Property Management Blog

End of Tenancy Cleaning Guide

Pinnacle Property Management - Wednesday, October 12, 2022

As a landlord, it helps to be aware of your rights and duties when it comes to an end-of-tenancy cleaning. Risks are involved when you have renters occupying your property but this is even more relevant when your property is vacant again.

An end-of-tenancy cleaning is vital and you must focus on reverting your rental unit back to its original state before the last tenants moved in. A lot of conflicts surrounding the deposit can arise between the landlords and renters but this can be easy to resolve with proper end-of-tenancy cleaning.

Defining End-of-Tenancy Cleaning

End-of-tenancy cleaning is a deep cleaning procedure performed at the property before a tenant leaves. It’s expected that cleaning is conducted on all areas of the property. This covers the floors, walls, carpets, furniture, and appliances, so the space matches its original state prior to being rented out.

Purpose of End-of-Tenancy Cleaning

Tenants should return the property back to its original condition before they move out. This covers all physical property changes, such as unauthorized paint jobs or furniture damages, including the degree of cleanliness. If not, then the renter may be requested to pay for the damages or changes using their security deposit.

Two people holding cardboard boxes in front of their faces

Unsatisfied landlords can put a claim on the deposit when the unit isn’t maintained well, property damage is apparent, or the rental place appears to be a mess. If the landlord and tenant can’t agree, the decision may be left to legal professionals.

Degree of Cleanliness

We all have different standards of what clean can mean, which is the main reason why end-of-tenancy cleaning can result in a disagreement. Landlords can only require tenants to clean a property the way it was presented at the start of their tenancy. This should be the main reference for end-of-tenancy cleaning.

Performing a walkthrough inspection before or when a tenant moves in makes it easy to see how the rental home appears prior to the tenant’s stay. Photos can even be used as proof. If the tenants engage the services of a professional cleaner, they can point out the level of cleanliness they want to achieve. This can help tenants claim back their security deposit.

Defining Normal Wear and Tear

Over time, wear and tear naturally occurs when a renter lives on your property. You can expect to see scuffed floors, faded paint, or carpet stains. It’s unfair for landlords to ask renters to pay for these expenses. Only damages outside normal wear and tear can be justified for deposit deductions. 

Make sure to get a forwarding address from your tenant so that they can get all or a portion of their security deposit back. This will also make it easier to forward mail from previous tenants to their new address.

A person standing on a ladder painting a wall while another person holds the ladder

End of Tenancy Cleaning Checklist

Once the tenants leave, it can take a lot of time to clean but doing it yourself will probably cost less than hiring a professional cleaner. Both landlords and tenants can check out this end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist to ensure that all parts of the rental unit are covered.

Tenants should have an inventory list on hand to make sure all details are included. Landlords should check that the property is in top condition and ready to be shown to new tenants.

To start, it’s important to have all the equipment ready for the cleanup of each room. Mops, microfiber cloths, cleaning products, and a vacuum cleaner should all be available. Since you’ll probably be using the kitchen while you clean, work on it last.

Walls, Doors, and Ceilings

  • Assess the scuff marks on the walls, then decide to either use a magic eraser sponge or retouch with paint.
  • Wipe the light switches and socket areas.
  • Wipe down the surfaces of the doors and handles, including at the top, where dust tends to accumulate.
  • Remove cobwebs from the ceiling.

Fixtures and Furnishings

  • Clean the top of any mirrors, picture frames, and curtain rods.

  • Dust off lampshades and light bulbs.

  • Vacuum the sofa.

  • Clean the insides of drawers and cupboards.

  • Polish the surfaces of desks and tables.

Cropped image of a person in green holding a spray bottle and a tea towel


  • Clean bathtubs, taking care to remove hard water stains.

  • Scrub and clean the toilet using a toilet brush, disinfectant, and rubber gloves.

  • Get rid of mold clinging to the tile grout by using an old toothbrush.

  • Polish the basin and taps using vinegar or lemon juice for additional shine.


  • Wipe the kitchen countertops.

  • Degrease the oven.

  • Clean the refrigerator by emptying all the items and wiping or washing all the surfaces inside.

  • Clean the kitchen sink and get rid of limescale from the taps.

  • Empty out the garbage bins and disinfect them afterward.

  • Clean the floors.

  • Do an inside-out cleanup of the microwave oven and small appliances such as blenders, toasters, and kettles.

  • Clean the cutlery and other dishware and carefully store them inside the drawers.

  • Perform an inside-out cleanup of large appliances, such as the washing machine and dishwasher.


Carpets can really make a room look dirty, even if every other part is clean. Carpets are cleaned using a steam cleaning machine. You can rent a machine or pay a professional to do it. You need to vacuum first and move the furniture so all parts of the carpet are steam-cleaned. 

If done properly, a lot of stains can be removed with a good steam cleaning. Remember that the carpet may take a while to dry completely. 

A property manager signing a lease in a house with a family of two adults and one child

Outdoor Areas

Since prospective renters see the appearance of your rental home from the outside, it’s critical to focus on your curb appeal. Trash must be removed and garbage cans must be cleaned and emptied. 

You should also schedule lawn mowing and remove weeds from the garden. Leaves must be swept away and debris taken out from the patios. A jet wash is recommended to get rid of dirt and mold.

Get Professional Property Management Help

Now that your rental home is thoroughly cleaned, it will be easy to market it, attract renters and generate good rental earnings. 

If you need help marketing your unit, attending to its maintenance and repair, screening tenants, or collecting rent, contact Pinnacle Property Management today!

Pinnacle Property Management
CA DRE # 01905815
22700 Crenshaw Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90505
Ph: (310) 530-0606
Fax: (310) 626-9786

We are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm M-F.

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