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Condo scene: Planning your best condo move


a man waiting for the elevator

When you move in to a condo building, there are lots of things to consider when accepting deliveries, large and small.

Moving is always a process, but perhaps more so when you are moving into a condo. There are a variety of unique things to consider when planning your condo move-in date. This column will tackle a few.

Booking the elevator

The first and most important thing to do is to book the move-in elevator. Depending on your building, there are different ways to arrange this. If you have a concierge, first inquire there. If not, find out how to from your property management firm. Some buildings offer residents the ability to book the elevator electronically, while others require you to do this in person or over the phone. Regardless, be aware that most condos are quite strict about accessing the elevator for moves.

Booking your elevator may seem like a simple thing. It gives you a specific time frame during which you will have exclusive access to the elevator rather than having to press the button, wait, and then find it full of people around whom you must manoeuver your furniture and boxes.

From the building’s perspective, this is useful as it holds residents accountable for any scratches or dents that might be the product of your move. Often, property management firms will require a deposit against damages incurred or require a COI (certificate of insurance) from the moving company before booking the move-in elevator. This ensures the moving company is held responsible for damage to common elements, including walls, door facings, elevator cabs and other areas along the route. Another reason buildings require elevator bookings is so they may prepare elevator cabs by padding them with quilted blankets.

But here is where the complications start. You have booked your elevator and perhaps your building only allows two-hour booking windows. Then, you receive a phone call from a furniture company telling you that your delivery window is 12 hours. Most furniture companies insist on large delivery windows and then program an automated phone call the evening before giving you a narrower time slot of four or five hours. But if someone else has already booked your move-in elevator during that time slot, you may have trouble.

Of course, if you receive a one-trip delivery (ex. one couch), the concierge may be able to accommodate you even if the elevator has been pre-booked. Another problem you might come across is that, even if the delivery company says they’ll come at a specific time, they may be delayed and arrive later. This can cause enormous stress both for you, who may have stayed home from work expressly for the delivery, and for the concierge. Such complications are much less likely when moving into a house.

Accepting the delivery

Residents might think the concierge can accept any delivery on their behalf. Although this is generally the case with small items, like a box of books or a vacuum cleaner purchased online, most concierges in larger developments will not sign for a significant item like a mattress that must be taken directly up to your unit. This necessitates your being home to sign for and accept such items upon their arrival.

When a delivery is delayed or must be rescheduled, it is not as simple as changing around your own schedule to be present (though, to be sure, that usually isn’t simple). In addition, you must rearrange your elevator booking to ensure access to the loading dock and the elevator. This will likely be more of a challenge during peak moving times, such as the end or beginning of each month, especially June and September.

Getting registered

Something to consider is that, even before you are permitted to book the elevator you must be registered as the tenant or owner. Typically, the way you become registered is by speaking with the project management firm, who will likely require you to e-mail them your accepted offer to purchase or signed lease (if you’re renting) and perhaps fill out a form with additional information. You will also need to do this to set up your buzzer so that once you’re moved in you can admit visitors and delivery persons.

Move in to-do list

1. Before The Move: Ensure you’re registered with the property management company (and concierge) as the owner or renter of your unit. You may even want to introduce yourself to your concierge to make your move friendlier. Do this before your scheduled move in date to ensure smooth sailing.

2. Before The Move: Book the move in elevator with as much advance notice as possible. Try to book at least a week in advance, but preferably before that.

3. Before The Move: If you are buying furniture, measure doorways before purchasing. While movers can do a lot, you will need to pay attention to door heights and widths. This is particularly relevant when purchasing patio furniture with large arms, as sliding glass doors give the impression they open wider than they actually do.

4. The Week of The Move: Check with the delivery companies or movers to ensure they have also scheduled your delivery for the same date. If not, you will be left scrambling to rebook the elevator and it may not be available. Coordinating multiple deliveries is a challenge, but can be done if you’re organized.

5. Ask Questions Before The Move: Find out if a Certificate of Insurance is required and what happens if a delivery occurs outside of your move in slot. The property management firm and concierge are your best resources here.

6. The Day of The Move: Speak with the concierge on duty at the time of the move to touch base. If they know you are moving and there are delays, they may be able to help. Keeping your concierge in the loop is a great way to help things go smoothly.

7. The Day of The Move: Keep toiletries, toilet paper and a week’s worth of clothing at the top of a specifically labeled box or in an overnight bag to ensure you are ready to balance your day-to-day life with your move.

8. After Move In: If you’ve purchased new furniture, inspect it for damages and report anything to the company from which you’ve purchased. Don’t wait to do this, or you may come up against return deadlines.

As long as you use your condo sense when scheduling your condo move, you should be okay, but don’t be surprised if you have to accommodate unexpected schedule changes.


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