Tenant Cleaning Responsibilities – How to Get Your Deposit Back
Let’s face it, moving out is a really stressful experience. Not only do you have to set up everything to relocate into your new home, but you also want to ensure you get your deposit back from your landlord.
And the only way to ensure that is to deep clean your old home.
So, let’s learn more about your cleaning responsibilities at the end of your tenancy to ensure you get your money back.
Every area of the house
It’s always best to do some kind of general cleaning in each room before you proceed with deep cleaning. You also want to do this work in stages to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer task of having to clean everything at once.
Before you proceed, re-read your lease to remind yourself of everything that’s expected of you before moving out. That way, you will ensure that you don’t forget something accidentally.
Once that’s out of the way, you can start cleaning from top to bottom. Vacuum everywhere and remove any carpet stains. If you can’t remove those and, on top of that, the carpet looks dingy, it’s best to have it professionally cleaned. Some landlords also specify in the lease whether they want professional end of tenancy cleaning performed before you move out.
While you’re at the general cleaning stage, make sure you also:
- Clean the windows;
- Remove all nails from the walls and patch the holes;
- Dust ceiling fixtures, fans, ledges and baseboards;
- Empty out and clean all cupboards and cabinets;
- Wipe down doors and knobs;
- Remove any cobwebs.
It’s also sound advice to set some time for last-minute cleaning. After all, there are a few things that must be cleaned right before you go. Allotting time for that will ensure you miss nothing, and you will get your deposit back.
Bathrooms are one of the areas in your home where a deep cleaning can make the most difference. As that area is also prone to mould, removing any traces of it is important so you can get your deposit back.
The main things that need to be cleaned are the shower, the bathtub, the walls, the sink, and, of course, the toilet. If you’ve done that regularly, then this shouldn’t take too long.
Here’s a quick list of everything you need to do:
- Clean the bathroom tiles and bleach the grout;
- Ensure your bathroom drawers are completely empty;
- Vacuum the outside of the exhaust fan if it’s dusty;
- Remove soap scum off tiles;
- Clean the bathroom mirror spotless;
- Consider replacing the toilet seat if it’s unsavoury-looking.
The kitchen is the other room where a deep cleaning can make the most difference. If the area is sparkling clean, that can set the tone for the rest of the inspection, as it is one of the first places that gets inspected. Clean countertops and appliances, as well as a fresh-smelling aroma, will surely make an excellent impression.
Here’s a list of the things you need to cover:
- Scrub the sink and clean any mineral deposits off of the faucet;
- Degrease and clean the kitchen walls
- Clean the fridge both from the outside and from the inside;
- Don’t forget to defrost the freezer;
- Clean the dishwasher (and ensure there are no food particles or standing water on the bottom).
Leaving a dirty oven behind is another excuse for your landlord to deduct from your security deposit.
To clean your oven:
- Open the door and vacuum it from the inside;
- Apply white vinegar and soda paste on the interior and leave it to sit overnight. On the next morning, you will have a much easier time cleaning all the burnt-up grease and grime away;
- To easily wash the racks, soak them in the bathroom overnight before cleaning them;
- If the oven is too dirty, you must hire professional oven cleaners to ensure you get your deposit back.
Bedrooms should be an easy task compared to the bathroom and kitchen, where most of the cleaning effort is usually spent. The room must be vacuumed and swept, after which you can mop the floor. Don’t also forget to clean the windows and dust the blinds.
Living and common areas
You must also clean the common and living areas to ensure you get your deposit back. This includes entryways, stairs and hallways as well.
Pay particular attention to high-traffic areas, especially if they weren’t cleaned regularly.
Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to do:
- Dust all surfaces;
- Vacuum all carpets and area rugs;
- Clean the mirrors;
- Vacuum and mop the hard surface floors;
- Clean doors, doorknobs, and doorframes;
- Clean closet fronts and insides;
- Don’t forget to dispose of any garbage.
Many people tend to forget the outdoors before moving out, which can cost them their security deposit. To ensure that doesn’t happen, make a checklist with everything that needs to be done to make things look as neat as possible.
Here’s a quick guide to what to focus on:
- Sweep the area outside your front door and remove any visible cobwebs;
- Remove any weeds and then mow the lawn;
- Check whether any pests have made nests in the area and inform the landlord if that’s the case;
- The shed and the garage must be completely empty and swept.
Repair any damages
On your pre-move-out walkthrough, you and your landlord will review everything they think needs to be fixed during the last month. To save money, easier issues can be resolved by you, while more complicated problems are best left to professionals.
It’s also important to know your rights. This means specifically asking to get your deposit back from your landlord.
As no property comes in perfect condition, it’s important to have taken pictures and videos that have documented any pre-existing damages before moving in. That way, you can avoid paying the bill for something that wasn’t your fault.
Don’t forget to document everything as well before you move out, just to be on the safe side.
Following all these steps, you’ve left your former home repaired and spotless. You are now ready to move into your new one, knowing that most certainly you will also get your security deposit fully refunded.
And don’t forget to celebrate when you do!