure you know when your lease ends.  You don’t want to be in a situation where the lease ends and all of your stuff is still there.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to let your landlord know if you will be gone for several weeks or months. If you have any additional tips or comments, please add the below.  Thanks and have a great day!

Eric Dainton

About Eric Dainton

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