Move-Out Cleaning Checklist for Renters + Template

by Candace Smith | Published: Dec 8, 2021

Moving is stressful. There's no way to describe the process of switching homes without acknowledging the frequent chaos, scheduling issues and lengthy to-do lists. Both landlords and tenants alike have to manage multiple tasks, making it easy to forget simple  details. 

One of the more common tasks to miss during a move-out is cleaning. Sometimes, you'll only have to deal with replacing a few light bulbs, but other times you'll be stuck with unscrubbed toilets or blackened ovens. To ensure that everything gets done and nothing is overlooked by any parties, consider a move-out cleaning checklist. 

Here's what you need to include. Use our template for a move-out cleaning checklist to help you format your own.

PDF | Word

Required professional services

Some people are happy with a tenant's DIY, others prefer a professional treatment for things like carpets or painting. Define any professional services in your lease and remind tenants in your move-out cleaning checklist.

Walls, windows and ceilings

When you provide a move-out cleaning checklist, make sure to include details about walls and windows. If blinds are included in the rental, they'll need to be cleaned. Consider adding  walls as they can get dirty too. Some landlords prefer that walls be repainted when the lease concludes. Don't forget to add baseboards, molding, dusting window sills and wall ledges, window washing and ceiling fan cleaning as needed to your list. Nail holes and wall damage from hanging or decorating should also be repaired or any other damages caused by the tenant.. However, you may have included those damages to be covered with the security deposit. 

Floors and stairs

Perhaps the most noticeable detail in a move-out cleaning checklist is making sure floors and stairs are restored correctly. Many landlords prefer that carpets be professionally cleaned, but hard flooring can typically be cleaned by the tenant. Tiles and grout should be clean and free of mold or mildew, linoleum should be well washed and swept, and hardwood or luxury vinyl should be cleaned as directed by the manufacturer. 

Kitchen cabinets and appliances

One of the most expensive fixes in a rental can be replacing large kitchen items or appliances, so don't forget to add this to your move-out cleaning checklist. A standard appliance should last on average on average for 12 years, so take this into account when inspecting for damage vs regular wear and tear.

Kitchen cabinets should be free from dust or debris as well as any food residue. Take a moment to also check for signs of pests such as ants or rodents while they're empty. Food residues can be especially hard to remove from refrigerators or cooking appliances, so make sure these are listed on your expectations for move out and consider professional cleaning requirements if there is heavy build-up from use. 

Underneath the sink and drains should also be both clean and in working order. Turn on faucets to check for both cleanliness and potential repairs. And lastly, trash and recycling should be emptied, especially if there is an expected delay before the new tenant moves in.

Bathroom fixtures and laundry

Bathrooms and laundry rooms can be prone to mold and leaks. Regular cleaning and maintenance updates by a tenant should prevent these issues from ever becoming serious, but it's not something you want to miss upon an inspection. Clean bath and laundry should include tub, tile, shower surroundings and/or curtains, sinks, drains, toilets including the tank and all other surfaces. Make sure washers and dryers are opened and a cleaning cycle is run if they have a mildew smell, as well as all easily accessible filters, have been cleaned. 

Yards, garages and patios

If your rental home has a yard, garage or patio — you should also expect these to be part of your move-out cleaning checklist. While clearly outdoor facilities cannot be spotless due to weather and use, the basics still apply. All debris should be removed and sweepable areas swept. Yard maintenance should be done according to your lease agreement as well.

A larger concern with outdoor spaces is that tenants will leave trash or belongings behind. Don't forget to include proper disposal of unwanted or damaged items in your checklist so you aren't tasked with hauling junk later. 

A clean home is a happy home

There are so many different areas that should be cleaned and inspected upon move-out. Remember to include any cleaning responsibilities for the renter in their lease and  make sure they have complied by completing a thorough walk-through during the move-out.

Categories: Landlords, Moving

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author