Realty Bites

What happens if your movers cancel at the last minute?

By Virginia K. Smith  | March 22, 2017 - 3:59PM

I was scheduled to move last month on the same day as a major storm, and my movers ended up having to re-schedule at the last minute. Is this fairly common during bad weather? And what's usually the protocol?

If disaster (or the weather) strikes and your movers suddenly can't show up, what happens next will depend on a few different factors: the moving company itself, your current and future landlords, and the nature of your current and future leases.

First, there's the issue of replacing the movers outright: "There are a lot of variables that are affected by the cancellation," says Ruma Ferdous of Imperial Moving. "For instance, clients are worried about finding another mover, making sure they have proper insurance to work in the building, if their current landlords will allow them to stay for another day or if they will charge another month’s rent, etc." If your movers cancel completely and don't reschedule, says Ferdous, you should expect a full return on your deposit, and if they have to re-schedule, you're likely entitled to a discount.

Here's what happens if you're postponed: While you shouldn't expect any sort of discount on your first month's rent if you wind up moving in a day or two late, if there's any kind of logistical planning required for your move in (for example, coordinating with the building staff for use of the freight elevator), as a rule, management should be flexible.

"My understanding is that during the recent snow storm, there were some exceptions made," says Jordan Sachs, CEO of Bold New York, which manages thousands of rentals in the city. "If we had to change someone to a weekend move-in, we would do it that way. Buildings allowed people to get in when they needed to get in."

As far as getting out of your current apartment, check with your landlord ASAP to see whether there's someone slated to move in right away. But most likely, you'll have a couple of days of breathing room. "Some owners do same-day turnover between tenants, but most give themselves a couple of days to turn over the unit, and get it cleaned up," says Sachs. "I've never seen any instances where someone couldn't move out, and someone else was supposed to move in that day."

Ferdous concurs. "I've had clients worrying about having to pay extra if they don't move out on a certain day, but haven't seen anyone having to actually pay extra for staying in the apartment longer."

Bottom line: You'll want to stay in close communications with both landlords involved—and make sure that your new moving date is re-schedule ASAP—but by and large, if your move gets pushed back because of the weather, you're not likely to run into any problems beyond an extra day spent living out of boxes.


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