How best to handle moving out technically TONIGHT?
February 24, 2014 1:33 PM   Subscribe

I procrastinated horribly and relied upon uncertain things, and I technically need to move out of my apartment tonight or I assume suffer consequences. What are my options?

I'm the worst procrastinator you've ever known. I live in a one-bedroom apartment with a cat, and all the furniture that you might imagine a place to have. The problem is that I am being told I have to move out today/tonight. Here's the back story/facts/etc:

1. Around two months ago, the leasing office gave me notice that I would not be able to renew my lease this year (I have lived here for three years) because they needed to renovate the apartment. Figuring this would be a good time to find a place closer to work, and maybe cheaper, and maybe with a roommate, I accepted and gave my 30 days notice when instructed.

2. A potential roommate situation failed as the other person flaked out. Then, my backup plan of getting a small studio apartment near work didn't happen because my application was denied (rental credit check type thing failed, I got a 'maybe' or '6.3 out of 10' or something like that - this is due partially to something that happened years ago with a 'lemon' apartment and me not handling things properly) The studio apartment thing fell through just a few days ago. Today is supposed to be my move out date.

3. I explained this to the leasing office/landlord and he said that he could not help and that someone has paid a deposit to move in ASAP so that they need to start these renovations on schedule.

Here's a few more crappy details: I can't rent a u-haul and can't move the big furniture myself. I have basically zero friends nearby as I moved across the country for work and most of my friends here are in a not-too-nearby city with no car.

One thing I was thinking would be to get a storage unit, hire a moving service to load my things into it, and take my cat and myself and find a motel that rents rooms weekly or something similar. I'd just like to know if anyone has any better ideas, knows the laws about my situation in California, and what they would do in my place. Also, what's the deal with my credit report? I remember it being 'iffy' when I got this current place three years ago, and I actually had to have my father co-sign (which he was obviously not happy about). However, this current place that rejected me does not allow that. How would I be able to find a place that would allow something such as that? Should I look for a place that isn't being rented out by a big leasing company? A roommate situation? How much time do I really have here?

Thanks in advance, and I apologize for any poor organization evident in this post. As you can tell, that's a problem elsewhere too ;)
posted by destructive cactus to Home & Garden (38 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Just tell the landlord you need to stay another week while you sort alternative accommodation?

So long as they believe you're going to move out in reasonable time they probably won't care all that much & if there's no-one else wanting to move in it's not as if you'll be causing anyone else much hassle.
posted by pharm at 1:36 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Does your lease actually expire on the 24th?

How would I be able to find a place that would allow something such as that? Should I look for a place that isn't being rented out by a big leasing company?

Yes, if your credit is bad, look for an independent landlord. They may still run a credit check, but they might be more willing to talk to you about any issues they find there.

Also, I had luck with a last minute sublet right off a college campus when I had to get out of my place fast last year. If you have any colleges or universities nearby, I'd check around there. You might be able to find a roommate situation there too (I did not want to live with college age roommates, but if I did I could have had my pick of about 10 different places).
posted by cabingirl at 1:41 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can overstay the lease and make the landlord evict you. This will buy you time, but you can be sued for any money the landlord has lost due to your overstay. So it's not optimal.

How much money to you have? Can you hire packers and movers to come to your house NOW and get going? I can recommend U Move Me, they were super for our move, but it's expensive. And you're over a barrel.

You can go to Marriott Residence Inn, or Motel 6. They accept animals and are fully furnished.

You'll be solving your problem with money. Lots and lots of money, so I hope you have some.

This situation is on the pathological side. Get help for this, there's nothing in your post that indicates that you didn't have adequate warning to get your shit together long before RIGHT THIS GODDAM MINUTE.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:42 PM on February 24, 2014 [37 favorites]

Best answer: If this is the sort of place that has a leasing office (as opposed to Some Guy's Apartment you're renting) I can almost guarantee your lease has specific provisions about what happens between you missing your move-out date and them starting an official eviction. Most likely, you'll be penalized some large amount per day you stay after your move-out date. It may or may not be cheaper than renting a motel room, but the amount they penalize you tends to be the incentive to get you to leave.
posted by griphus at 1:43 PM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would try a PODS type company and see if they can get something dropped off for you today. That way it's moving and storage in the same transaction. You can hire college/high school kids off of Craigslist for cheap if you can't handle the lifting and lugging, but you should get everything possible into boxes before they show up.

destructive cactus: Should I look for a place that isn't being rented out by a big leasing company? A roommate situation?

