As a fellow landlord I recently had two vacancies and felling frustrated with the way the tenant left the property, I chalked it up to – it’s just the way renters are – and cleaned a lot of it myself. Truth is, I was probably as much to blame for the poor condition as the tenant.
I thought back to when I was a student at Brigham Young University, and I had been given a list of cleaning items and my deposit returned once they were all checked off. For all my years of land lording and the rules I have come to follow by Are You Requiring Renters Insurance? | Anderson Insurance Group; establishing House Rules for Renters | Anderson Insurance Group; and following: Utah Landlord Rental Criteria | Anderson Insurance Group; I did not have a landlord/tenant cleaning checklist.
A landlord/tenant move-out checklist that will establish clear expectations, reduce your workload and stress when you have a vacancy.
Here’s a list that I have started using at lease inception and termination. You can download this list by clicking the link above.
Refrigerator: Unplug the refrigerator before you start to clean the home giving it time to defrost. Come back in an hour and spray the fridge’s inside with an all-purpose cleaner. Be sure to include the shelves, ice cube trays, and vegetable crisper. Gently move the fridge away from wall, clean & mop behind the fridge.
Under the refrigerator, clean seals, and vacuum or wipe the coils and behind the refrigerator. Clean any dust or grease/grim from the top or sides. Follow the same steps with the freezer, cleaning all shelves.
A. Clean under the burners and drip pans until all stains have been removed.
B. Remove and clean all knobs and the area behind them.
C. Clean the oven and oven racks using an oven cleaner (unless you have a self-cleaning unit). Place paper or plastic in front of the stove to protect the floor.
— If you have a self-cleaning or continuous cleaning oven, do not use oven cleaner. Follow the directions
on your range instead.
D. Thoroughly clean the stove drawer, remove the stove drawer, and clean the floor underneath.
E. Clean the exterior of the stove, including sides, as well as the front of the door and drawer.
F. Clean and mop under the stove
Cupboards and Drawers: Wipe down inside and out of all cabinets with a cleaner that doesn’t leave a dull film removing any food stains and crumbs. Dry with a clean cloth. Dust and clean the tops of all cabinets.
Sink: Scrub the sinks and faucets with all-purpose, non-abrasive cleanser. Wipe and dry with a clean cloth.
Disposal: Must work and be free of food remnants. To do this, run a tray of ice cubes through the disposal while running cold water. Place a cup of baking soda in the disposal, and do not run any more water.
Dishwasher: Wipe inside and out, cleaning away any soap scum, including the gasket around the edge of the door. Clean dust/debris from under the front of the dishwasher. Sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom before closing. Do not rerun the dishwater.
Doors and woodwork: Wipe down and polish with appropriate wood cleaner.
Baseboards/Molding: Clean, dust, wash, and rinse all dirt, grime, and marks. Vacuum all floor vents.
Floors: Vacuum or sweep and damp mop, removing any stains from all floors with appropriate cleaner for wood or tile.
Carpets: The carpets must be steam cleaned by a professional cleaning company. Please supply us with the receipt before handing over possession so we know it was professionally cleaned. This must be submitted by 5:00 PM on the last day of your lease. If not provided, we will clean the carpets and charge your security deposit. We recommend Fernando from 3 Amigos Carpet Cleaning 801-867-8081.
Walls and Ceilings: Dust and wash baseboards and, door jams and doorknobs. Wipe away fingerprints from the light switch plates and outlets. Wipe down walls and ceiling to remove any marks, dust, and cobwebs.
Window and Sills: Vacuum the window screens and window tracks. Wash the glass without leaving streaks. Clean the windows inside & out. Make sure the windowsills and frames are dusted and clean.
Blinds & Drapes: Vacuum and clean all blinds. Drapes must be dry-cleaned if appropriate.
Closets: Thoroughly clean all closets, removing all hangers. Shelves must be dusted and free of dirt. All scuff/stains should be removed.
Light Fixtures & Fans: Wipe down all light fixtures. Replace all burnt out light bulbs. Make sure to clean the ceiling fan blades. Vacuum or wipe down the bathroom exhaust fan vents and covers.
Toilet: Thoroughly scrub and remove all stains with all-purpose cleaner. Clean and disinfect the rest of the fixtures including the lid, seat, behind the toilet, base, and the outside of the tank.
Bathtub & Shower: Scrub the tub and walls of the bathtub, including shower doors & their metal tracks. These must be free of soap scrum and mildew. Clean and shine the wall tile surrounding the bathtub/shower.
Medicine Cabinet & Vanity: Clean the inside and out and polish, including doors and sides.
Nail Holes: If you put up pictures, remove the nails. Please note that you will be charged for patch and paint for all holes in the walls.
Laundry/Utility Room, Storage, Deck: Sweep and mop these areas, removing all of your property.
Fireplace: Remove large debris and vacuum.
Garage/Parking: Remove all debris, sweep, and remove any oil stains. Clean the exterior garage door as well as the interior door. Replace burnt-out lights.
Yard: The yard must be mowed, trimmed, weeds and trash removed in summer. In the winter all trash, leaves and branches must be removed, and sidewalks must be shoveled. You are responsible for yard maintenance until the last day of your lease.
A clear and definitive list will help define expectations for each party. We encourage all landlords to join the Utah Rental Housing Association, were you will find a wealth of information and education to help have a successful landlording experience.
Honeycomb Insurance also provides a landlord/tenant move out checklist: Landlord’s Checklist for Tenants Who Are Moving Out | Honeycomb (honeycombinsurance.com)