When a rental term ends, landlords must return the security deposit of a tenant. However, conflicts can materialize especially concerning the cleanliness of the rental property. What may be defined as reasonably clean for the tenant may not match the expectations of the property owner. This can be resolved by proper end-of-tenancy cleaning. 

How is End of Tenancy Cleaning Defined?

Thorough cleaning at the end of the tenancy is required before a renter leaves the unit. This entails cleaning all parts of the rental from the furnishing and appliances to the floors and walls. The unit must in other words be placed back in its original state.

What is the Objective of End of Tenancy Cleaning?

The purpose of end-of-tenancy cleaning is to make sure that the condition of the rental place appears similar to the way it was before the occupancy of the renter. This can mean reverting back to the original state prior to changes due to unauthorized paint jobs and furniture damage. 

If not, then the renter’s security deposit may be affected and won’t be returned in its full amount. If the unit isn’t properly cleaned, then landlords can also make a claim on the security deposit. 

person spraying a cleaning solution onto a cloth

If a dispute arises between the property owner and tenant, then legal arbitrators may make the decision.

Cleanliness Level

When it comes to judging cleanliness, we all have different standards. Thus, conflicts can arise. However, renters are required to clean a property to match the state it was in prior to their residence. This is the required cleanliness level for end-of-tenancy cleaning.

If you’ve documented the state of the property by performing a property walkthrough for the move-in inspection, then it will be easy to do a comparison. The photos taken can be evidence of how a unit appears before a tenant’s stay. It can also be used by a renter to show professional cleaners the level of cleanliness they want to achieve. This ensures tenants can claim back the entire security deposit, provided that there is no property damage in sight.

Defining Normal Wear and Tear

Time passes and wear and tear results when your rental home is occupied. As a landlord, you can expect to see scratches on the floors, carpet stains, dull paint on walls, and sun-faded curtains. 

professional cleaner disinfecting a bathroom sink

But you can’t ask the tenants to pay for repair or replacement for furnishings that have undergone wear and tear. You can only deduct repair costs from their deposits if the damage occurred beyond wear and tear.

End of Tenancy Cleaning Inclusions

When a tenancy ends, the unit must be returned in an acceptable cleaned state. Tenants may consider hiring a cleaner but if they have time and want to save on the fees, they can also perform the cleaning task on their own. 

An end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist is necessary to make sure that all the rental areas are covered. Landlords should also inspect the property to ensure it’s rent-ready and can welcome prospective tenants who scheduled property showings.

Before doing the rental cleanup, it’s essential to get your equipment in order. Have the following on hand:

Here are the main areas that should be cleaned:

Walls, Doors, and Ceilings

  • Inspect the markings on the walls, then either do a cleanup or retouch with paint 
  • Wipe the light switches
  • Wipe down the surfaces and handles of doors and windows, including the frames
  • Clean mirrors for a polished surface
  • Dust windowsills and window frames


someone using a squeegee on a mirror

Fixtures and Furnishings

  • Dust the tops of closets, shelves, and cupboards
  • Clean curtain rods, mirrors, and picture frames
  • Dust off lampshades and light bulbs
  • Vacuum the sofa 
  • Clean the clutter of inside drawers and cupboards
  • Wipe the surfaces of desks and tables


  • Clean bathtubs and get rid of hard water stains
  • Scrub and clean the toilet using a toilet brush, disinfectant, and rubber gloves
  • Remove mold stuck to the tile grouts by using an old toothbrush
  • Wipe the basin and taps with vinegar or lemon juice to make it shiny


  • Use lemon juice or vinegar to clean the sink and kitchen taps
  • Wipe the kitchen countertops
  • Degrease the oven 
  • Get rid of the limescale from your kitchen sink
  • Clean out the items inside your refrigerator
  • Put disinfectant in trash cans once you empty them
  • Brush the wall tiles with an old toothbrush to ensure that the dirt is removed
  • Mop the kitchen floors
  • Do a detailed cleaning of small appliances, such as blenders, toasters, and kettles
  • Make sure the cutlery and dishware are clean and properly stored in the kitchen drawers
  • Clean large appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines


A dirty carpet can make a room less attractive. It’s also a common source of conflict for landlords and tenants. It’s best to keep them clean with a steam cleaning machine. You can either rent one or hire a professional cleaner to do the steam cleaning for you.

three carpet cleaners in red overalls holding vacuums and steamers

Keep it free from furniture temporarily to ensure that the entire carpet area will be steam-cleaned. This process eliminates plenty of stains and dirt. Do note that carpets must dry thoroughly to prevent bad odors since they can easily trap smells. This can take time so it’s best to do it as the final task. 

Outside Areas

The first thing prospective tenants will see is the outside of the unit. Knowing this, you must enhance your curb appeal. Make sure that clutter in the outdoor areas is removed. 

Schedule regular lawn maintenance and plant new grass. Rake leaves and remove weeds. With a clean rental home, inside and outside, advertising it to prospective renters will be a breeze.

Bottom Line

Cleaning the property at the end of a tenancy is a step that should not be overlooked. With this guide, you’ll be better able to keep your rentals clean so that the next tenant can fully enjoy the property. 

Are you looking for a trusted property manager to advertise your rental home or help keep it well-maintained? Contact T-Square Properties today! 

Disclaimer: This blog article is for informational purposes. The information contained in this blog article may not be the official policies of T-Square Properties.

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