End of Your Lease: 5 Places to Look before Your Landlord Does

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End of Your Lease: 5 Places to Look before Your Landlord Does

Staff Writer · Sep 13, 2010

At the end of your lease, you can expect your landlord to inspect the apartment. It’s a sad thought, but some landlords do all that they can to not return the full security deposit or any of it. They look at everything closely, and try to find the smallest defect to charge tenants for. You’ll be amazed at the places your landlord looks, and knowing what they are can help you hold on to more of your security deposit.

1 – Walls and Doors

After you take everything down from the walls, check for nail holes. Your landlord will deduct money from your security deposit if you don’t fill the holes yourself. If there many holes all over the walls, you might consider filling them and painting the walls. If you leave it to the landlord to paint, it may cost you double or triple the costs of doing it yourself. Check doors as well, especially in bedrooms where you may have hung up full length mirrors.

2Behind the Fridge

You may not have ventured behind the fridge during your entire tenancy, but your landlord will. He’ll move the fridge out to look for damages to the floor and to the back and side walls. If the refrigerator is near the stove, there might be splashes of oil and sauce on the walls behind the fridge that you’ll want to clean up before your landlords sees it. Don’t forget to clean the fridge itself, including the shelves.

3 – Behind the Toilet

Cleaning the toilet is great, but you have to do a thorough job and clean behind it. Dirt and grime on the toilet structure itself is gross, and the landlord may hire someone to clean it. Those costs will come right out of your security deposit. Save money by doing it yourself, no matter how unpleasant it is.

4 – In the Oven

It’s tough trying to clean an oven, unless it’s a self-cleaning one. It’s even harder to clean if you put it off until you move out. You may not think it’s a big deal, but your landlord will. An oven is a major appliance that will attract the next tenant, and if it’s in poor condition, the landlord may miss opportunities to rent the apartment. Don’t give your landlord an opportunity to deduct money from your deposit over an oven. You can make a homemade oven powder, mixing borax with washing soda if you’re concerned about the chemicals of store-bought oven cleaners.

5 – Inside Cabinets

Your landlord did not open your cabinets during the rent term, unless he had to make repairs. When you move out, he’ll go through them looking for damages and dirt. You need to clean it out first, so that he doesn’t find any. Be careful not to damage the cabinets as you try to clean or repair them yourself.

A general rule to follow is to repair or clean filth and discolored areas in the apartment. Those are the subtle problems that your landlord will be looking for, aside from obvious repairs.

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