How to Clean Your Home to Pass a Landlord Inspection - dummies

How to Clean Your Home to Pass a Landlord Inspection

By Gill Chilton

Your home is the most important thing to maintain. You live there. It’s inevitable that there will be some cleaning and stain removing to do before it’s ready for the inspection or next tenant.

If you rent, you may be subject to periodic inspections, as stated in your rental contract. Your rental contract lets you know how much notice the landlord has to give you before she, or an agent acting for her, carries out an inspection. So you can probably expect at least 24 hours.

When it’s time to move out, you can expect a very thorough inspection. Be warned: If the place is found to be in disrepair, or simply plain dirty, you can expect to be fined, with the moneys taken out of your initial deposit. Sometimes, it is in your best interest to spend a little to save a lot.

Target areas that worry landlords most

To you, it’s home. To your landlord, it’s regular money now and perhaps a significant property sale at a later date. So to put yourself in your landlord’s shoes, imagine you’re a potential homebuyer, with one exception. There’s no point spending time making the exterior sparkle. Your local-based landlord is likely to have driven by frequently.

Inside, focus on fixtures – the bathroom suite, fitted kitchen units, and carpets. These are the costliest items to replace and your landlord looks for visual reassurance that it will be ages until anything is needed. So clean the bathroom, kitchen, and floors with care.

Your landlord also expects to see any major items of furniture or appliances he provides. So if you sent the dining table and chairs to the garage to free up more room, now’s the time to bring them back out.

Repair minor damage

Scratches and rips are part of everyday wear, and your landlord will be able to include repairing them as a business expense. Stains on the carpet give the impression of frequent partying. Get out any stains you can. Conceal others by moving furniture; drape a throw over a chair. Your landlord or agent is likely to spend 30 minutes, at most, in the place, without checking under the sofa.

Hire a cleaner

Getting paid help can be money well spent. Look in your local paper for ads from domestic contract cleaners and get a quote. If your reaction is that you can’t believe how much a spot of cleaning costs, let the thought of saving this sum of money spur you on to do the job yourself.

Shape up and clean up outside

Cut the grass if needed. Put garden furniture into the shed if it is autumn or winter. Empty out any tubs or pots with long-dead plants still in them.

Hold out against penalty fines

After a final inspection, your landlord may decide to charge you a cleaning fee. Ask for specific areas where the place falls short. Get a list in precise detail, such as the oven is dirty or windows need cleaning. You can then choose to tackle these set tasks yourself or, for considerably less than the original blanket charge, pay someone to do the work at an agreed hourly rate.