If you’re like most Merced renters, you don’t worry too much about how to clean your rental house when you move out. That is until the day arrives and you start thinking about how much you want to get your security deposit back. To get a full refund, most landlords expect you to leave the house as spotless as you can get it. But doing so can present some real challenges. Still, by following these five expert cleaning tips, you can significantly increase your chances of getting your security deposit back after you’ve moved out.
Tip #1: Read Your Lease
Perhaps your lease isn’t the first place you would usually go to find cleaning tips. But as a renter, the chances are that your lease documents (including addenda, if any) include language that can help you understand what your landlord’s expectations are. In many cases, you’ll find answers to questions like whether you need to have the carpets professionally cleaned, which parts of the property will be checked, and so on.
Tip #2: Get (and Use) A Move-Out Checklist
Good landlords will typically send their tenants a move-out checklist around the time that their tenants give notice they are leaving. But even if yours did not, you can find tons of detailed cleaning checklists online. It’s important to use a checklist as you clean to ensure that you don’t overlook things, both inside and out in the yard. Even small cleaning tasks missed might add up to big deductions on your security deposit, so it’s worth the effort.
Tip #3: Think Like a Landlord
One of the best ways to get your entire security deposit back is to put yourself in your landlord’s shoes. Try to remember the condition the property was in when you moved in, and aim for that same level of cleanliness when you leave. If you have any questions, ask your landlord what their definition of “clean” is. You could also keep in mind that the next tenant will want to move into a clean house, so leaving it the way you would like it if you were moving in is a good rule of thumb.
Tip #4: Don’t Leave Stuff Behind
It’s all too common for tenants to abandon personal property they no longer need or want in a rental house. But it’s not too much more effort to drag your unwanted junk to the curb or drop it off at a charity thrift shop. Plus, if you leave your stuff on the property, the landlord will likely charge you for clean-up and removal of the items. That spells a smaller security deposit coming back to you.
Tip #5: Go the Extra Mile
In the chaos of moving out, it may be tempting to do the minimum amount of cleaning while cutting corners wherever you can. While that may work in some situations, in most cases, that approach will lead to deductions from your security deposit for cleaning and repairs. If you can, give yourself a little extra time to go over some of the details. Fill nail holes with drywall putty, for example, or make sure you’ve cleaned interior windows and dusted the blinds and ceiling fans.
By following these move-out cleaning tips, you leave your landlord with very little to complain about and no excuses not to give you your full security deposit back in regards to cleanliness.
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