Has the lease on your home come to an end? Well, if you’re moving on to rent somewhere else, part of your admin is going to involve getting your security deposit back. The only way to do this, however, is to ensure that you leave your house or flat in the condition you found it in (if not better!), so that your landlord has no grounds for deducting the cost of cleaning and repairs from your deposit.
So, it probably goes without saying that you’ve a pretty big job on your hands. You’ll need to begin by ensuring that the condition of the property and its contents haven’t surpassed ‘reasonable wear and tear’ (something that your tenancy agreement probably refers to).
If you’re not sure what reasonable wear and tear means, take a look at page 12 of this document.
Beyond that, however, you’ll need to give the space a deep clean. You’ll only get your deposit back if the house is sparkling!
So, start by gathering all your cleaning supplies. You’ll need cloths, cleaning detergents (such as bleach or other natural alternatives), a bucket and a mop, a duster and a vacuum cleaner. You should also remember that white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda make excellent cleaning products if you carefully combine them in the right amounts, particularly for removing a build up of things like scum, grease or limescale, as well as unpleasant odours. There are tutorials on how to use white vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda to clean your house available online, such as this one here.
Once you’ve got your cleaning kit in order, you’ll need a method for tackling all that dirt. The best advice we can give is to clean each room in turn, starting with the messiest room in the furthest corner of the house. This is important, as it means you won’t traipse dirt and debris through rooms you’ve already cleaned.
Start by emptying each room of your house of your belongings (temporarily storing things in other rooms if you’re not ready to move out just yet), then dust every surface. This includes cornicing, high surfaces and the upper corners of room – look out for spider’s webs and any very dusty surfaces! Then vacuum the carpets thoroughly. If they look particularly grubby, consider hiring a professional to give them a deep clean: consider hiring domestic cleaners to help you with this, for example - the small financial cost will definitely be worth it if it enables you to recover 100% of your deposit!
Then, wipe the walls and surfaces with a damp cloth to remove any stains and finger prints. If you need to, fill holes in the walls if you’ve hung artwork or photographs, and touch up paintwork (so long as you’re confident you’ve picked paint that’s exactly the same colour!).
Finally, make sure that you don’t overlook some commonly forgotten areas, such as on top of the fridge, on top of the cupboards (if they don’t extend up to the ceiling) and plugholes. These will all need cleaning carefully, and are prime areas that tenants often lose money on! Similarly, don’t forget to clean the inside of the oven, the hob and the extractor hood and very carefully: there’s likely to be a build up of oil and food stains in these areas. Finally, the windows might need a professional window cleaner if you’re going to get them sparkling (particularly on upper levels of the property), and make sure the grouting between bathroom tiles looks fresh and clean too.
With all this advice, you should definitely receive your full security deposit. Good luck!