When a tenant has vacated a property, there are many things to consider before filling that vacancy with a new tenant. One of the final tasks to complete, is also one of the most important: cleaning. It sounds simple, but cleaning is a “must.” In addition to doing the right thing, and giving the new tenant a fresh start in their new home, it is also very important during the marketing of the home. And as we have discussed in the past, starting off on the right foot leads to a happier, and often lengthier, tenancy. In a strong rental market, turning off prospective tenants due to a dirty unit is something an owner can’t afford.
In an article by BiggerPockets entitled, “9 Tips for Cleaning Your Rental Between Tenants,” landlords can get a good idea of things not to overlook. Here are their tips:
1. Require Tenants to Clean Thoroughly
Give your tenants a detailed checklist covering both the major items and the smaller details you expect them to take care of. Ideally, providing a checklist minimizes the amount of cleaning you’ll have to follow up with. If your tenants follow your checklist to the letter, your final walkthrough will be a breeze.
2. Replace Old Furnishings and Appliances
You can clean things for awhile, but after a certain point, it’s simply better to replace them. Refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and other appliances should be replaced once they start to become grimy and difficult to keep clean. If you have furnishings in your apartment, it’s a good idea to consider replacement items. A mattress, for example, can only be cleaned so many times. If it’s old and dirty, you’ll have a harder time showing properties and collecting a decent amount of rent. It’s better to replace an old mattress with one that fits your budget.
3. Stock Up on Magic Erasers
Magic Erasers work miracles. When your tenant doesn’t clean something to your standards, a Magic Eraser can shine things up in no time. As a landlord, you can also stock up on a number of industrial cleaning supplies. These commercial supplies work much better than what you can get over the counter, but they’re not readily available to the general public.
4. Hire a Company to Clean the Blinds
It’s good for tenants to dust the blinds before they leave, but you’ll want them to be careful. It’s easy for blinds to break, depleting your reserve savings. You could spend hours working on the blinds yourself, but a blind-cleaning company can do them in no time with special equipment, and they’ll be much cleaner in the end.
5. Check for Maintenance Needs
Before the next tenant arrives, quickly check your property for any maintenance needs: Think repair damage (such as holes in the walls), broken window locks, or leaky sinks. It’s rare that a tenant will leave a property in perfect condition, and you want it as clean and inviting as possible.
6. Consider an Inspection
Depending on certain factors, like your city’s laws and the last tenant that resided in the unit, you may want to have an inspection done. An inspector will look for health and safety concerns and certify that things are in good condition. At the end, the inspector will issue a certificate of occupancy, which can make your property more marketable.
7. Clean Forgotten Places
Even if tenants follow your meticulous checklist, they’re likely to forget a few places. It’s understandable for tenants to miss a few things, but if these spots are not cleaned, grime will build up over time and make the property less attractive to renters.
Check places like outlets and light switch covers, under the lip of the countertop, the tops of the baseboards, and other nooks and crannies. A careful inspection of the property can reveal these missed areas.
8. Don’t Forget the Outside
The property’s exterior is often just as important as the interior, especially if you’re renting a single family home or a small apartment building. Dirty sidewalks, driveways, porches, gutters, siding, windows, and doors can leave a bad impression. Rent or buy a pressure washer to handle the outdoor grime and keep the landscaping fresh and neat.
9. Clean Carpets and Paint
Although you may not need to paint or clean the carpets after each tenant vacates the property, you should do so regularly. Carpet can collect germs that can be hazardous to your next tenants. Paint will also cover marks on the walls, tiny holes, and other wear and tear common with rental properties.
To view the BiggerPockets article in its entirety, click here.