Moving

Find resources to help you when you're moving.

Avoid Moving Fraud

While most moving companies are reputable businesses that do quality work, there are some that attempt to take advantage of clients through fraudulent practices. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself against moving fraud:

  • Get a written estimate from several movers. Some companies quote a low price to get a contract--and later ask for more money before they remove your belongings from their truck.
  • Make sure the mover has insurance and is licensed by the proper authority.
  • Check the mover's record. You can find out the mover's complaint history with local consumer advocacy organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau.

File a Complaint

  • If you have a dispute with a moving company, you should file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Note: Moving company complaints handled by the FMCSA must cross state lines, but can be reported at any time.
  • If you have a complaint involving an intrastate move (a move within the boundaries of a state), contact your state or local regulatory authority.

Further Information

  • Protect Your Move can help you make informed decisions when hiring a mover to protect yourself against moving fraud.

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Change Your Address

Are you moving? Report your change of address to continue receiving mail and government benefits.

Change Your Address with the Post Office

You can also ask the USPS to temporarily change your address or hold your mail.

Change Your Address with Other Government Agencies

Other federal and state agencies to contact when changing your address include:

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Landlord and Tenant Disputes

If you are someone who pays to rent a home or an apartment (a tenant), you may at some point have a dispute with the person who owns the building or management company that represents the owner (the landlord).  Often disputes are about the conditions of the building, essential services, rent increases, or your right to stay.  It is best to come to an agreement directly with the landlord or manager.  Make sure that you get everything in writing. If a landlord and tenant cannot come to an agreement, a tenant might turn to outside help.

Getting Help for a Dispute with a Landlord

Laws about the rights of tenants and landlords are almost always handled at the state level.  Find help from your state in a directory of state-level agencies and resources of interest to tenants. Results differ for each state, but you may find:

  • State agencies that address tenant rights
  • Agencies that handle complaints
  • Resources for legal assistance.

You may eventually decide that you need help from a lawyer. People with very low-income might qualify for free legal aid from a non-profit organization.

Complaints about housing discrimination or landlords who receive assistance from the federal government should be directed to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Before There's a Problem

Of course, it's best to avoid a dispute in the first place if possible.

  • Understand your lease completely.
  • Keep all correspondence between you and your landlord.
  • Communicate problems early on and in writing.
  • Keep proof of rent and deposits paid.
  • Know the landlord-tenant laws in your state.

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Utility Services

When moving into a house or an apartment, you may have to pay for utility services like gas, electricity or water. You can apply for these services on the phone, online, or in person. 

Starting Utility Services

Your city or county government may handle some utility services like water, sewage, and garbage collection. In many states, you can choose your telephone and energy service providers. Contact your state utility commission for a list of service providers and advice on making a choice.

  • Letter of guarantee: If you are a new utility customer or have a poor payment history, the utility company may require you to pay a deposit or get a letter from someone who agrees to pay your bill if you don’t. 

Switching Utility Providers

Your state's public utilities company may allow you to "unbundle" your electric (or gas) service, so you can purchase the utilities from one company and the delivery of them from another. For more information on switching utility providers, contact your state's public utilities commission.

Billing

Once you have established service, you should start receiving your bills at regular intervals, usually monthly or quarterly. Utility bills are based on the amount of energy or water you actually use. However, if you live in an apartment complex, the amount you pay for some utilities may be prorated or split.

To Lower Your Utility Costs:

File a Complaint

If your utility company fails to meet its service requirements, you should first file a complaint with the company. If that does not work, contact your state's utility commission.

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