It’s moving day. You pack the last box in the truck and survey your empty apartment – the dusty blinds, dirty linoleum, and empty boxes and garbage strewn across the floor. The thought crosses your mind that you should clean more thoroughly, but instead you shrug your shoulders and leave.
Three weeks later you receive a letter from your landlord, notifying you that he or she is keeping $200 of your security deposit for cleaning. You are outraged – $200 seems an exorbitant sum to charge for cleaning. Besides, you didn’t leave the apartment that dirty.
Rental experts say the most common security deposit deduction is for cleaning and that these deductions typically cost tenants $100 to $200.
Defending your cleaning
In some states, including Arizona, landlords are allowed to collect non-refundable cleaning deposits. If you have a landlord who has taken advantage of such a law, leaving your apartment a mess is OK, since you’ve already paid the $75 or so for your landlord to clean when you’re gone.
But if your landlord doesn’t collect a cleaning fee, you’ll want to leave your apartment as clean as it was the day you moved in. If you don’t, you could lose part of your security deposit.
In order to avoid a dispute with your landlord over cleaning, document the fact that you’ve cleaned thoroughly.
Doing the cleaning yourself may seem easy enough, but there are areas that are commonly overlooked by amateur cleaners. Here is a list of frequently forgotten spots:
Wash cabinet fronts.
Shower, sink and toilet – Clean with mildew stain remover. Don’t leave the shower or sink wet. Also remember to clean inside the crevices of the shower door frame and wipe down the body of the toilet.
Mirrors – Be sure to use an anti-streaking glass cleaner.
Floors – Vacuum and sweep the entire apartment (the closets and cabinets, too).
Walls – Dust and clean the drapes, curtains or blinds.
Hidden areas – Dust the tops of door frames and molding.
Before you leave, ask your landlord if you should shampoo the rugs. If they have stains, you will want to hire a professional rug cleaner in Las Vegas or rent a rug-cleaning machine, especially if you have grease stains.