Yes and yes. Possibly an under-the-radar sublet situation, if possible, for now.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:43 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: Craigslist often has listings for small "two guys and a truck" type movers - that might be your least expensive option, and they might be slow enough in winter that they could get to you today/tonight. The delimiter on that would be the storage unit, and how quickly you could get access to one.
posted by kythuen at 1:44 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You could see if your city or neighboring city has a day laborer center (in my city, the day laborers also hang out at the local Home Depot looking for work) and hire a few guys and a U-Haul.

Also nthing professional help going forward. I'm a Grade A Procrastinator and your tale makes my misadventures in procrastination look like child's play.
posted by cecic at 1:52 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also, what's the deal with my credit report?

If you have been a good tenant the last three years (always paid rent on time, haven't caused any trouble) your current landlord may be willing to give you a good reference. Of course if you blow your move-out you also blow your chances at a reference, so it is doubly important that you get out on time.
posted by payoto at 1:59 PM on February 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Marks on your credit report tend to stay there for seven years.

La Quinta is another option for a hotel that accepts pets.

Look for a temporary roommate or sublet situation. Obviously this is not optimal, but it is less sub-optimal than being evicted.
posted by tckma at 2:17 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: Step 1: Look for a storage unit, any storage unit.
Step 2: Find help to move your stuff into said storage unit.
Step 4: Buy boxes.
Step 5: Find help to start packing. Packing will take much longer than you think.
Step 6: Find motel. Start with two nights. Sort out something else later.
Step 7: Toss clothes, toiletries and important papers into suitcases to take with you to a hotel.
Step 8: Pack rest of stuff and move.

There's a fairly decent chance that no one will notice that you're still there early tomorrow morning, so you could still be finishing up things then. But don't expect to get any sleep.
posted by kjs4 at 2:19 PM on February 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You also need to get copies of your credit reports from the three agencies. You can get one copy from each for free annually. That way you can explain whatever issues the next person that pulls your report sees and dispute anything that appears inaccurate.
posted by jshort at 2:28 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: I once stayed at an Extended Stay hotel (in CA) for several weeks, as I was inbetween sublets. They allow pets for an additional fee.

You could use TaskRabbit or something similar to find someone to help you move on very short notice.

I think, though, if talking to the landlord didn't help, you should get a UHaul truck first and foremost; that would be the temporary storage solution. Then concentrate on moving your stuff into the truck. Unfortunately you don't have the time to pack neatly, but you can just throw your stuff in there all night long. Try to throw out as much as you can, though. Once you've moved everything into the truck, you can concentrate on getting a temporary place to stay; maybe a hotel for a few days. Once you've squared that away, you can concentrate on getting a permanent place to stay. If you can't do it within 2-3 days, then think about moving your things into a storage unit and finding an extended stay place or a short term sublet.

Of course, this all costs money, spending that could have easily been avoided, but hopefully you can swing it.
posted by odin53 at 2:33 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: Just want to add that the reason I split up the items to concentrate on in the way that I did is because of your procrastination issue. If you're a big procrastinator, it'll be easier to be motivated to get stuff done if you break it up and triage discrete chunks by level of severity.
posted by odin53 at 2:37 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agreed on the U-Haul being a great quick solution. You can store everything in there, and you can sleep in there, for less than the daily cost of a hotel room (probably).
posted by lostburner at 2:50 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just noticed you say you "can't rent a u-haul." Are you sure? It really sounds like possibly your best and cheapest stopgap for this situation. Hopefully you're off Metafilter and busy executing a solution to your moving problem by now.
posted by lostburner at 2:52 PM on February 24, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great answers so far. I'm unfortunately at work, so can only do so much right now. Keeping my job is top priority. I do have a couple of friends who offered to help, and their help would probably be most available during this upcoming weekend.

I can't get a u-haul because I do not have an in-state driver's license (only what looks to be an expired out of state one, and that's a story for another time, or never, because how embarrassing). My plan is to definitely get professional help with this, especially after this particular incident. The events leading up to my current state would explain my current behavior a bit more, and I'm a pretty normal person, usually, I promise.

