Plenty of services specialize in end-of-lease cleaning, and for some tenants they provide a viable option. Many others opt to do the job themselves. End-of-lease cleaning can be beneficial to you, and it’s not rocket science. You can do it.
A Good Reason to Take Back What’s Yours
Retrieving your security deposit or cleaning fee isn’t the sole reason to thoroughly clean your rented apartment or house when your lease has expired. In addition to receiving the money, your landlord likely will give you a glowing reference, which can be invaluable when you again rent, or even purchase a home.
Before You Begin
Refer to any documents or photos that record the condition of the space, and any appliances, before your residency. Also remember any conversations you may have had with the landlord. It’s ideal to have a friendly relationship with your landlord, though that’s not always how things turn out. Whatever the case, your job is easier when you know what the landlord expects of you as a tenant.
Make a Custom Checklist
If you live in a small apartment, you might not be eager to wade through an end-of-lease cleaning checklist geared toward those who rent a larger home. On the other hand, a list that’s reasonable for the renter of a small apartment may not prove adequate for others. So it’s best to create a checklist based on your rental space. This may take only a few seconds of thought, but any project goes more smoothly if you have a plan. Don’t forget:
. Dust as needed, paying attention to cobwebs and dead bugs; remember the ceiling fixtures.
. Clean the windows, including the sills; wash any stains on the walls, paying attention to light switches and outlets.
. Scrub the sinks and toilet.
. Clean inside and behind the refrigerator, and any large appliances.
. Remove nails or screws from the walls and ceiling; properly fill the holes with putty
. Sweep or vacuum the floor; remove any stains.
An Ounce of Prevention
Now that your lease is up, it’s time to move into another apartment or house. Seize this opportunity to make a fresh start. Schedule a walk-through with your new landlord. Discuss their expectations of you, and document them in writing. A simple digital camera is perfect for recording any existing damages. Finally, resolve to take care of messes as they happen and immediately report needed repairs to your landlord.