By Jayde Ferguson
When you rent a new apartment or house, the landlord is likely to require a rental bond or a security deposit to ensure that any damages will be paid for by the tenant. So, how do you make sure that the cleanliness of your house lives up to your landlord’s standards when you move out?
It starts when you move in — it is your responsibility to record the condition of the apartment before you have brought any of your belongings inside. The property condition report acts as an agreement between you and your landlord as to the condition of the property when you get there, and the more accurate your property condition report, the better off you will be when you move out. In addition to a written property report, taking photos can help. If it all sounds like too much effort you can get a third party company to inspect the property on your behalf. These types of companies know the exact traps and pitfalls to look out for.
Take care of messes as they happen
If you generally live clean, your chances of getting your rental bond back are good. Remember to get rid of old food, minimise clutter, and clean up stains as soon as you spill — before they set. If you need it, get an air filter, a humidifier, or even plants that can help filter your air.
If possible, don’t have a pet. If you have one, make sure to clean up after pets as soon as possible, from accidents in the house to shedding hair or fur.
Remember that if things go wrong with the house, it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix them. It is in your best interests to call your landlord when things go wrong so that you can avoid paying out of pocket, or making things worse than they were to begin with.
If you do make your own improvements to the property, take before and after photos, keep receipts and inform your landlord as soon as possible.
Follow the terms of your lease
This is one simple thing that people tend to overlook in some ways. While a lease requires payment of rent regularly in exchange for the keys to the property, it also may have clauses regarding other things that can affect the quality of the property when you move out.
If your apartment does not allow smoking, choosing to do so inside can require additional cleaning and costs when you move out. Some leases don’t allow pets, and will charge extra for damages by pets from the rental bond. You may also have restrictions regarding things like painting the walls, using nails or screws in the walls, and more.
Pretend like you are moving in
One way to ensure that your apartment is in the condition it should be is to look at it as if you were a new tenant moving in. What would you write on a new property condition report? Does it require additional cleaning? How does it compare to the property condition report you filled out when you moved in? If you have photos from your move in date, compare the move out condition to the move in condition.
You may even request that your landlord walks through the house with you to go over its condition.
Hire professional cleaners
If you are worried that your landlord could overcharge you, or if your house really does need a good, thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional cleaners (realestate.com.au have outlined the pros of having it done professionally here). Finding a cleaner on your own could save you in the long run, especially because you might take the time to look for a good deal while your landlord just wants to get the rental cleaned, and send the bill to you.
Sometimes cleaning companies offer deals for end of lease cleaning, and they will provide a guarantee that if you do not get your rental bond back, they will not charge you. Make sure that you hold on to all of your receipts so you have proof that you cleaned the apartment.
— Jayde Ferguson writes for Asset Focus who provide independent property inspection reports in Perth.