There seems to be a lot of confusion online about what expectations are when someone is moving out of a rental home. We want to help save you money at move-out by providing these tips for passing a move-out inspection without incurring extra fees. Did we miss any tips? Let us know!
1. If you’re doing DIY cleaning, do it thoroughly (This is one time when hiring a professional might be a good idea)
Doing your move-out cleaning yourself is a great way to save money, but there are pros and cons here like with anything else. Having a professional cleaning company perform the service not only takes some of the stress of moving off of your shoulders, but also enables you to obtain a letter from the company that may come in handy if you run into a dispute with your landlord. Still, if you choose to do the job yourself, it’s even more important you are very thorough and take photos when you’re finished so you have documentation. One major tip if cleaning yourself? Remember to do the floors last, or you’ll have to do them twice.
2. Clean cupboards, around handles, appliances, etc.
I was putting some groceries away the other day when I noticed some light discoloration around the cabinet knob. It wiped away immediately, but we forget that the cupboard-pulls get dirty over time as we are cooking. We may have a little flour or seasoning on our hands when we open that cupboard for the next ingredient, so it’s a good idea to do a special cleaning around all handles and doorknobs in your apartment, and wipe down the cupboards and doors themselves at the same time. This also applies to your fixtures including taps, which you want to leave in the best possible condition. Once you’ve emptied your cupboards, remember to wipe down the shelves to ensure you’re leaving them like new.
3. Patch those holes, even just nails
Once you’ve packed away your photos and other things you’ve had hung on your walls, it’s time to remove the nails or pins and thoroughly check each wall in your suite for holes or related damage. A quick Google search will turn up many instructional videos on how to perform these easy and minor repairs. Doing so correctly will ensure your move-out bill is lower, and your landlord is happy!
4. Baseboards, corners, and crevices
Baseboards, corners, and crevices are easy spots to miss, but important to clean nonetheless. Start with the baseboards and the corners, then move on to the crevices. A vacuum wand may be required to help clear things out for tricky spots. As mentioned previously, it’s important to do this cleaning before you clean your floors, as this will kick up some dust and dirt. This is also a good time to wash the walls, ensuring the cleaner you use is paint-safe and won’t cause any issues.
5. Use the right product for the job
As we mentioned regarding washing your walls, it’s important to use the right cleaner for the right job and to ensure the cleaner is safe by testing it on a small patch before deploying it throughout the space. This is pretty straightforward: for example, ensure you use oven cleaner and not Pine-Sol to clean your oven, this will avoid damaging an appliance you could end up paying a lot for. Don’t mix your cleaners, and ensure your area is well-ventilated while using the chemicals.
6. Repaint and repair
If you’ve made your apartment your own by painting some walls, now is the time to talk to your landlord and work with them to get the unit returned to the color and condition in which you received it. Ideally, you will have spoken to your landlord before having painted the wall, but either way, you will need to speak to the landlord to get the proper type of paint to ensure an exact match. Try for “close enough” or “good enough” and you will find that you’re on the hook for that bill anyway. Most landlords will appreciate your honesty and willingness to return the unit as you received it, so this should be painless.
7. Carpet Stains
If you have stained your carpet during your time in the rental, you will be billed for its cleaning or replacement. By dealing with it yourself, either by hiring a carpet cleaner or by trying to do it yourself with rented equipment, you may be able to avoid significant fees. For instance, if the landlord or their employee determines the carpet stain isn’t worth trying to fix, you could be on the hook for a full carpet replacement. By dealing with the problem yourself, you eliminate that risk.
8. Wash your Windows
This is a simple one, but many people forget to do it. It’s important to wash your windows before you move out. Depending on your apartment, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to clean the exterior but you will be responsible for ensuring interior windows are clean. For everything in your apartment, remember this rule: if you don’t clean it, your landlord has to pay someone else to clean it, and they will have no option but to pass those costs on to you.
9. Empty the Fridge and Cupboards: Leave NOTHING in the Unit
Not a box of baking soda in the fridge, not a shaker of salt in the cupboard. As we just mentioned, anything that the landlord has to pay someone else to do – even removing a handful of small items – can incur an extra move-out charge. You must take your garbage out; you need to ensure you don’t even leave hangers in the closet. If you brought it in, it must leave with you. Making it somebody else’s problem will simply make that a problem dealt with at your expense.