As we count down to the height of PCS season, military service members and their families around the world are preparing for one moment that can have substantial financial impact – the move out inspection. AHRN.com checked in with former renter and current land lord Lisa Klinkhammer about what she looks for during a move out inspection.
Before I was married and settled down, I was a professional renter. Due to roommates coming and going I moved ALOT before I bought my own home as a single gal. For someone who often moves from one rented home to another, the ability to get your deposit back is a tremendous asset. Now as a landlord, we’re regularly finding that our home is not in rentable condition when it is turned over to us. If you have the time, puting your rented home back into rentable condition (just as you would want it when you first moved in) benefits both you and the home owner.
The last renter we had was a great Army family. We loved them and they were great tenants. They spent great amounts of time cleaning the house. On the surface it looked good, but once you looked close, it wasn’t deep cleaned. A home may be presentable, but is it rentable? All that time and energy during a stressful time may still leave getting dinged if the home isn’t in a clean enough condition to be turned directly over to new tenants.
Our biggest problems we have with our tenants is keeping the yard up. This takes the majority of our time and expenses as landlords — pulling weeds, raking, pruning bushes, tending to flowers, and getting the lawn back to healthy.
Carpet cleaning – get approved by landlord and keep receipts for everything to prove you did it. Make sure that the carpet cleaners took care of any pet odors or stains. Bleach marks can even be repaired by specialists and is cheaper than having to replace carpet!
Sample Landlord Turnover Task List
1) Carpet cleaning if it hasn’t already been done ($300)
2) Deep house cleaning (cupboards, drawers, top of cabinets, under fridge and washer / dryer / dishwasher. ($300)
3) Windows washed ($300)
4) Yard — general repair (weeded, mowed, water, cut back bushes, etc. ($300)
5) Power wash porch, walkways and patios ($200)
6) Clean garage
7) Touch up paint throughout house
8) Any repairs / replacements that need to occur
9) Replace all light bulbs (one of our tenants left nearly all of the light bulbs burnt out
10) Change out keys ($125)
We typically will not charge for all of these turnover prep tasks. Yet we will often spend $1,600+ out of our own pocket (we hire out all the services) to make it presentable and ready for the next person/military family. On average, our tenants lose $300-$600 of a $1,800 deposit depending on the condition of a home upon vacancy. The estimate on this list is for a 2,300 square foot home with two yards and a two car garage. Approximate the amounts for an apartment or smaller home.
What Can You Do?
- If you are going to take one step towards getting your deposit back, get in writing from your landlord exactly what you need to do. Some landlords don’t ever return the full deposit charging a cleaning fee automatically!
- Search for landlord/tenant laws regarding deposits return in your state to know your rights
- If you pay for services like move-out cleaning, review all the work done before you pay. Just because they “cleaned” doesn’t mean it was done right/well.
- If you don’t agree with the itemization of the deductions from your deposit, you can do one or all of these three things: 1) write the landlord disputing the deductions in question with thoughtful and proof-oriented documentation (like receipts for cleaning services), 2) ask the local housing office what you should do or 3) contact the local county/city housing authority and ask them about your tenant course of action.
Money Saving Tip: When every penny counts, look for deals on cleaning services. Groupon, Living Social, Angie’s List. You can get good deals on services OR post your jobs on places like Thumbtack and tell them what you want to pay.
We want to know:
What’s the toughest part of your move out clean for you?