I can afford the PODS (plus a month of storage) and a week or two of Motel 6. If I can hold out at my current place until my friends can help me move, then that will work out. I'll take a look at the leasing agreement tonight while cleaning/organizing. Please, keep the advice coming if you can think of anything - and thanks again.
posted by destructive cactus at 3:08 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: You might be able to get someone on TaskRabbit to rent a truck for you with their license. Offer up some cash to see if you can get someone to rent the truck and then help you load it up tonight and into a storage unit tomorrow. Be prepared to pay generously for this.
posted by ohisee at 3:29 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Maybe you could mention what city you live in. If you were in my area, I'd offer to show up with my truck and a trailer, and throw your stuff in my business' warehouse till you figured things out. People here like to help.
posted by PSB at 3:49 PM on February 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Airbnb might be less expensive than a motel. You might find an airbnb'er who will give you an open-ended rental while you look for permanent digs. The cat might complicate things, but it's worth looking into (maybe you'll find a cat-friendly airbnb room in a house).
posted by nacho fries at 4:02 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: Seconding PSB. If you were nearby, I know I'd offer to help pack!
posted by pineappleheart at 4:43 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: If you can't manage to move everything out completely tonight, at least consolidate all your things in one room. This will show the landlord that you are serious about moving out and potentially allow him to start some of the renovations he is concerned about.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 4:49 PM on February 24, 2014 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I'd send the landlord a formal sounding email letting him know that your moving plans ran into a delay and you request the right to stay through the weekend at a per diem rate and that you'd be happy to allow painters to work around your stuff. Demonstrating good faith might help. The problem is that they probably have a lease that's poised to start 3/1, ie, Saturday. If that's the case, I can't see this weekend plan being an acceptable compromise in their view.

What's the reason for waiting for your friends? In the scale of money you're talking about, the cost of the "two guys with a truck" type service is not your biggest problem. Did you say what city you're in? I can give you the number to text Oakland Day Labor if that'd help.
posted by salvia at 5:03 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't blow your move-out date. It'll cost a lot and your landlord will be furious, which will just be more obstacles you have to deal with in a couple day's time.

Rent a unit at Public Storage or another self-storage company. <> First month is often free, the cost is maybe $200/mo after that.

Pick up big plastic bins at Target to use as moving/storage boxes. <>
Take tomorrow off. You have to, because you won't be able to go to work *and* move tomorrow. <>
Rent a room at a Motel 6 or arrange to couch surf at a friend's for tomorrow night. Drop your cat off there before you start moving. <>
If you're in an area where there's a lot of day labor (ie, SoCal), go down to Home Depot or the day laborer job site and pick up a couple guys with a pick up to help you move. Don't wait for your friends, it's not worth the price of blowing your move-out date and the fees you'll pay for that, and you'll need them to help you move your stuff out of storage in a couple months anyway. In LA, I'm used to a job like that costing $200. <>
If you can't get everything out and/or your stuff isn't great, list it on Craigslist. Price stuff at about 20-40% of what you paid. You can also ask your leasing office if the next tenants would like to buy any of your furniture (especially stuff that's hard to move, like a couch). <>
Go on Craigslist and look up sublets. The sublet needs to be at least a month or else you're going to wind up scrambling again. Two months might be ideal. Email as many sublets per day as possible (at least 3-5). <>
Once you're in a sublet, you can figure out the long term apartment issues.
posted by rue72 at 5:43 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: I can't get a u-haul because I do not have an in-state driver's license (only what looks to be an expired out of state one, and that's a story for another time, or never, because how embarrassing).

Look around for shady "Rent-a-fuck, because we don't give one" type places where the trucks are covered in dents and smoke out the tailpipe when you start them. In my city there's a place called "BOX SOLUTIONS" that is sort of a licensed budget rental lot, but also has their own trucks for way cheaper. Uhaul is a few bucks cheaper than them, and they usually steal your deposit(which is like.. $90 or something?) but they will rent to ANYONE. There the only vehicle rental place i've seen that will actually take freaking cash and a photocopy of your license.

Every city definitely has a place like this. I've even heard of pretty small towns having them, because everyone needs trucks for shit.

Unless you can find a REALLY good deal on craigslist, and the person has a properly giant truck renting a huge truck at a place like this and paying someone off craigslist to help you will be cheaper and more efficient. Really try and just blast it all out in one trip. Two trips sucks, and more than two becomes a deathmarch.

You can rent a unit at public storage as mentioned above same day. Go in, give them your card, they give you the keys. dont bother with PODS unless it's cheaper than a truck, really math it out. You'll still need someone to help you load it, and i'm 90% sure you'll end up getting the first month free at public storage.

I have done steps 1 and 2 of this in one day, in the space of a few hours and been moving things into the storage unit with the truck in like less than 90 minutes. Like, you rent the truck and drive it to the storage place kinda thing.

Notes on packing and other random thoughts:

* Grocery stores, and ESPECIALLY liquor/beer/wine stores will have unbelievable piles of boxes. Hospitals do to(oh god, you can't even imagine how many). Most of these places will give you free boxes!

* Dollar store packing tape is fine, but use clear tape. do NOT use duct tape or any other kind of stupid tape, it'll unfasten and your shit will go everywhere and you will cry because the entire day has been garbage and now all your books are on the sidewalk in the rain.(Ask me how i know!)

