You’re approaching the end of your lease, so your next concern is passing your move-out or final inspection. While the easiest way to stay on top of your apartment is to maintain it throughout the course of your tenancy, sometimes life gets in the way, or you just can’t find the time to clean those carpet stains or fix the hole in the wall.
That’s why we’re here to help you with 10 hacks you can use to get your apartment spotless and to ensure that you pass your move-out inspection with flying colors.
What is a Move Out Inspection and Why Does It Matter?
Apartment inspections are important because it helps you as the tenant preserve your security deposit and it helps the landlord maintain their business. The lease agreement will provide details concerning periodic and end-of-lease inspections.
Because move-out inspections are only performed once tenants vacate the premises, can you imagine if the landlord is left with a dirty and damaged apartment that they have to fix before they can get a tenant to move in? It could take weeks to restore and would mean lost revenue and time for the property owner.
For landlords to protect themselves against the costs of cleaning and repairing apartment interiors, they use your security deposit. If the apartment is not up to standard meaning that it has damage, it is dirty, or you’ve left your belongings and garbage behind, then the landlord will use your deposit to cover the costs of getting the unit ready for the next renter.
Ultimately, your inspection is important because it helps to secure your deposit, it puts you in a better light with your former landlord, and it could earn you a good recommendation for future rentals.
When is a Landlord Inspection Done?
Only once the tenant has moved out of the property will the landlord perform the assessment of the apartment. Both the landlord and the tenant will walk through the property together to look for any damages, alterations, or dirt.
For periodic inspections performed during the course of the tenancy, landlords should provide at least 24 hours' notice before they can enter the property. While an end-of-tenancy inspection comes with every rental apartment, check your lease to determine whether periodic inspections can be performed by the landlord.
Which Areas Do Landlords Focus On?
Landlords will look at the fixtures of the interior because these are the most expensive to repair or replace. The taps in the bathroom and kitchen, wall-to-wall carpets, door handles, light fittings, any built-in appliances, and the general condition of the floors.
If the furniture was in the apartment when you first moved in and a part of your rental agreement, but you’ve placed it in storage, these items need to be returned and set in place for the inspection.
The landlord will inspect the walls to ensure that there aren’t any holes or scratches. If you have knocked a nail or two into the wall, it will have to be fixed before the inspection. If not, the landlord has the right to issue you with the cost for repair which usually comes out of your security deposit.
If you have stained the carpet, scuffed the floor, or haven’t replaced the broken tap, these could all result in penalties when the apartment is inspected. As soon as the damage occurs during your tenancy, you should get it fixed to avoid the high costs of repair at the end of your lease. If something such as a leaking tap starts during your tenancy, notify your landlord so it can be repaired before you move out. You don’t want to be penalized for fixtures that are not your responsibility in the first place.
All properties suffer from some form of wear and tear especially over the course of a year with regular traffic but there are certain types of damages that can be avoided.
One of the most common reasons tenants lose part or all of their deposit is because of stains in the carpet. Stained carpets can be hard to fix if it hasn’t been properly cleaned the moment it got dirty. For really tough spots you may have to call a professional carpet cleaning service. Weigh the pros and cons and look at what would be more cost-effective; getting the carpet specialists in, replacing the carpet, or losing part of your security deposit.
Should You Hire a Professional Cleaner?
End-of-tenancy cleaners are popular choices for apartments because they specialize in getting every room ready for inspection. Professional cleaning companies scrub the floors, tackle stains, and shine the fixtures. Their role is to restore the apartment to its move-in condition.
While you can hire cleaning companies if you don’t have the time for maintenance, with a little bit of elbow grease and help from family you can give the apartment interiors a deep clean and save money.
If You Have a Garden and Balcony
For small gardens, trim the grass, remove weeds, and empty any pots with wilted or lifeless plants. If you’ve placed pot plants on the balcony or patio, move the pots to check for stains caused by the base. If the surface is stained, scrub with a compatible cleaning solution to remove the stain.
10 Cleaning Steps to Pass Your Final Inspection
Now that you know how important your end-of-tenancy inspection is, it’s time to create a checklist and jot down exactly what you need to focus on to pass it. Let’s look at the most important cleaning hacks for your apartment:
1. Clean the Baseboards
We seldom pay attention to the baseboards when cleaning our homes, but over time, dirt, dust, and grime can get trapped in the grooves or discolor the surface. Simply take warm soapy water with a sponge and wipe away dirt. If you’ve chipped any of the paint off, touch it up before the landlord comes to have a look.
2. Clean the Bathtub and Basin
The bathtub can discolor very quickly because of stains. Clean the tub and the vanity with a mild detergent. Do not use bleach as this will damage any metal plugs and drains. Use a soft sponge and not a wire brush even if you come across tough stains. Harsh applications will damage the bath and then you’re in a very big predicament!
3. Wash the Windows
Many tenants forget about cleaning the windows and the frames. Don’t let your landlord be picky about the condition of the frames! Wipe it down, remove any signs of mold, and leave the surface sparkling.
4. Remove Dust
From the top of pendant light fittings to ceiling fans, take a soft cloth and simply wipe off the dust that has settled on these hard-to-reach places.
5. Clean the Kitchen
Because the kitchen is such a valuable space in any property, landlords and listing agents pay careful attention to the taps, the countertops, and appliances such as the microwave and dishwasher during inspections.
6. Clean the Oven
From the stovetop to the inside of the oven, take the time to get these features looking as good as new. Remove burned food and grease and only use a compatible oven cleaner to prevent damaging the dials or the inside of the appliance.
7. Clean the Carpets
For carpets that have odors, you can apply an odor-neutralizing powder, but stains need to be carefully treated. If you use the wrong type of cleaning agent, you can bleach the carpet so if you aren’t sure how to remove the stain it is best to call on a professional to clean it for you.
8. Vacuum and Remove the Trash
If there is still furniture in the apartment, move these items so you can vacuum the dust and dirt that have accumulated underneath it. Along with a deep vacuum, all bags of garbage should be disposed of and any trash inside the apartment removed.
9. Fix Holes
If you are going to repair a hole in the wall yourself, think very carefully about performing a seamless job. If you cannot complete a successful DIY then you’ll need to call on drywall repair services or an experienced handyman who can fix it for you.
10. Wipe the Walls
Marks and dirt can easily discolor the walls or leave dark patches across the surface. This can create an impression that you’ve stained the walls. Scrub it with a soapy solution so you can avoid any penalties.
See It From the Landlord’s Perspective
Landlords want a clean space they can quickly and easily present to their new tenants. Not only is the landlord left in a bind when the apartment is dirty and disorganized, but they have to go to extra costs to get it cleaned and delay new tenants moving in.
Even if you believe that a spot on the floor or a scuff on the bath are small nuisances, your landlord may think otherwise. Clean it to remove all the dirt and create a positive impression.
What if You’re Issued a Penalty?
Once the final inspection is conducted and you believe that you’ve thoroughly cleaned the interior but the landlord presents a charge for cleaning, you can ask them what the fee is for. The fee should describe exactly what needs to be restored and give you the option to tackle these areas yourself or pay the charge to get someone to clean and fix it for you.
Clean with Confidence
When you clean with confidence you take pride in what you do. By investing some time and effort into your final inspection clean you can avoid losing your security deposit.
Remember that passing a final inspection is about cleanliness, organization, and restoring any apartment alterations to their original condition. It will go a long way to helping your landlord and improving your future rental recommendations.