You’ve packed all your belongings, hired a moving truck, and disconnected all your services. You’re all ready to move out, but there’s one last thing you might still be wondering, “Do I have to clean my apartment before moving out”?
Do I Have to Clean My Apartment Before Moving Out?
Well, we’ll keep it short and simple. The answer is Yes. According to Fair Trading NSW, a tenant must leave the premises in a reasonably clean condition, compared to the original condition report. It might seem the state of cleanliness is open to interpretation, but your real estate agent will use the original condition report to decide if you’re eligible for a full bond refund.
End of Lease Cleaning Requirements
A good place to start with learning about end of lease cleaning requirements is our previous Q & A article, What is a bond clean? Now there’s one particular instance where you might not be responsible for the cleanliness of the property, that’s in cases of fair wear and tear. Fair wear and tear is described as the “deterioration that occurs over time with the use of the premises even though the premises receive reasonable care and maintenance.”
Such deterioration could be caused by exposure, time or just by ordinary use. You are only liable for negligent, irresponsible or intentional actions that cause damage to the premises.
In cases like these, you might be able to forego any cleaning if the damage is beyond repair. A typical example of this is foregoing carpet cleaning if the landlord expects to replace them anyways. Of course, you should always check with your landlord or real estate agent before making any assumptions. This table found directly on the NSW Fair Trading website outlines specific instances where you might not be liable for the condition of the property.
Fair wear and tear
|Faded curtains or frayed cords||Missing curtains or torn by the tenant’s cat|
|Furniture indentations and traffic marks on the carpet||Stains or burn marks on the carpet|
|Scuffed up wooden floors||Badly scratched or gouged wooden floors|
|Faded, chipped or cracked paint||Unapproved paint job|
|Worn kitchen bench top||Burns or cuts in the bench top|
|Loose hinges or handles on doors or windows and worn sliding tracks||Broken glass from one of your children hitting a ball through the window|
|Cracks in the walls from movement||Holes in walls left by tenant removing picture hooks or shelves they had installed|
|Water stain on carpet from rain through leaking roof or bad plumbing||Water stain on carpet caused by overflowing bath or indoor pot plants|
Hiring Professional Cleaners
Now that you’re aware of your responsibilities as a tenant, you might be wondering if you should tackle the clean yourself. Here are a few scenarios that should help you decide whether to hire the professionals or to put on your own pair of cleaning gloves.
Live in a studio apartment? Depends.
Most of the cleans we do for studio apartments are for young professionals who can’t be fussed about doing the cleans themselves. With a team of two, it usually takes us anywhere from 2-4 hours. A single person could likely tackle this over the span of a few days.
Even if you have minimal cleaning experience, with a little research and some elbow grease you can do a decent job on your own. You’ll likely have to stock up on supplies, but our end of lease cleaning checklist will help make sure you have everything covered.
Share your space with flatmates? Definitely.
If you share an apartment with others, hiring bond cleaners is a smart choice. Moving out can be especially difficult when more than one person is involved. If you decide to tackle the cleaning yourselves, it’s difficult to fairly divide all of the work. This can lead to disagreements on top of the already-stressful moving process. Entrusting the cleaning to someone else means that you won’t resent your flatmates for not cleaning the bathroom thoroughly enough, and that no one will be stuck with extra work as moving day approaches. The best part about living with flatmates, you can split the cost of the clean, making it even more affordable.
Have a picky real estate agent? Definitely.
If the real estate agent who manages your property is extra picky, doing the cleaning yourself probably isn’t worth the financial risk. By using a cleaning company, especially ones with a guaranteed service, you can always have the cleaners come back until your agent is satisfied. We’ve also found in many cases, a real estate agent is more lenient with tenants, knowing that they’ve already paid for professional services “out of pocket”.
Your Property is already “spotless”? Depends.
You may think that because your home is currently spotless, you won’t need a move out cleaning, but you could be wrong. When’s the last time that you’ve vacuumed under your couch, degreased your range hood, or seen what’s hiding under the fridge? Many people don’t realise that the act of moving itself can leave a huge mess and in the process open your eyes to areas of your home you’ve never had to clean before.
Have a large bond? Definitely.
If you’re renting in Sydney, there’s a good chance your bond is relatively high – often a month’s worth of rent. If your apartment isn’t as clean as when you moved in, you could potentially lose hundreds or thousands of dollars. By hiring a bond cleaning company, you let your real estate agent know that you’ve done everything you can to keep the rental property in “good condition”, giving you the best chance at getting a full bond refund.
Lastly. Know Your Rights.
Hopefully, after this read, you can finally answer the question of, “Do I have to clean my apartment before moving out”? If you’re unsure about the rules and regulations concerning getting your bond back, the Tenants Union NSW and Fair Trading NSW are amazing resources to freshen up on your rental knowledge. It’s worth the effort to dig through them if you’re planning to stay in the rental market in the near future.