Property Management Blog

End-of-Tenancy Cleaning Guide

System - Monday, January 23, 2023
Property Management Blog

Cleaning the property at the end of a lease term is not only recommended but it’s required of a tenant. Tenants are expected to return the property back to its original condition at the start of their tenancy. This means that the property must meet a certain level of cleanliness to prevent any dispute between the landlord and the tenants. 

The lack of property cleanliness is often the cause of major disputes between tenants and landlords upon move-out. Sometimes, landlords are left with no other choice but to deduct from the tenant’s security deposits if they are not satisfied with the condition of the property when tenants move out. To prevent any issues, it’s important for tenants to perform a thorough end-of-tenancy cleaning before they vacate the rental unit.

What Is End-of-Tenancy Cleaning?

In general, end-of-tenancy cleaning refers to the process of deep-cleaning every part of a rental unit to ensure that it is as clean as it was during the start of the lease term. Most rental agreements require tenants to leave the property in the same state as it was when they first moved in. 

During the course of the tenancy, the tenants are expected to clean the rental unit on a regular basis to prevent dirt from building up. However, sometimes tenants fail to do this, causing dirt and grime to gather in the rental property. 

Blue-gloved hands spraying a bottle of cleaner and wiping a counter with a paper towel

When they plan to move out, however, they are expected to perform a general cleaning to ensure that the property is back to how clean it originally was. 

End-of-tenancy cleaning usually involves cleaning every nook and cranny of the rental home, especially those rooms and corners where dirt is expected to build up. This includes cleaning the carpets, floors, walls, appliances, and furniture.

Why Do Tenants Need to Clean the Property at the End of the Tenancy?

While landlords are responsible for providing a habitable dwelling space for their renters, tenants also have shared responsibility to maintain the rental unit while they are staying at the property. 

The rental agreement typically indicates the list of duties and responsibilities of the tenants, and these include keeping the property clean and sanitary during the course of their stay. In addition, most lease contracts require tenants to return the property back to its original condition when they move out. 

Failure to do so often results in disputes with the landlord. If the landlord is unsatisfied with how the property looks by the time the tenant vacates the unit, the tenant risks losing a portion of or the entire security deposit

How Should Tenants Clean the Property? 

In general, the level of expected cleanliness varies from one landlord to another. This is actually one of the reasons the cleanliness of a rental unit causes disputes because more often than not, tenants and landlords can’t agree as to how clean a property should be. 

Person holding a laundry basket and loading laundry into a washing machine

Typically, landlords expect the rental unit to be as clean as it was when the tenants first moved in. Without a move-in property inspection, however, it would be difficult for tenants to recall how clean the property was. This is why a move-in checklist with a schedule of the property’s condition is necessary when it comes to performing an end-of-tenancy cleaning procedure. 

The landlord should provide tenants with a copy of the move-in inspection checklist, which should be used as a reference point for cleaning the rental unit during the end of the tenancy. Ideally, the move-in inspection should include a written explanation of the condition of the property, as well as photos of every important aspect of the rental unit. 

This will be useful for tenants when they conduct an end-of-tenancy cleaning. Referring back to the checklist will help the tenants clean the property and meet the landlord’s expectations. 

Sample Checklist for End-of-Tenancy Cleaning

Cleaning the property before moving out can be a time-consuming process for tenants, but it is a great way to prevent disputes with landlords. This process can also help minimize the risk of losing the security deposit. 

Woman vacuuming with a child in a living room

Here are the common aspects of the property that needed proper cleaning at the end of the tenancy:

1. Clean the walls, ceilings, and doors.

  • Make sure to wipe down the walls and remove dust and cobwebs from every corner of the ceiling and doors.

  • If there are writings on the walls because of toddlers, make sure to remove them thoroughly or get them repainted.

  • If tenants performed any unauthorized wallpaper or paint jobs, landlords expect that they will repaint it back to its original color.

2. Clean the entire kitchen.

  • Kitchens collect grease and grime throughout the duration of the tenancy. It’s important to give this a thorough wash.

  • Clean and degrease all kitchen cooking appliances, such as stoves, ovens, coffee makers, and toasters.

  • Wipe down the countertops and worktops.

  • Clean the refrigerator and freezer from the inside out.

  • Remove all personal belongings from the cabinets and clean the provided utensils.

  • Clean and remove grease from the extractor fan, including the filter.

  • Unclog the sink when necessary.

  • Remove any grease and stains from the backsplash.

3. Clean the bathrooms.

  • Clean and polish the toilet, sink, shower, and bathtubs.

  • Remove stains from the tiles.

  • Unclog the sink and toilets when necessary.

  • Clean the extractor fan.

  • Remove any dust and cobwebs.

  • Polish the mirror.

Cropped image of a person in green holding a spray bottle and a tea towel

4. Clean the floors.

  • If the floor is not carpeted, vacuum the floor and polish it as necessary.

  • If it is carpeted, make sure to remove the stains from the carpet without damaging the fabric.

5. Clean the fixtures and furniture.

  • Wipe off the dust and clean all lighting fixtures.

  • Empty the cabinets and clean every corner.

  • Dust off and polish the tables, desks, and other furniture.

Bottom Line

It’s important for landlords to clearly communicate their expectations for end-of-tenancy cleaning when the lease is being signed so there is no confusion when the tenant is getting ready to move out. If you need help dealing with landlord-tenant relationships and lease agreements, contact the experts at SGI Property Management Dallas