MoveTipsThumbOk, Your lease is up in a few months and you are ready to move out of your rental home or apartment, where in the world do you start and what all needs done so you can recoup most of your deposit after you move out of a rental home?

There are a few things you should do to increase the likelihood of receiving a refund of your security deposit from a landlord. The first thing you should do is review your lease to see exactly what is required for moving out and also look at any pictures you may have taken before you moved in – the closer you can return the rental property to it’s original shape, the better!

Give adequate notice – Your lease may specify the required number of days or months that the landlord needs before you move out. Your lease may also say whether or not your notice should be verbal or a written “notice to vacate” the property at the end of your lease. If you are vacating the property before the end of your lease term, there may be other requirements; it is always important to communicate with your landlord to make sure you are not forgetting something.

Clean the rental – Depending on the number of months you spent in the rental home, it may seem overwhelming to think about cleaning the entire house before you leave; but again, make sure you review your lease documents to make sure you take care of the required cleaning so the landlord does not use a portion of your deposit to pay a cleaning company to come in and clean the rental property.

Some examples of the items that may need to be cleaned, by room, are listed below.


  • Cabinets – Be sure to open all cabinet doors and make sure all of your belongings have been removed, sweep out cabinets and if necessary wipe down shelves and cabinet doors.
  • Stove and oven – The oven can be a very scary place, depending on how often you used and/or cleaned the oven while renting the home. Make sure to purchase oven cleaner and clean out the oven as described in the oven instruction manual. 
  • Refrigerator – The refrigerator should also be wiped out using mild soap and water; including, shelves, drawers, doors and also the top of the refrigerator should also need to be cleaned.


Thoroughly clean the bathtub and shower using an approved cleaner for the surface to remove any soap scum, clean the toilet using the appropriate toilet cleaner, and clean / vacuum the floor where necessary.

All Rooms

Either after or while you are removing all of your belongings from each room, it is a good idea to look at the ceilings and walls of each room. If you hung pictures and decorations on the walls while renting the house, be sure to remove all nails and fill in the nail holes with dry wall mud or other approved product. Make sure all furniture is removed and closets are clear of your belongings, dust all ceiling fans / light fixtures / shades / blinds, sweep floors, clean walls where necessary, mop floors and wipe down all woodwork.

Finally after your rental lease term is over, adequate notice has been given and all of your property is removed from the home you may end up deciding to hire a cleaning company to come in and clean the house for you. This will save you the added stress of cleaning the rental unit yourself and you can begin focusing on the move. No matter what you choose – the most important thing is to make sure you are leaving your landlord with property that is either in the same or better condition than when you moved in.  Doing this will increase the likelihood that you will receive the bulk of your security deposit back.

If you have already arranged to buy or rent a new home, that is great! If you are still looking for a house to rent or if you are still looking for a house to buy, Homes & Land is your one-stop-shop for homes for rent and houses for sale. It is never too early or too late to start looking. You can even set up an email alert so you will be the first to be notified when a home fitting your specifications is listed for sale or for rent; and as always, Homes & Land works with many real estate agents that are ready to help and they are just a phone call or an email away!

Did we miss anything?  Feel free to leave your comments below, share your experiences and give tips to new renters, we appreciate your help!

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