Moving can be a stressful process, and many renters worry about whether their security deposit will be returned. This article will explain what you can do to give yourself the best chance of passing a move-out inspection. Remember that clear communication with your landlord or property manager is key in ensuring the return of your deposit.

Check your lease

Before you plunge into cleaning, check your lease and any other paperwork you received upon move-in to see if anything is mentioned about move-out requirements. For example, the terms of your lease may require that you pay for professional carpet cleaning.  
Some landlords will give you a checklist to fill out upon move-in that notes the condition of various items. If you still have that checklist, it makes a great starting point for cleaning as it will tell you exactly what features of the apartment your landlord will focus on during move-out inspection.

Clean intelligently

Clean rooms from the top down. Dust high shelves and ledges first, then move on to tables and furniture. This way, according to Apartment Guideyou won’t find yourself needing to sweep the floor a second time after it has collected debris from aboveSimilarly, when sweeping or mopping a room start from a back corner and work your way to the door.

Don’t leave anything behind

Leaving odds and ends is at best an annoyance to your landlord, and at worst might result in you being charged the cost of removal. The exception to this rule is leaving behind small courtesy items, such as a roll of toilet paper and some hand soap in the bathroom or dish detergent under the sink. However, when in doubt, take it with you. The new tenant may not share your taste in cleaning products.

Improve your curb appeal

Your patio, lawn, and garage are all part of your rental property. These spaces should be neat and presentable when you hand over the keys.

Pay special attention to appliances

The stovetop, refrigerator, and dishwasher are among the first things landlords check during an inspection. Putting the effort into deep cleaning these high-traffic areas will reflect a positive image of your overall approach to apartment maintenance.

Inspect the walls

Patch up any holes in the drywall left from hanging paintings and photographs. If you repainted any walls, check your lease to see if you are required to restore the walls to their original color.

Cover your bases

Don’t let your hard work go to waste. Be sure your landlord has a forwarding address where they can mail your deposit, and see if you can arrange an in-person inspection. They may give you the chance to correct any problems before you leave. If an inspection is not possible, take photos or video that clearly show the condition of every room. Focus on trouble spots like carpeting and appliances.

Find out how much your move costs!