That’s the question tenants ask themselves when they’re moving out of their apartment or home. They want to make sure they receive the cleaning deposit from their landlord. 

But what do you need to know or do to make sure you get every penny back? It starts with when you first moved into your new place, and it’ll end when you leave your place. 

Southeast Elite Movers® will give you some guidelines to keep in mind when trying to make sure you’re doing everything possible to get back your cleaning deposit. 

Do I Need to Do a Deep Clean of My Home?

It’ll depend on what’s written in your lease but typically all that’s required is a broom-clean home. This usually means the home has been swept or vacuumed, free of excess items or debris. With that said, the more move out cleaning you do, the more likely you’ll earn your cleaning deposit. 

A broom-clean home can be open for interpretation, so if you do a deep clean, you’ll go above and beyond that standard, which is why it’s recommended to do more than the standard. This also helps you impress your landlord when you’re trying to get your security deposit back. 

What Should I Clean?

You should clean everything. This means you should vacuum, mop, dust, and wipe down everything inside and outside. The shinier the home looks, the better it’ll be for you. Below is a list of items you should definitely make sure to take care of in your home. Check out our list for everyday cleaning that’ll be helpful as well. 

  • Remove all nails 
  • Patch holes and repaint if necessary  
  • Wipe down all doors 
  • Dust ceiling fans 
  • Clean windows and mirrors 
  • Clean blinds and windowsills 
  • Clean cupboards and cabinets 
  • Sweep the porch 
  • Deep clean sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets 
  • Wipe down appliances and clean the inside of appliances 
  • Dust floor trims 
  • Sweep, vacuum and mop floors 
  • Take out the trash  

Should I Take Pictures of the Final Result After I’m Done Cleaning?

Yes, once you’re done cleaning your home, you should take pictures of your entire home. It’ll provide documentation for you when trying to get your cleaning deposit back. It’ll also help protect you in case your landlord claims you didn’t clean a certain area in your home well enough and tries to keep part of your security deposit. 

When Should I Take Pictures? 

You should’ve taken pictures before you moved in, so you have evidence of any preexisting conditions, so you don’t get blamed for potential damage that already existed. After you’re done with your move out cleaning, you should take pictures of your home, so you have evidence of any damage that you may have caused. This will be a good way to get a cleaning deposit. 

Pictures are always important, and you should keep the photos in a safe place — whether that’s in the iCloud, backup hard drive, thumbnail drive, or your computer. 

Do I Need to Be There When My Landlord Does a Move-Out Inspection? 

Every situation is different, but if it’s possible, you should be there when your landlord does your move-out inspection. It’s a great way to find out whether any potential damage might be taken out of your security deposit. 

The landlord also might find something that you can fix, so you don’t have it taken out of your cleaning deposit. For example, maybe you forgot to patch and paint a few holes where you hung pictures. You can patch and paint the spots vs. the landlord doing it and having it come out of your security deposit. 

If you and your landlord agree to you to fixing any damages make sure you get all agreements in writing, and you receive a copy. After you fix every damage, you’ll more likely receive your full cleaning deposit. 

How Do You Get Your Security Deposits Back?

If you’re wondering how do you get security deposits back after moving out, one way to ensure you receive it is to give your landlord a forwarding address. You can either give them a hand-delivered letter, or send a registered or certified letter to them. 

This step is crucial because if you don’t give them a forwarding address, it could make it more difficult to get back your security deposit. 

Every state has different rules on when landlords have to return your deposit. For example, in Arizona, landlords must return your security deposit with itemized deductions 14 days after the tenant has moved out, but in Colorado, landlords need to return your cleaning deposit within one month unless the lease agreement specifies a longer time (and it can’t be more than 60 days). 

As always, having a great relationship with your landlord goes a long way. By paying rent on time, not having complaints against you, having nice communication and taking care of your property, your landlord will be more inclined to make sure you receive your security deposit in a timely manner.  

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