Tips to leave a Rental Property When Vacating

If you’re living in a rental and you plan to move sometime soon, you’ll want to leave this property looking better than it did before you moved in. That is, you’ll want to clean. There are many reasons to do this, as it will benefit you and your future rentals.

Renting an apartment, townhouse, or home is pretty standard for many people no matter what city they live in. Most young people are renting until they establish themselves and build credit to buy a home. Until that point, you’re probably like most of us who are still renting a property. There are a few secrets that you should know when you decide to leave that will save you a lot of time and worry.

We’re not saying that you need to repaint the walls or anything extreme, but the effort that goes into a good cleaning after you’ve moved all your stuff out is essential. If you’re not very good at cleaning, most cleaning companies have a flat rate for move-out cleanups. But if you don’t mind putting in the extra elbow grease, here’s how to do it yourself.

DIY Guide

Any rental property will have a deposit when you move in. This deposit will vary from place to place but most property owners will ask for the first and last month’s rent as a standard deposit. You’ll likely sign a contract that tells you what comes with the rental, so reading this will be essential. If this place is furnished or semi-furnished, be sure to move items back to the locations where you first found them.

If unfurnished, be sure that you clear out all your furniture and appliances before starting the cleaning phases listed below. Leaving furniture or unwanted belongings behind will often cost you some or all of your security deposit. There are also companies which specialize in property clean-outs that can provide assistance with getting rid of larger items.


Clean the bathrooms, bedrooms, and walk-in areas. Pay special attention to the grout, which should be cleaned using a natural grout cleaner. You can make an excellent cleaner using cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide, and a teaspoon of dish soap. A scrubbing brush will effectively restore grout to its original color. Clean all windows inside and out and make sure that mirrors are clean as well.

Clean the inside and outside of the stove and stovetop using easy-to-use cleaners that remove built-up grime and dried fat. Go to the dollar store and buy a whole bunch of cheap baby wipes, and use these to clean surfaces that you can’t readily see. The tops of door frames, vents, tops of window frames, and the top of the fridge should also be cleaned. Even kitchen cabinets and shelving if there are built-in shelves, should be cleaned.

Clean the insides of cabinets so that there aren’t any crumbs or dust left behind. The point is to make everything spotless. Pay special attention to cleaning away spider webs, mildew stains, and any soap scum or calcium stains. If there are any lamps or light fixtures that have dust on them, clean these off. They will show dust more clearly.

Don’t forget to clean window shades including vertical or horizontal blinds. These will often attract dust over time. Use a wet wipe and flat spaghetti tongs to get in between these surfaces. Both sides will get cleaned easier this way. You’ll be surprised how effectively wet wipes pick up dirt or dust from any surface. Even walls and paneling can be cleaned, and don’t forget to clean the kitchen cabinet doors inside and out.


A good finish is vacuuming the carpets and removing any stains that might have appeared while you were living there. Even if they were there before you moved in, it doesn’t hurt. Another big plus is to remove any pressure marks from the carpeting where beds or furniture were placed. You can use a stiff scrubbing brush to get the compacted carpet to spring back up with a little warm water, but a simple stiff kitchen broom works just as well.

Carpets should be cleaned with a dry carpet cleaner that you sprinkle all over. This works best if you use a scrubber brush to work it deep into the carpet fibers. Any brands like Arm & Hammer or Dyson Zorb work great, but keep an eye out for stain remover brands. Don’t forget to clean window shades such as vertical or horizontal blinds also. These will often attract dust over time.



When all is said and done, you can give a walk-through with the owner so they can inspect the property. They will immediately notice how it looks and the clean smell will be a big plus for them to rent it out to another person. Get them to sign off on the cleaning and have them give you something in writing that you’ll get your deposit back in full. It has to be in writing and with a witness so you can be sure they’re satisfied with how the property looks.

You’ll Gain A Good Referral

By cleaning up your rental, you also gain an advantage for a new place if the new owner wants to hear from your last owner. Many owners will do this to get an idea of who their new renter will be. Getting a great referral can also open doors for you if you want to move into a more luxurious rental. Paying rent on time is fine, but leaving the place cleaner than it was when you moved in will show you take responsibility for their property.

It Shows Respect For The Owner

There are good renters and bad renters, and the same applies to the owners of a property that may have lived in that residence long before you did. They might have sentimental feelings about that property and select the right candidate to live there. Proving that you’ll take care of their old place or something they’ve fixed up will help you find a new place sooner. It also doesn’t hurt to bring the number of your old owner.

New prospective landlords can talk to your previous owner or landlord and get instant feedback on how the last place you rented and was so spotless after you moved out. It’s one more way to earn the respect of a new landlord or owner and give them more reason to select you to be the new renter of their property.

You should have gained new knowledge as a result of reading this essay. Additional ideas can be found on this page: The Ultimate Move Out / Move In Home Cleaning Checklist


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