Moving In

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Perform inspection

Before moving anything into your new unit, it's wise to perform a thorough inspection of the unit. While performing the inspection, you may request the property manager to be present, in order to settle any discrepancies between the stated condition and the actual condition of the unit. It's wise to document any damages or needed repairs on a “move in inspection form,” which is typically provided by the landlord. If the landlord does not provide a form, please click here to download one for yourself.


Upon completion of a move in inspection form, make copies of the form you completed, and make sure you keep a copy of the form and the landlord receives a copy. This form will then be used when you move out, in order to assess any damages that occurred throughout the duration of your lease. In order to save yourself from paying for damages that existed before you moved in, be precise when you fill out the form. It may also be valuable to take pictures or video of the unit, as a means to better detail the condition of the unit upon arrival.


Activate utilities

In order to start utility services with the City of Ames, use this form, start service, if you will be a new customer of the Ames Municipal Utilities, or if you are a current customer wanting to establish an additional service in your name. Use the transfer service form if you currently have an account in your name with the Ames Municipal Utilities and want to stop service at your present address and start service at another address served by Ames Municipal Utilities.

Please submit your start service request to the Ames Municipal Utilities at least one working day prior to the date you want your service started in your name. A $25 same day service charge may be billed to your account if your start service request is not received at least one working day prior to the date you want service started in your name. Working days are Monday through Friday, except holidays. Start service requests received after 4:30 p.m. will be considered as being received on the next working day.

A security deposit equal to the highest bill for one month during the previous twelve months is required to establish service. This requirement will be waived if:
  • You obtain and provide an acceptable credit reference from another utility; you may mail your credit reference to Ames Municipal Utilities P.O. Box 811 Ames, IA 50010-0811 or you may fax it to: 515 239-5286, or
  • Within the past 24 months, you have had service in your name for at least nine consecutive months and have an acceptable credit history with Ames Municipal Utilities.

An acceptable credit reference will show that you had utility service in your name for at least nine consecutive months during the past 24 months. It will also show that you paid your bills on time each month while the service was in your name. The credit reference must be received within two weeks of submitting your application in order for the deposit to be waived.

To complete the start service form, you will need the following information:
  • Your date of birth and your social security number. If married, you will need the same information for your spouse. If you do not have a social security number or do not wish to provide your social security number, then you will need to go to the Utility Customer Service office at 515 Clark Avenue and complete an application for service and present a photo identification.
  • The date you want service to begin. The Ames Municipal Utilities may change your requested date by up to two work days to coincide with an existing request.
  • Your service address, including apartment, lot, or unit number.
  • Your landlord’s name.
  • The name, address, and telephone number of someone to contact in case of an emergency.
Purchase renter’s insurance

Renter’s insurance is similar to homeowner’s insurance, but renter’s insurance only covers your belongings, not the whole building. Some landlords may require you to obtain renter’s insurance, but it’s suggested that all renters obtain insurance in order to protect themselves. You can expect to spend $100-$250 per year on renter’s insurance, but you may find cheaper prices if you bundle your renter’s insurance with your automobile insurance. To access more information about renter's insurance, please visit "Insure U," a non-biased resource provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Before trying to obtain renter’s insurance, it’s suggested that you take inventory of your personal belongings in your unit. Insurable items range from jewelry, electronics, textbooks, clothing and furniture. Knowing the price and condition of the item is important information to document, along with taking photos and video for further documentation. According to the Iowa Insurance Division, listed below are nine steps to complete your inventory.
  1. Make a list of possessions, including ‘celebration’ purchases such as jewelry and fine art.
  2. Think about family heirlooms, collections, and furniture. Also consider items related to everyday leisure time, from flat-screen televisions to custom guitars.
  3. Take note of commonplace items such as toys, electronics, and clothing. And do not forget items you may only use occasionally, such as holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.
  4. Attach copies of original sales receipts and/or appraisal documents to your inventory. Be sure to note model and serial numbers.
  5. Group your possessions into logical categories, i.e., by hobby, by room in your home.
  6. Carefully photograph or videotape each item and document a brief description including age, purchase price, and estimated current value.
  7. Remember to open drawers and closets to document what’s inside.
  8. Store your inventory and related documents in a safe, easily accessible place, such as a secured site/file online, a fire-proof box, or in a safe deposit box. You may want to share a copy with your insurance provider, so they can make necessary updates to your coverage.
  9. Review and update your inventory annually and whenever you make a significant purchase.