Vacant Apartment Cleaning Checklist for a Landlord

By: ROS Team

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What is the Apartment Transition Period?

When the tenant decides to leave the apartment be it personal or professional reasons and is no longer interested in the renewal of the lease, the process is called an apartment transition period or turnover. The process involves maintenance, repair, and cleaning before signing a new lease for the apartment.

The goal for the leaving tenant is to bring the condition of the apartment as close as possible to the new apartment.

We have brought the following instructions to assist you in your goal.

For Landlord:

The best strategy for the landlord is to schedule a visit by consulting the tenant who is leaving the apartment. Reach the apartment at the agreed date and do a thorough inspection along with the tenant. Better to keep a notepad to jot down necessary repairs. Once you are done with the inspection, share the notes with the tenant for the required maintenance.

It will not help you get your apartment in order but also make the process smooth for hiring a new tenant.

Note: you may take the help of any professional to do this task on your behalf. Though it would cost you some money in the long run, you would save more than what you will spend.

For Tenants:

Though it is the landlord’s responsibility to do the required work in the vacant apartment the moving out tenant shall shoulder some of the burdens, as well as they, have had their best time in the apartment.

It goes in the best interests of a tenant to do a thorough cleaning of the houses for the following reasons:

  • First, returning the apartment in the condition you took it in the first place leaves no room for the landlord to hold your security deposit.
  • If you leave the apartment in good condition, your landlord would happily give you a recommendation letter for the new lease which turns out to be the best thing you will be able to walk away with from the previous apartment.

Start from the recommended list from your landlord if there was an inspection done by the landlord. Make sure to tick all the boxes mentioned by the landlord on the list.

Read Also: Who is Responsible for Cleaning in between Tenants or Landlord?

The best idea is to do the repairing work before starting the final cleaning so you do not have to do it twice. Do the following repairing:

cleaning the window

  • Renew the Air Filters:

You might think everything is working fine but the truth is their shelf life is likely to be over as previous tenants have had the best time with these facilities. Now it is ethical to replace old air filters with new ones. It does not cost too much but it adds value to your credibility.

  • Replace the Toilet Seats:

Step in the shoes of a new tenant for while and you would exactly know what she would have liked in her new home. Change all the seat covers for new ones as well.

  • Change the Fused Lights:

Usually, there are multiple light bulbs are installed in each area. Over some time, they get fused.  Normally we don’t pay much attention to them as the functioning lights do the job for us. Since the apartment is vacant now, you shall consider changing which has gone out of order.

  • Complete the Set of Keys for All Lockers in the Unit:

There are two reasons for doing so. First, new tenants get a complete set of keys for every locker but in day-to-day activities, few get lost and we no longer can track them.

Second, your new tenant needs to feel safe and a new complete set of keys would ensure that.

  • Screw Up All the Nuts and Bolts:

If it has been a long time since the previous tenant moved out, you shall consider screwing up all the nuts and bolts again. One major reason for that is through the previous tenant would have returned your apartment in a good look by doing deep cleaning but it is less likely that they would have gone to such details. And in wear and tear, nuts and bolts of different things get loose. It is high time to tighten things up again.

  • Make Sure the Drainage System Works Fine:

This is another neglected area where usually people do not notice but it is the most important point. You are supposed to make sure that not only the drainage system works fine inside the apartment but outside the manhole as well. It usually does not come under observation at initial inspection by the tenants but since they come over to live and find out the drainage system s not working, it creates trouble for both parties.

  • Fix the Broken or Damaged Corners of the Walls:

Usually, corners of the walls get broken and they don’t look a big mess in routine but they do look bad in the vacated apartment. You shall make the most of this opportunity as you usually don’t find the apartment compete vacated. So hold this opportunity well and repair the broken corners and fill in the rough patches on walls.

You Might Skip the Following:

We keep our focus on major things that we miss out on small details. You should keep the following checklist:

  • Spare some moments for the lights and wipe the dust around them.
  • In the wake of the pandemic, it is even mandatory. Disinfect the areas in a room you touch such as doorknobs and handles.
  • Once done with them, clean the fans, ceiling, and vents.
  • In the last, do the dusting of windows.


Traditionally, the moving out tenant returns the apartment in good shape but they usually do not go on such details. So, as a landlord, you shall make the most of this time and work on minor details to give a new tenant a pleasant experience.

Related Article:

How to Write Notice to Vacate Letter to Landlord
Tips For Writing a Notice to Vacate Rental Property