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19 Vacate Cleaning Tips

19 Vacate Cleaning Tips

Jim's End Of Lease CleaningDue to the current real estate climate, many of us have resorted to living in rental properties. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as much as 30% of households are occupied by renters.

First of all, as renters almost everyone has experienced the stresses of moving. Many of us become overwhelmed by the experience as there are so many things to do and remember at the end of your lease.

Secondly, before you move out, you’re obliged to return the property in substantially the same condition less ‘fair wear and tear’ – and level of cleanliness as it was at the beginning of your tenancy.

Furthermore, if your landlord or the agent feels the condition of the property is unsatisfactory, then you may not get your bond back in full. To avoid this from happening, follow these tips and refer to this checklist before moving out of the property.

During Your Lease

1. Record the condition of the property before you move in. It is your responsibility. This is to ensure you’ll have no additional liabilities when you move out. It is especially relevant to take photos as evidence of the pre-move in condition.
2. Don’t delay housework. Take care of spills, stains and moulds immediately rather than waiting. Because the longer you wait, the harder it sets, the more difficult it gets to remove. If you attempt to clean fails, contact a professional immediately to prevent the stain from setting in.
3. Take extra precaution. Be a step ahead and put measures in place to avoid major cleaning chores at the end of your lease. Don’t wear outdoor shoes or smoke in the house. Prevent grease from setting on your stovetop by covering it with aluminium foil. Use baking paper or aluminium foil on your oven trays to avoid baked oil or fat from hardening on them.
4. Try not to have a pet when you’re renting. Extremely lovable yet the chances of pets ruining your furniture and carpet are pretty high. And there’s the constant cleaning of their fur. Pets can be unpredictable and might end up staining the carpet, knocking over a precious ornament or scratching precious upholstery.
5. Inform the landlord for anything that needs fixing. Should things go wrong with the house and need fixing, contact the landlord or their appointed agent straight away. It’s the landlord’s responsibility to fix any damage in the property. It’s best you contact them immediately because then you can avoid exacerbating the problem, and to avoid extra headaches at the end of your lease.
6. Don’t overlook the terms of your lease. Some terms don’t allow smoking or pets in the house, so you may have to pay damages if you violate these terms. You need to also consider other possible restrictions such as painting or wallpapering the walls, or hammering in nails or screws, amongst others.
7. Seek permission in writing from the landlord. If you plan on making any changes or improvements to the property that are against the terms of your lease, contact the landlord or agent to seek permission in writing. If your landlord grants permission verbally, ask for a written one before you make the changes to the house. Take photos before and after the project to document and show the changes that have been done according to your agreement with the landlord.

End of Lease

8. Compare the original condition report against the current condition. See if they’re similar, or if the current condition needs more work because you’re not expected to clean or fix things that were already dirty or broken when you first moved in. But, as mentioned earlier, you need to repair things that are broken during the tenancy or report the damage to your landlord or the agent immediately.
9. Reverse changes to their original condition. If the alterations are non-compliant with the terms of your lease, or even if they were done based on an agreement between you and your landlord, chances are you might have to return it to its original condition. However, if it’s something that can benefit the landlord or increase the value of the property, you may want to discuss with your landlord or the agent about the possibility of keeping the changes. Always ensure you get their reply in writing.
10. Don’t stress over wear and tear. You’re not required to fix things that wear out due to age or wear and tear throughout your tenancy. Even major damage can sometimes be due to deterioration over time caused by normal use or natural elements. This does not fall under your responsibility as a renter.
11. You may need to steam clean your carpet. Most renters hire a professional carpet steam cleaner before the final inspection. You may need to do the same especially if the carpets were steam-cleaned before moving in, or if it was agreed you’d bear the cost for carpet cleaning at the end of your lease. You don’t however have to fix damage you didn’t cause.
12. Fumigate the property if you have pets. Some clauses for properties that allow pets state you need to hire a professional for flea treatment and pest control before you move out. Refer to your lease agreement or check with the agent to find out if it’s necessary.
13. Don’t immediately disconnect electricity. Since you might need it in case the landlord or the agent requests further cleaning at the final inspection. After getting the final approval, immediately disconnect all the utilities that are supplied in your name. Take a date-stamped photo of all meters – electricity, gas, water – and file for your records.
14. Bring cleaning products to the final inspection. Take your cleaning equipment like vacuum cleaner, broom, sponge and cleaning products with you in case you need to touch up the property at the last minute, or if the landlord or the agent requests so.
15. Put yourself in a new renter’s shoes. Another thing to do is look out things as if you were moving in instead of moving out? Would you have the place cleaned again and would you report anything as unsatisfactory to the landlord? Also compare the current condition of the property to the photos you took before you moved in.
16. Hire professional end of lease cleaners. Don’t underestimate the hard work required for end of lease cleaning. If you dread the work or don’t think your cleaning will come up to standard rather than clean twice, hire professional end of lease cleaners. Some companies even offer a guarantee that their cleaning will meet the standards set by your landlord because otherwise you’ll get a full refund if you don’t get your rental bond back.
17. Record the property condition on the last day. Either take photos or videos of the property on the last day of your tenancy as evidence of its condition. You may also want to complete your own condition report to document your own opinion of the condition of the property.
18. Try to record the agent’s agreement at final inspection. Finally, many agents will not sign the bond refund form at the final inspection. However, if both parties agree about the condition of the property, then you can request the agent to sign the condition report to record the agreement. Conversely, if you don’t agree with the agent’s condition report, or if the agent refuses to sign the condition report or confirm the condition of the property, then be sure to make your own report and take photos or videos to bring to the dispute.
19. Refer to a checklist. In conclusion, having a checklist helps clear your mind of any doubts therefore giving you a systematic process to approach your end of tenancy with.

