If you are moving with little notice or have a complicated long-distance move, it can be complicated to schedule a time to clean your home after your belongings have been packed but before you have to leave the area. If you will not be around for your final cleaning, you can still hire a cleaning service, such as Kathy's Quality Cleaning, Inc., to conduct a move out cleaning. However, there are a few things you should do to make sure you will get your deposit back from your landlord if you are not there to check the cleaning after it is completed.
Have Your Cleaners Take Photos After They Have Finished
Photos are not only a way to check the quality of your cleaning service. They also act as proof that you can submit to your landlord if they attempt to keep part of your deposit as a cleaning fee. Ideally, you will have pictures from the day you moved in to compare with these final photos.
You should leave a list of items you want photos of with your cleaners. Common problem items include the inside of appliances, windows, and floorboards. If you request photos, make sure that you leave an email address where the photos can be sent. If the cleaning service you choose is unable to accommodate your request, you should ask a friend to stop by your home after the cleaners have finished to take photos of the place.
Provide a Thorough Cleaning Checklist for Your Cleaners
Before ordering a cleaning service, ask your landlord if they have a move out checklist. If they do, you should compare this checklist with what the cleaners provide. If your landlord does not have a checklist, you can create your own move out checklist for your cleaners to follow. If your cleaners are unable to accommodate certain requests, you will know that you have to complete them on your own before your move or pay extra for those services.
Agree On a Cleaning Service With Your Landlord
If you can get your landlord to agree on a cleaning service with you, they may be willing to deduct the amount of the service from your deposit. This gives you greater freedom in scheduling the cleaning appointment for a time after you have moved out, as your landlord can schedule the cleaning for a time that works best for them.
While you won't get the full amount of your deposit back, you will know exactly how much you should expect to get back and your landlord will not be able to argue that the cleanliness of the apartment is not up to their standards. Using your deposit to pay for a cleaning is also a good idea if your deposit will not be returned immediately and you need access to cash for your move.
Schedule a Deep Cleaning 2-3 Days Before You Move and a Light Cleaning After You Have Moved Out
If you have the funds, schedule a deep cleaning before you are finished packing. After the cleaning, invite your landlord over to inspect the property and ask them what needs to be completed for your deposit to be returned in full. Preferably, get this statement in writing from your landlord.
If very little needs to be done after the deep cleaning, you can simply sweep or vacuum after you have finished moving your belongings out. If your landlord insists that more deep cleaning needs to be done, you have time to do it yourself, debate with your landlord, or hire a cleaning service for specific areas in your home.
Have a Plan for the Return of Your Keys
Finally, you do not want to get charged a fee for changing the locks because the cleaning service has your keys. Make sure you have the cleaning service leave the keys in your apartment or return them to a friend or your landlord. You may have to fill out a form with your cleaning service to allow the release of your keys to someone other than yourself.
With a full deep cleaning and a plan for documentation, there is no reason that your landlord should keep part of your deposit for cleaning expenses.