When leaving a rental unit, it's important to make sure you have kept your home clean so you can
a) get your deposit back in full, and
b) get a good referral from your landlord or letting agency.
As the majority (over 50%) of London residents rent their homes rather then own them, we thought it would be useful to share our top 10 tips for home cleaning in a rental property - to make sure you get your deposit back in full.
1. Take photos on arrival
A simple but essential task when you first move in - take pictures of everything, and keep a digital record. This will save you from a "he said, she said" type debarcle when you are ready to leave your property. Check these photos against the inventory provided by your letting agency or landlord and check these match before confirming.
2. Hire a regular cleaner
Unless you have the time to regularly clean your home, on a weekly or fortnightly basis, it would be worth the investment to hire a regular cleaner. This will ensure that your home is kept clean to a respectable standard - and that you will not be hit with an overwhelming cleaning job when you are ready to move. Dusting, mopping and vaccuming on a weekly basis will help reduce the stress, and will save you from needing to hire an end of tenancy cleaning agency, which can cost a lot!
3. Clean your oven, fridge and windows each month
Keeping up to date with cleaning your fridge, oven and indoor windows will also help you save time when it comes to the end of your tenancy. A regular defrost of the fridge/freezer (ensuring you pop towels on the floor to stop flooding), regular cleaning of windows, and a wipe out of the oven every so often will help make your life a lot easier when you are met with the other time-consuming tasks that occur when you are moving home.
4. Keep an eye on wear & tear
Undergoing a monthly check of the condition of your home will help you keep track of the wear and tear your hoe had undergone since moving in. Taking photos, and keeping a digital record of these images with dates will also allow you to plan ahead - and help you organise these repairs well in advance of your move out date.
5. Invest in wooden floor cleaner
If you have wooden floors, it is important to vacuum, mop and also to apply a wooden floor cleaner every so often. If you have an open plan home, it may also be wise to invest in doormats at each and every entrance, with a rug to cover the exposed areas. This will reduce the chance of scuff marks, scratches and dents.
6. Scrub all kitchen appliances
It may seem to be common knowledge, but it is important to keep all appliances provided by the tenant/landlord in the same condition that you found them. As mentioned, it is important to keep on top of appliances like the oven and the fridge, but the smaller items must not be overlooked. A weekly clean of the toaster, microwave and kettle both inside and outside, will help you keep on top of this.
7. Check for limescale
Limescale can be a pain, especially as it often occurs in hard to reach places - like the inside of coffeemakers and kettles - as well as on faucets and bathtubs, leaving an annoying chalky white substance behind. The best way to ensure you get your deposit back when leaving your rental property is to remove all limescale on a regular basis. Limescale, if uncleaned, leaves a mineral build up that can cause damage, and make soap scum and other dirt harder to remove. This is why it is important to keep an eye on appliances, tubs and faucets - and regularly remove any build up.
8. Clean your carpets monthly
You don't need to hire a carpet cleaner, but the purchase of a spray on carpet cleaner that can be left for ten minutes and then vacuumed is essential. This does not need to be done each week, monthly will suffice, however it is important to do this regularly as it will make a big difference to how your carpet looks at the end of your tenancy.
9. Remove any nails and artwork
If you have hung any artwork in the home, whether with nails or blu tac, remove these 2-3 weeks before your lease finishes. You will then have time to clean the walls with warm soapy water, and see whether there have been any stains left, or if any paint has been removed. You can make your own wall cleaner by combining 1 teaspoon of dish detergent, and 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar into a litre of warm water. After you have washed the wall, you will be able see if the paint has chipped or you have left any nail holes - which can be easily fixed with a small amount of putty and some paint.
10. Check the need to repaint
Once you have removed all artwork and have begun to pack your boxes ready for the big move, walk around the home and check for any paint chips or scuff marks. Some of these marks will be simply removed using the wall cleaning solution mentioned previously, however there may be some areas that need repainting. Before you begin the process, always check with your landdlord/letting agency that they are happy for you to repaint. There will be no bigger disappointment than having to pay for an entire repaint of the property, when you were only trying to help with a normal wear & tear. Once painting has been approved, pop down to your local hardware store and purchase a few tester pots to perform a patch test with. Remember, always check the colour card provided by the hardware store, as paint often dries a shade darker than it looks when first applied.
Leaving a rental property can be a stressful time, so to make sure you don't have the added stress of a deduction from your deposit - keep on top of your home cleaning on a regular basis.