Moving Out Cleaning Tips to Get Your Deposit Back
If you ever have any hope of getting your security deposit back when you decide to move out of an apartment, you have to make sure that the apartment is as it was when you got it.
Many people think that landlords just do not like to return security deposits. The truth is landlords don’t like to take money out of their own pockets to fix what you broke. If they find they need to clean up after you, they would very much rather use your money to do it. So, it goes to show that if you do a good job of returning the apartment to the way it was provided to you, then there will be no fuss to get your deposit back.
That being said, the move out process should be all about getting ALL your things out of the space and cleaning, cleaning and cleaning some more. Below we will list some tips to help you get your deposit back. Before you start, get the original lease you signed and read through it to make sure you are aware of the responsibilities you have with regards to moving out. Each lease will have a section dedicated to this. If you are signing a lease and it does not, ask for it to be added so as to prevent any later confusion.
Then it’s time to get to cleaning.
1. Clean the kitchen from top to bottom
Let’s start with the kitchen appliances. This is often one of the first places landlords look when they try to gauge just how clean the house actually is. Therefore, clean the oven the fridge the microwave the dishwasher and dish drainer. Get some lime scale cleaners and scrub that stainless steel back to its former luster.
Then clean the windows and walls over the stoves which have a tendency of getting dirty while you cook. The last thing you want your landlord to tell you is that he needs to repaper the kitchen because of the mess you made.
2. Do not leave anything behind.
There has been some debate surrounding whether it is common courtesy to leave a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, some light bulbs around or to just leave the apartment bare. We say, go the safe route and get rid of it all. No matter how helpful you think it would be to leave a couple bottles of cleaning products, extra pots and some brooms, take them all with you. If you don’t, you might find a chunk of your deposit gone as your landlord will tell you he had to pay to have them removed.
3. Paint and Spackle
This is where you fill all the holes you made in the wall to hang your lovely pictures and paintings. You can use a standard caulk and sand the clear the surface, then touch it up with some paint. Now, most of us are amateurs at this stuff and there is no need to hire professionals, but keep in mind that when you are repainting, the paint needs to be in the same color and tone of the one already on the wall. If not you could find yourself being told that you did a tacky job and your deposit will be used to repaint the interior.
Another important thing to focus on is the floor, especially if you have hardwood floors. There is no way to avoid the regular wear and tear that floors will experience from you occupying the apartment; however, be mindful of the fact that when moving furniture about in the apartment, you could have caused excess damage to the floor. In the case of hardwood floors, all you need to rectify this is a small tin of floorboard varnish from your local hardware store. It is quite in expensive and will eliminate the possibility of your landlord saying he needs to have his floorboards redone.
4. Clean your bathroom from top to bottom
A mixture of bleach, lime scale scrubs and disinfectant should be used to scrub your bath and your shower properly. Use a small toothbrush and some bleach to clean between the grout of the tile. Ensure to clean the mirrors, windows, and vanity and medicine cabinets. Another big issue reported by many landlords is that hair is always left around the side of the drains and they have to get someone to come in and clean it up.
Clean the toilets and countertops thoroughly as well, and make sure to give that floor a good mopping.
It goes without saying that if you broke or cracked anything in the bathroom then you need to repair or replace it. If you cannot afford to then know your deposit will be used to do so.
5. Cleaning the living room and bedroom areas
Contrary to the kitchen that has a myriad of hardware and appliance, bedrooms and living room spaces are most empty with hardwood floors, tiles or carpets. Nevertheless, you still have a few things to do here.
- Use cleaning solutions to clean down your ceiling fan and floorboards. These areas will collect dust overtime, and we often overlook them in day to day cleaning because they are out of sight. Get a clean broom and sweep along the corners for cobwebs as well.
- If you have a carpet you will need to remove the stains made from the time frame that you occupied the space. This will remove the chance of your landlord saying he needs to hire a professional floor cleaner to do the job. You can invest in a carpet steam cleaner which is rather inexpensive and easy to operate, and just like that you would have gotten the job done.
The bottom line is that it is not very difficult to get your deposit back; you simply need to ensure you leave the apartment in good shape. Then ensure you are present for the final walk through with your lease in hand, ready to defend your rights as a past tenant if needs be.