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Moving out of a rental and into a new home is a huge task to feat. You need to accomplish many things before your final day. We review everything you need to do before you move for a smooth transition.




1. Review Your Lease Agreement

Make sure to review your lease agreement. This agreement outlines everything that needs to be done to move out of the rental on good terms. Here are some key points to check for a smooth transition.


Key Points to Check:

      • Check the notice period your landlord requires before moving out of your rental. In most situations, this requirement is 30 days.
      • Specific cleaning requirements are sometimes a factor.
      • Understand what constitutes normal wear and tear compared to property damage.
      • Understand the policies in place to return your keys to the landlord.




2. Provide Written Notice

Once you have reviewed your lease, check for the required move-out notice time. Next, write your landlord or property manager a written notice of your intent. This notice should include:

      • Your name and address
      • The date you intend to vacate
      • Your new address for forwarding purposes




3. Schedule a Pre-Move-Out Inspection

Many landlords offer and sometimes require a pre-move-out inspection. This is helpful to you as the tenant to address any issues before the final inspection. This can save you time and money for both you and your landlord, offering a smooth transition.


Tips for a Successful Inspection:

      • Make sure to attend the inspection. Being present allows you to address any concerns in real-time.
      • Document any issues and recommendations for repairing them.
      • Address any repair and cleaning issues identified in the inspection.




4. Deep Clean the Property

Many people overlook the final cleaning of their rental. A deep cleaning can help ensure you receive your security deposit back. Follow this cleaning checklist for a quick move-out guide.


Cleaning Checklist:

          • Clean oven/stove
          • Clean countertops
          • Clean sinks
          • Clean cabinets
          • Scrub tiles
          • Scrub sink
          • Scrub toilet
          • Scrub bathtub
          • Clean mirrors
Living Spaces
          • Dust shelves, ledges, and fans
          • Vacuum carpets
          • Mop floors
          • Clean windows
          • Clean out closets
          • Dust shelves
          • Vacuum
Outdoor Areas
          • Mow the lawn
          • Weed the garden
          • Tidy outdoor spaces

You may also consider hiring a professional cleaning service to assist you with the rental cleaning. This ensures that all aspects of the final cleaning are complete.




5. Repair Any Damage

Address any damage to your rental discussed in the pre-move-out inspection. Also, repair damages that go beyond normal wear and tear. These might include:

      • Filling nail or screw holes in the walls.
      • Ensuring all appliances are functioning properly.
      • Replacing broken light bulbs.

Document all repairs and keep receipts for any materials or services purchased.




6. Document the Property’s Condition

Before returning the keys to your landlord, make sure to take pictures of the property’s condition upon move-out. This can help you dispute claims of damage after you move.


How to Document:

      • Take photos of each room, focusing on damage and areas of concern.
      • Create a checklist of the condition of major appliances, flooring, and room repairs needed.




7. Return Keys and Obtain a Move-Out Receipt

On your move-out day, return all keys, garage door openers, and any other property items to your landlord. Ask for a move-out receipt to have proof of the return date.




8. Settle Outstanding Bills and Redirect Mail

Ensure you pay all outstanding utility bills. Also, remember to discontinue or transfer services to your new address. Redirect your mail through the postal service to avoid lost mail.


Utilities to Consider:

      • Electricity
      • Gas
      • Water
      • Internet and Cable
      • Trash Collection




9. Communicate with Your Landlord

Make sure to keep clear communication with your landlord through the process. This will help hurdle potential issues and allow a smooth transition.




10. Follow Up on Your Security Deposit

In Iowa, landlords have 30 days from the time the tenant turns in the keys and provides a forwarding mailing address. Be sure to provide your landlord with your new address for this reason. If the landlord needs to make deductions, they must provide you with an itemized list of the problems.


Steps to Take:

      • Make sure to wait the full 30 days for your deposit return.
      • If you have not received your deposit within 30 days, reach out to your landlord.
      • Dispute any unfair deductions you disagree with. Make sure to provide the documentation and pictures from your move-out.


Moving out of your rental is a new venture, but with the right preparation, your exit should be stress-free. Follow our 10 steps for an easy transition to your new home. Always make sure to keep an open line of communication with your landlord. Review your lease for move-out procedures, clean and repair your rental, and return your keys.