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This could be due to small issues in the home overlooked by tenants – even after a routine clean and moving out your furniture there are often issues that can eat into your bond, Amy Sanderson general manager for property management at LJ Hooker said.
“I would recommend speaking to the property manager and asking for their recommended cleaner to come in and do a bond clean. The cost can vary from [a few hundred] upwards depending on the size of the property and how clean it is,” Ms Sanderson said.
Understanding your obligations under the tenancy agreement is critical, but for those who do decide to clean themselves, rental experts said tenants should pay particular attention to several key areas.
1) Forgotten fans and filters
At the top of the list were fans, filters and unseen parts of the property that can get particularly dirty during a 12-month tenancy.
In particular, “exhaust fans are a common case of out-of-sight and out-of-mind,” Terri Scheer Insurance executive manager Carolyn Parrella said.
“From our experience, tenants sometimes overlook the cleanliness of their exhaust fans which are prone to attracting lint and dust in bathrooms and oil and grease in kitchens,” she said.
Ms Sanderson agreed a proper clean of the exhaust fans was critical and they can “usually go in the dishwasher” but was commonly overlooked.
2) Oven and dishwasher cleaning
It might seem counter-intuitive, but dishwashers frequently need cleaning, Rachael Byrne senior property manager of Queensland-based Jean Brown Properties said.
“For the dishwasher running a cleaner through, pulling the filters out and also cleaning the internal trims [is necessary],” Ms Byrne said.
Property managers will also look inside the oven when inspecting a property, Ms Parrella said.
“A landlord or property manager is within their rights to open and inspect the oven, so they should be clean and free from food splatters, overflow or built up grease and oil,” she said.
The range top should also be clean for the next tenant, Just Think Real Estate principal Edwin Almeida said.
“A lot of people don’t realise gas stove top burners come apart and disassemble for cleaning.”
3) Pet-related dirt
Those with pets in their rental property should also take special care to clean up after them, Ms Parrella said.
“Buy a good quality vacuum … while a landlord or property manager might allow pets at the property, it is generally on the basis the property remains free from pet fur and mess,” she said.
In particular, dirt can accrue “in door tracks and on skirting boards” that can quickly be cleaned by a tenant, Mr Almeida said.
Damage outside from pets should also be attended to.
4) Mould issues
Another issue that should be tackled sooner rather than later is any sign of mould in a rental property.
Ms Sanderson warned this could be a result of failing to ventilate a home properly during the tenancy, so should be attended to well before moving day. This is particularly a problem in the bathroom, where tenants should “leave the window open a couple of inches,” she said.
Ms Parrella also encouraged tenants to thoroughly scrub shower screens, grout in bathrooms and other wet areas to remove bacteria.
5) Incomplete gardening and outdoor maintenance
Tenants in houses with the benefit of a yard may have some work ahead of them to get their property in tip-top condition to vacate, Ms Byrne said.
“For tenants that have a pool and pool maintenance is not included in their lease have you properly cleaned the filters and the cell?”
Ms Parrella also said it was important to maintain the garden as best possible, despite wilted plants being part and parcel of a hot Australian summer.
“Some leases make the tenant responsible for maintaining the backyard while others may have a gardener included in the lease. Make sure you know where you stand,” she said.
6) Damage and marks on walls and doors
The final issue most tenants will find themselves needing to attend to is any dirt or damage to walls and doors that wouldn’t be considered wear and tear.
Spot cleaning around lights switches, on door handles and internal doors would make a big difference at inspection time, Ms Byrne said. Cleaning blinds and skirting boards were also high on the list of issues for departing tenants.
“I would also advise all tenants to take a full set of entry photos when completing the entry condition report and keep them in their own files … you should be taking the same amount of care and time completing the exit condition report as you did completing the entry condition report,” she said.