As anyone who has ever rented a property will tell you, putting a deposit down on a new property can be an expensive necessity of the moving process. What’s even more painful however is not getting any of that deposit back when you eventually move out. It seems as though land lords will find any excuse in every nook and cranny to take your deposit away from you. Pristine Home have created a complete checklist to make sure your property is fully prepared for your final inspection so you have the best chance of getting your money back.
Make a list before you start
It’s best to make a list of everything that needs doing before you start, that way you’ve got a better chance of cleaning every part of your property. We’ve placed some boxes in this checklist so you can print this off and tick as you go. Alternatively, write down all the tips we list and cross them off as you go.
Tackle big problems well in advance
If, during your tenancy, you’ve managed to cause some damage, schedule to repair the problem well in advance of your moving out date. This will mean you don’t rush the job and end up with it being finished poorly. Tasks such as repainting walls or returfing a patch of grass may seem like a chore now, but your landlord can easily charge you excessive amounts for these types of repairs.
The following tips are applicable for all rooms within the property and not specific to one area, often these are small tasks which are easy to forget about… and easy to be charged for.
- Remove the nails
If you’ve hung up any paintings or decorations during your stay, make sure you remove the nails and carefully go over the hole with putty to ensure that there are no visible marks left on the wall. A landlord can easily charge you in order to fix any blemishes in a wall.
- Dust, Dust, Dust!
One of the easiest and most common charges landlord make is for “dusting”. For wiping away even the smallest amount of dust, landlords can seemingly make up any amount for this service. Make sure you thoroughly go over every possible surface so it’s free from even the smallest amounts of dust – remember to dust any ledges, ceiling fixtures, the top of wardrobes, fridges etc.
- Replace any broken light bulbs
It’s a quick and easy process to change a broken light bulb. You can pop down to any home ware store and pick up a light bulb very cheaply. If you leave it to your land lord to change, they could charge for the bulb and the time to replace it!
- Take all rubbish and personal belongings with you
If your land lord has to throw anything out, this is a task which is chargeable. To avoid this unnecessary charge, chuck away any bin bags yourself. If you’re thinking of leaving anything you’ve bought during your stay, such as pots & pans, it’s recommended that you give them to a charity shop or another good home so your landlord doesn’t have to remove them.
- Clean the windows
If your landlord is picky, they could charge you for window cleaning services, so it’s for the best that you make a go of it yourself. However, it’s important that you don’t use tap water as the minerals on the water can cause “spotting” when the water evaporates. Instead, use de-ionised water, which will take the dirt with it when it evaporates. You can pick de-ionised water up from most supermarkets.
- Wipe down all doors and door knobs
- Clean out the cupboards
Before you leave, make sure you take the time to clean out all cupboards and drawers so they’re completely empty. Even if your landlord has to dispose of something small, you can be charged for it. One they’re empty, make sure you wipe down the shelves and other surfaces within the cupboard.
- Clean the Kitchen Surfaces
You not only need to clean inside the cupboard, but outside too. Give the cupboard doors a clean; dirt can often build up around the door handles. This also goes for the kitchen & freezer doors.
- Disinfect the Kitchen Worktops
Remove all stains and dirt from the kitchen worktops. Even if there aren’t any visible stains or dirt on the worktops, be sure to give them a going over just to be sure.
- Give the fridge a good scrub
During your stay, it’s possible that your fridge has built up a bit of dirt from the food which has been stored. Upon leaving, your fridge looks as clean as possible. A landlord will want the fridge to be immaculate, as it’s an area where hygiene is super important. You should spend a bit of time on cleaning the fridge so there’s nothing to fault.
- Clean the oven
This is probably going to be the worst task of all, especially if you’ve left your oven to fester without any TLC during your tenancy. Before tackling the oven, you’ll need a few items to help you:
- A quality oven cleaner – for example, you can purchase Oven Pride from any supermarket relatively cheaply.