* One of my biggest regrets the several times i've done a hurry move was not just taking a BUNCH of the stuff to the goodwill/value village donation lot that i was meh on. Stuff that's sat on the shelf/in a box at your current place that you didn't even really think about or remember until you saw it while packing/moving it. Yea, it's depressing to drop your stuff off under these circumstances but trust me, it makes the rest of the process WAY smoother.

* Don't overstay! if you have crappy credit, a good reference from a past landlord is all you have going for you, especially in a rental market that is competitive in any way. I'm extra bitter about this because my crappy credit rating is partially from a past criminal landlord, but i learned the hard way that a reference is really what sells you.

Finally, Do you have any friends or family in town you can leave your cat with? not having a pet with you during the intermediate motel/floating around stage of this will make everything WAY WAY simpler and easier. Best case scenario is like, your parents take the cat for a few weeks until everything is sorted.

Because seriously, oh god, the worst part about the several times i've been in a situation like this has been having a fucking pet. The most recent time it happened(nearly identically! roommate flaking and studio falling through because credit and all) was like 1000x less stressful and awful and shitty just flying solo with nothing but my stuff.

Airbnb is a good suggestion, but honestly i'm cheap and i would stay at the cheapest motel that wasn't disgusting and would have me since it would likely be less. Living between places like this gets expensive REALLY fast when it comes to eating, and just generally doing normal life stuff when you don't have a base of operations to run your life out of and keep all your shit organized/cleaned/etc. You're going to end up eating out almost every meal, buying new toothpaste/supplies after you forget where you packed something critical, and all kinds of other stuff like driving around more than usual. If your profile location is current though, you at least live in a place substantial enough to have a solid amount of airbnb listings.

And still, even if you end up at an airbnb, i'm still saying trying to find a temporary home for the cat that's not with you if at all possible. Even though this has gone sour for me in the past, it's still 1000x better than schlepping the cat around with you. Just trust me on that one.
posted by emptythought at 6:24 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Finally, Do you have any friends or family in town you can leave your cat with? not having a pet with you during the intermediate motel/floating around stage of this will make everything WAY WAY simpler and easier. Best case scenario is like, your parents take the cat for a few weeks until everything is sorted.

Yeah, put out a "plz help" on Facebook or something for cat-boarding. Even if you don't have acquaintances/coworkers in town that you know well, a lot of people will step up for relative strangers when pets are involved.
posted by kagredon at 8:48 PM on February 24, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks again for all the answers. You guys are all great and very thoughtful. I was able to pick up a bunch of boxes from a friend and reserved a storage place nearby. My friend also offered to rent and drive a u-haul truck and he and another friend offered to help me move. I'll also get a weekly-rate room at Motel 6 as suggested, since they are fine with my cat. The cat unfortunately has stress issues already, as he was a rescue, can't stand to be apart from me for too long, and is already really stressed out right now. So, I don't think I'll be able to put him elsewhere. Also, my parents are four thousand miles away because I'm an idiot who thought he could travel across the country on his own.

My main concern is that I do not think this can be fully done before this weekend. I'm hoping to have everything done Saturday at the latest but I am wondering how much this is going to screw me further in terms of per diem fees and further knocks against my 'renter credit'. I'll do as suggested with the good will communication with the leasing office and hopefully let them renovate as I move out. If that doesn't work then I will probably just hire local movers; the rates aren't horrible.

For those asking what city I'm in; I'm in the South Bay Area, near San Jose.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:01 PM on February 24, 2014

Best answer: Crate your cat. You do not want a cat going missing during all this.

Also, put cat shot records in your purse as soon as you get home.

Protect the cat!

Good luck.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:19 AM on February 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Also, my parents are four thousand miles away because I'm an idiot who thought he could travel across the country on his own.

While I think you could have handled this particular situation far better than it seems you have, I hope this doesn't damage your ability to keep on travelling. One way or the other you're going to get past this, and once you do, I think this will make for a wonderfully ridiculous story someday! You're not an idiot, just someone whose sense of adventure developed at a more rapid pace than your sense of responsibility.

For now, though, given that you need to have moved out basically yesterday(!!), my biggest piece of advice would to give up on finding enough boxes at grocery stores, liquor stores, etc., and just bite the bullet and buy boxes at Home Depot or wherever. I used to be a die-hard box scavenger myself, but in our last move my wife and I eventually realized that the time saved by just buying boxes rather than scrounging a few here and there was too significant to pass up (plus the stackability of uniform-sized boxes was pretty awesome!). If you can hire someone to help you pack your stuff, by all means do that, too. Moving sucks under any circumstances; if you have money to throw at some of the lower-level problems that it causes, by all means, do so.

