End of tenancy cleaning – tips to get your deposit back
Essential cleaning jobs
To avoid any cause for complaint you should arrange the end of tenancy cleaning as close to the inventory as possible. If you are using a professional company (check your tenancy agreement to see if this is required) ensure they have an exhaustive task list, everything is completed to a high standard, and keep a copy for the landlord in case there is a dispute. If you are completing a domestic clean, allow enough time to hire equipment, buy the right products, have things dry cleaned, and replace/repair items. Be thorough, tick things off your list as you go, take photographs when complete, and ask a witness to sign these before the final inventory check and handing over the keys.
• Windows – clean all the windows from the inside; if you can’t reach the outside yourself then arrange for a window cleaner to call. If there are any cracked panes arrange for them to be replaced unless they appear on the check-in inventory.
• Kitchen – When all the kitchen cupboards are empty, wash them inside and out. If you have appliances that pull out, wash the floors beneath them. Make sure the appliances are clean including the washing machine soap tray and the dishwasher filter. After you have cleaned the fridge, if it is empty switch it off at the mains and leave the door open to prevent mould.
• Oven and hob – There is nothing worse than cleaning someone else’s oven when moving into a new property. Unpleasant though the job may be, make sure it is sparkling. The same goes for the hob.
• Bathroom – Scrub everything in the bathroom including the benches, inside cupboards, mirrors, tiles and floor. Ensure the drains and plug holes are clear from debris and make sure the water runs away quickly. Remove mould, soap scum and limescale buildup.
• Curtains/blinds – If the curtains are washable then follow washing instructions or take them to the dry cleaner and dust the curtain rods. Do the same with any fabric blinds in the property. Thoroughly dust both sides of the slats of venetian blinds. Repair any damage or replace if the blind has become unusable.
• Carpets/Rugs – If you have a steam cleaner, this is a great way of bringing up carpets and rugs to look like new. If not, they are relatively cheap to hire, and include various attachments to enable you to clean every part of the property including floors, tiles, windows, walls, and furnishings.
• Walls – The standard of decoration in the property should have been kept to a high standard throughout your tenancy but you should look carefully for any scuffs or dirty marks on the walls. If it is not possible to wash them off, paint them over with some emulsion of the same colour; you may find unfinished paint pots in the shed or utility cupboard you can use. This is worth doing especially if there are a lot of marks, otherwise your landlord may decide to decorate and bill you for the cost!
• Garden and exterior – If there is a garden shed make sure it is clean and tidy. Hose down any decking and sweep up leaves and other debris from patio areas. Make sure that flowerbeds are in good order and mow the lawns where applicable. If the gate is broken and wasn’t when you moved in, repair it. If it was broken when you moved in there should be a record of it on the inventory, otherwise you will be held responsible.
It is to your advantage to do a thorough end of tenancy clean and meet all the responsibilities in your tenancy agreement if you want your deposit returned in full and to avoid disputes with your landlord. Ensure that any damage caused by you or a visitor to your home is repaired or replaced – if you leave it up to the landlord to send you a bill, chances are the cost will be higher as they are less likely to shop around for the best deal. Allow yourself enough time and energy to do the final clean and make is as near to the date of the check-out inventory as possible.
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