- A resalable bag – this will come with the cleaning set from Oven Pride.
- Rubber Gloves
The first step of oven cleaning is to remove the oven shelves and place them individually into the resalable bags. Distribute approximately half of the oven cleaner into the bags and set them to one side. Use the remaining oven cleaner to begin cleaning inside the oven. Pour whatever you have left inside the oven and begin scrubbing the cleaner around the oven door and floor. Ensure you’re wearing your rubber gloves while doing this. To ensure all dirt is removed, it’s recommended to leave the cleaner overnight or at least for a few hours. After you’ve let the oven cleaner work its making, sponge away the cleaner from all surfaces and remove the shelves from the plastic bags. Give the shelves a quick sponge clean, dry the oven, pop the shelves it… now you have a clean oven.
- Mop the floor
Just before you leave, give the floor a mop to remove all surface dirt and grime. If you have tiled flooring in your bathroom, make the extra effort of bleaching the grout in between the tiles.
- Sweep behind appliances
During a thorough inspection, your land lord may pull out the kitchen appliances and check behind them for dirt. This is probably one of the most neglected cleaning areas during a tenancy, but it should be put in order before leaving. If you decide to leave it, you could get lucky if your landlord doesn’t check, but if they do, it’s going to be a hit on your deposit.
- Get the mop out again
Like in the kitchen, you’ll have to make sure the floor is properly cleaned. It’s likely that you’ll have tiled floor in the bathroom, if so, you’ll need to bleach the grout (the white bits in between the tiles) to make sure they’re as clean as possible.
- Clean the Toilet
You should not only bleach the inside of the toilet, but you should also make sure there are no stains anywhere around the toilet seat or on any of the toilet surfaces.
- Don’t forget about the wall tiles
Grime can often build up on your wall tiles, especially if they’re in an enclosed shower. Over time, mould can often build up in the grout due to damp and moisture from the shower. The mould can be removed with relative ease by using most bathroom cleaning products.
- Clean all surfaces
It’s common for water marks to appear on glass surfaces, such as a mirror or shower enclosure. Removing these water stains should be a quick and simple process. Take care of the countertop and sink surfaces too; even the smallest stains such as toothpaste marks are chargeable.
- Remove all bedding
You should leave your bed as you found it; probably with just a mattress. Take your bedding with you when you’re moving out. To give your bed a thorough clean, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner.
- Hoover the floor and remove any carpet stains
If your floor is in good condition at the end of your tenancy, give it a clean with a vacuum cleaner before leaving, ensuring you pick up as much dirt as possible. Don’t forget about the skirting boards too, giving them a quick wipe over will make a bit difference.
- Remove any dust and clean anything which is staying
It’s easy to forget about the areas you don’t directly see during your stay. You should also clean any lampshades, lights, mirrors, picture frames, light switches which belong to your land lord. Give the wardrobe a clean inside and out too.
If the property you’re currently renting has a garden, it’s a good idea to leave it in a good condition before leaving. While it’s not expected that your garden should look immaculate, it’s suggested that you should leave looking like how you found it. Here are some quick ideas on how to tidy up your garden.
- Cut the grass and trim the edges
- Remove all personal belongings and discard of them accordingly
After the cleaning is finished
- Take as many photos as possible
Once you’ve finished all of your scrubbing and brushing, make sure you take photos of everything. Then, if your landlord decides to charge you for something which was left in a good state, you have evidence to argue against the bill.
- Return your keys on time
If your landlord has set a date for you to return your keys, make sure you hand them over before this date. If you return them at a later date, you could well be charged for doing so. This charge will usually be taken out of your deposit.
- Do a final meter reading
By doing a final meter reading, you can be sure that you won’t be charged more than you should be for electricity after you’ve moved out.
Be present during the final inspection
It could be a good idea to ask your land lord when they’ll be completing a final inspection, and if you can make it, ask to be there too. That way, you’ll be able to see exactly what they inspect and discuss any possible problems in person.