I hope you'll update once you've moved; surely I'm not the only one here curious as to how this all worked out. Good luck!
posted by DingoMutt at 10:42 AM on February 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Our movers told us that the boxes at Home Depot were CHEAPER than he could sell them to us for.

I had been going to a used box store around the corner from our house and while I got some neat Egg boxes, he was right, new boxes at Home Depot were cheaper than even the used box store.

Get a tape gun.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:15 AM on February 25, 2014

Response by poster: Just a quick update. I talked with the landlord today. They have demolition (again, the place is getting completely refurbished/renovated) scheduled for tomorrow, so I have to be out by end of day today. Otherwise, legal proceedings.

Now, the good news is that my car can fit a LOT of important stuff. Everything of value to me aside from bed/furniture can fit in there (in multiple trips of course). If I can either hire movers for the big stuff or get a uhaul (w/friend) TODAY/TONIGHT then I won't lose too much stuff, I hope. I will probably lose some stuff, though. Hopefully I'll learn my lesson.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:26 PM on February 25, 2014

Best answer: If you must, you could just leave your furniture on the curb and hope that the curb cruisers are not active tonight, then you can pick it up in the morning. You should wrap them up in furniture bags to keep moisture/bugs out. If you want to push your luck with your landlord, you might ask them if you can leave them in the backyard or some other out of the way outdoor location, if possible.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:18 PM on February 25, 2014

Best answer: Have you looked on Craigslist for the "two men with a van" thing? Seriously, there are dozens. I bet it'd take no more than 15 minutes and 5 phone calls to find someone. That would triple the speed of your moving.l
posted by salvia at 6:09 PM on February 25, 2014

Response by poster: Yep, thanks - I was able to do the 'two men and a van thing' and don't think it'll cost THAT much. I'm concerned that I won't be able to take everything (and leave some random stuff in the apartment) but it's better than legal action taken against me.
posted by destructive cactus at 6:14 PM on February 25, 2014

Best answer: On preview, never mind! But in case that crew backs out, here are South Bay searches for:


posted by salvia at 6:16 PM on February 25, 2014

Response by poster: Another quick update to anyone watching this - I've been checking out apartments on my lunch breaks and after work, and filling out applications left and right. I have no clue how my credit will look to them but I am not sure that asking about a cosigner at first is a good idea: I tried that with one property via email and they never replied.

In other news: motel life is pretty bad; I feel especially bad for my cat. Between this, and losing approx. 15-20% of my stuff (that I couldn't move out in time), and paying the previous property for removing it, and other various details: I think I'm definitely learning my lesson here.
posted by destructive cactus at 2:07 PM on February 28, 2014

Best answer: I think I'm definitely learning my lesson here.

While i'm sure you learned some valuable things, i really don't feel that you didn't anything moronic or objectively wrong here. You had a plan A and a plan B and they both failed. Sometimes you just get dealt a shit hand.

Don't let the armchair quarterbacks of your friends, online, or your own second guessing shit on you too much here. 2 of the 3 times i've ended up in a situation like this plans had been made, seemed to be fairly solid, and then just collapsed.

Whenever someone(or yourself) tries to give you shit for this, think about "OK, what could i really have done differently, realistically, having had no knowledge until it was too late that both of these plans would fail?".

Because a lot of criticism yourself or others will lump on you is purely staircase wit. And anyone can seem smart and on the ball analyzing a situation that already happened.
posted by emptythought at 6:52 PM on February 28, 2014 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks. I was fairly aware that I was going to get some "wow, get some professional help, because you're pretty fucked up!" posts, but I didn't wanna be that guy who pre-screened answers on his first AskMe. I figured it'd be easier to ignore them while actually scouring for details with regards to the immediate issue.

Thanks for all the thoughtful answers, everyone. I spent my first night in the new place last night, and so did my kitty. I had a few more nights pre-paid in the motel, but the cat was super scared of that place. So, I bought a sleeping bag and slept on the floor last night. Kitty was happy.

Money's tight, but once I'm able to get my furniture moved into the place we should both be more happy. I'm sad that I wasn't able to get everything from the old place, and sadder still that they're charging me to remove what was left, but whatever.

Thanks again for all the help. I'll mark this as solved.
posted by destructive cactus at 10:13 AM on March 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

Thanks for following up, it's good to hear that things are kind of working out for you. As another commenter said, this'll probably provide good story fodder down the line.
posted by lostburner at 10:02 PM on March 3, 2014

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