More than a quarter of renters have forfeited their security deposits at some time during their tenure as tenants. In most jurisdictions, landlords may be justified in collecting a portion of the deposit if the apartment is filthy and will cost them money to restore. When this happens, the landlord should list the specific details of the cleaning on an account. The renter should also have some extra time to make corrections to their habits.
It's good to put things away in storage containers and closets, even if you think you'll need them later, because it will help protect your deposit. If you do lose your deposit, cleaning the HVAC vents could be a good idea for future tenants.
Exploring the Responsibilities of the Previous Tenant and Landlord
When you're moving out of your home, you'll need to complete a thorough cleaning before you leave and restore the property to its original state. You must draw a clear line between what the renter is expected to do when he or she moves out and what is expected of the landlord when he or she returns.
Landlords must clean up after prior tenants since new tenants aren't liable for what they leave behind, and landlords aren't expected to do so if previous tenants left behind a mess. It may be hectic for landlords during the in-between time, but they should not compromise on keeping their properties clean.
Let's take a look at what the landlord is responsible for cleaning between renters and what must be included in the process.
Landlords must ensure that the house is ready for the next resident. This is often known as a "walk-through." For this reason, they must ensure that the house is in good repair. Although the prior tenants will do the worst of the work when they move out, the landlord needs to correct any minor repairs that remain.
The landlord must remove any trash left behind by the previous tenant, repair any damage to the unit, and make sure the property is clean and ready to rent out.
If a dog or cat lived in the property during the previous lease, the landlord must make sure the unit is cleaned of any pet dander.
Besides maintaining cleanliness, the landlord must make sure the unit is free of pests, including rodents and insects. They should show the unit to potential renters if they come to see the house while it is being cleaned. Letting them in will speed up the process of finding a new tenant.
If the landlord doesn't take care of these tasks, the new tenant can refuse to lease the house or ask for a reduced rental rate. In most cases, the landlord will clean the unit and make any needed repairs before the lease begins.
How often does a landlord need to redo the walk-through?
In many cases, the landlord will do a walk-through the first time a new tenant moves in. At that time, the landlord should ask for a security deposit.
The landlord may also request a final walk-through to ensure nothing has been left behind or damaged. This is an apparent good time to return the security deposit to the tenant.
Previous Tenant's Responsibilities
A landlord will often have a checklist that a tenant must follow when moving out. Take a look at the initial agreement or lease to make sure it's clear what you are responsible for and what the landlord is responsible for. Follow this tips so you don’t get lost:
Don't assume that your landlord will cover all the cleaning once you move out; the lease or agreement often requires you to clean the house yourself. Returning it to its original state should help you avoid being held liable for cleaning it, although your landlord might still charge you a fee.
As a renter, you are responsible for ensuring your apartment is living up to the agreement you've made with your landlord. By adequately moving out of your apartment, you can't be held responsible for anything after you move out. As a landlord, you should take pictures before showing the property to new tenants, just in case any issues arise after the tenant has moved in.
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