Changing tenants and cleaning

7 Replies

I am transitioning between tenants and was wondering how other landlords handle getting the rental clean for the new renters. Do you bring in a cleaner or do it yourself? When do you clean it? Is it the last day of the old lease or the first day of the new lease?

@Tyson Goodnight

This is what I do: I have it in my contract and always follow up verbally or by e-mail to let them know what our expectations are.  It goes a little something like this: "I am giving you a freshly painted, freshly clean and functional house.  If you want 100% of your deposit, you will return it to me the same way and I don't think it's unreasonable.  Before they move out, I e-mail and mail them a list of TO-DO items prior to move out.  I try to be succinct and keep it to a one-pager so that it isn't overwhelming for them.  Next to the items, there is a price that basically says, if you don't do THIS, I will do it for THIS MUCH.  When they see the prices, they normally make an attempt.  Some don't care and you keep a good piece of the deposit which always helps offset the cleaning and painting.  Either way, open and honest communication is key and I let them know that this isn't a hobby for me, it's a business and I treat it that way.  There is some delicateness that may be required depending on the tenant but at the end of the day, don't tolerate being forced to paying more than you need for tenant turnover.  I clean it after the final-walk through.  I'll either do the walk-thru myself if I am able, or pay someone to do it for me.  Always have pictures of before they rent and then pictures afterward in case there is a dispute.  Good luck!

Hi Tyson,

We start cleaning and any necessary repairs or updates as soon as the unit is empty, and schedule enough time before the new lease starts to get it done.   On our tiny studio that has new floors and fresh paint, the new tenant moves in a day after the old one leaves and we'll just give the apartment a once over.  On a larger apartment that is new to us we expect to take a little more time- knowing the previous landlord didn't clean between tenants, there are repairs to be made, and we plan to paint- I have 10 days.  We could do with less time but the new tenants couldn't move any sooner...

If the apartment was going to sit empty for a while, I would clean it right after the lease ends- best time to spot any repairs to be made and anything that might need to be deducted from the security deposit.  Then just do a quick once over to take care of any dust or debris before the new ones move in,


we tried to show it while the tenant was still there/moving out, but that didn't work.

so now we wait until they are out, we itemize damages and issue refund, etc. then we paint, fix and list as soon as possible. depending on your market/price point, you might lose 15 days or so. we always lose at least a month. we are losing a tenant end of august, so i am hoping to increase the lease by at least $75 per month

I am currently rewriting all my leases to cover the little details such as this.

In Florida a Landlord may charge for cleaning.  The advice is that you have to determine what the hourly rate average for this service is, determine the amount of time you spent cleaning, any cleaning supplies (keep receipts or at least scanned copies)

As Juan Christales mentioned it is best to put the cleaning expectations on move out into the lease with a range of fees, in Florida you should note that they could be charged less or more depending on the amount of cleaning, and supplies required.

Lastly in Florida HVAC filters are normally the responsibility of the tenant to change.  Check the HVAC and Heat systems and if they need to be cleaned you need to calculate the amount based off the last time it was cleaned to determine tenant's portion of the bill.

Anyone ever leave a "welcome" basket for new tenants upon move in? 

An apartment I moved in did this (the only one, ever). It had TP, some local restaurant menus, local services/utility numbers (cable, police, electrical, etc), and a few other nick-knacks. It made me feel special. Not everyone would leave a place the way they moved in or not damage your investment, but little things like that might go a long way with the relationship.

I agree with others to be honest and open with communication and put EVERYTHING in writing. You need back up in case things go south and have to go to court or evict. Make the lease agreement your go to document for you and them. Put in all your unacceptable behaviors that would cause eviction. I'm sure you can think of a few right of the top of your head.

And for goodness sake, always have your place professionally cleaned, unless you are good at DIY. Never let it go with the tenant cleaning. Although I clean every place I have lived and left it exactly the way when I moved in, not all tenants are thoughtful and considerate.