Moving Out Checklist


  • Clean all surfaces as mush as possible
  • Clean interior and exterior of all cupboards and also the drawers
  • Scrub all counter tops, splash back and surface areas
  • Clean interior and exterior of oven, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, defrost freezer
  • Clean stove, hotplates, grill and rangehood
  • Wipe, scour and polish sink and taps
  • Clean windows, window sills, window and door frames, handles, bug screens
  • Thoroughly clean all light switches and power points
  • Vacuum and mop all floors

Bathroom & Laundry

  • Scrub all surface areas in addition to the shower rails and mirrors
  • Clean and sanitise toilet, sink and bath
  • Clean, scour and polish all taps
  • Wipe and scrub all tiles and grouts
  • Remove any mould from walls, tiles and ceiling
  • Remove debris from plugholes
  • Clean and sanitise shower curtain or shower doors or screens
  • Clean door, door frame and handle
  • Scrub all light switches and power points
  • Clean interior and exterior of all cupboards and drawers
  • Dust accessible air vents
  • Clean clothes dryer filter
  • Clean and sanitise laundry basin
  • Sweep and mop all floors

Bedroom, Living Area, Hallway

  • Clean all surface areas
  • Wipe doors, door frames and handles
  • Clean all light switches and power points
  • Vacuum and mop all floors
  • Clean interior and exterior of all cupboards and drawers
  • Wipe and polish all mirrors and glass surfaces
  • Clean windows, window sills and window frames while de-bugging fly screens
  • Clean stair banisters and railings
  • Dust and clean light fixtures
  • Remove debris and cobwebs
  • Dust and clean millwork, cornices and baseboards
  • Spot clean marks on wall and ceiling
  • Dust accessible air vents and fans

Other rooms

  • Dust and clean all surface areas
  • Dust and clean door and window frames
  • Clean mirrors o Dust fans
  • Wipe exterior of air conditioning units, clean filters
  • Clean interior and exterior of all cupboards and drawers
  • Dust and clean millwork, cornices and baseboards
  • Vacuum and mop floors

Outdoor areas

  • Mow grass, weed and trim edges
  • Remove leaves or debris in the pool
  • Sweep external areas
  • Empty and clean rubbish bins
  • Remove oil stains on driveway or in garage
  • Remove debris and cobwebs


  • Remove all rubbish from property
  • Hire a flea treatment and pest control professional
  • Book a carpet steam cleaning professional
  • Hire a blind cleaning professional
  • Hire a window cleaning professional
  • Book a tile and grout cleaning professional
  • Hire an oven cleaning professional
  • Hire an end of lease cleaning professional

End of Lease Process

  • Submit ending tenancy notice or receive vacate notice in writing without dispute
  • Confirm any arrangements in writing for agent / landlord to inspect / access property
  • Set the date for final inspection
  • Clean property and return it to its original condition
  • Arrange for carpet or steam cleaning and also any other professional cleaning if necessary
  • Take photos/videos of property condition and make your own condition report (especially relevant)
  • Reverse any changes you have done to the property
  • Pay remaining rent
  • Cancel direct debit if necessary
  • Disconnect all utilities supplied in your name
  • Take date-stamped photos of meters to file for record
  • Return keys and get a receipt or a signed photocopy
  • Bring bond refund form to final inspection
  • Attend or send a representative to final inspection
  • Resolve issues regarding property condition, if any
  • Sign bond refund form
  • Return keys and get a receipt or a signed photocopy
  • Bring bond refund form to final inspection
  • Attend or send another representative to the final inspection
  • Resolve issues regarding property condition, if any
  • Finally, Sign the bond refund form

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