Mark Roemer image of a duster mop on a hard wood floor

Tips for Cleaning Between Tenants

I, Mark Roemer, find that it is a great time to be a landlord. After all, rent has been steadily rising for the past ten years or so. In fact, according to’s Property Management Report, homeownership has been on the decline for many years now. This means that more and more people are looking to rent homes or apartments. In the same report, it is said that more than 80 percent of landlords have reported rent increases in the past ten years.

There is one aspect of renting that is not so great – cleaning. This is just something that must be done between each new tenant. As a landlord, you will find that it is one of the toughest jobs you will face. Even if you are a seasoned veteran of renting, you will find it quite challenging. The main reason is that you never know what you are going to be faced with. This makes it difficult to plan how much time you are going to need to dedicate to the job to make the unit rentable as quickly as possible.

An important thing to remember is that it will not benefit you to skip this step or cut any corners. Failure to present the best house possible will turn customers away. That means you will be left with an open apartment for longer than necessary.

Below you will find a basic checklist of help you get that apartment filled with the least amount of time and effort.

Move-Out Inspection

The move out process is vital. When you are notified the tenant is going to move, you need to plan to be there. This will give you a chance to look at the apartment and assess the damage. Walk through the apartment or house with the tenant and note any damage. Discuss with the tenant when they are planning to make repairs to the apartment (assuming the damage was not there during the move-in inspection). All agreed on statements should be formalized in writing. This will keep you from having to pay for any unnecessary damage caused by the tenant.

Photographic Records

When you attend move-in/out inspections, make sure you have your cellphone or camera. Document all damage. This will make things much easier when it comes to deciding who is responsible for the repairs. Tenants do tend to treat the apartment with less than perfect care. After all, it is not their property, why should they worry about it. If you kept proper records, you would have a leg to stand on if they balk at paying for the damage. With no records, you are going to be left with the bill. Save yourself the headache and keep well documented photographic records of all of your rentals.

Check Utility Accounts

Never assume that the tenant is going to switch the power off or close their account when they move. Adding a requirement to the move-out checklist will prevent you from paying for their electricity or other utility consumption. Inform the client they must provide you with written proof from the utility companies.

If you are looking to save yourself a whole lot of headaches, consider keeping all the utilities in your name. When the bill comes in for each unit, make a copy of it and submit this to them with the rental bill. It may sound like extra work, but maintaining the accounts will save you many hassles switching and re-switching accounts each time a tenant leaves the apartment.


Now that the tenant has left the unit entirely, it is time to make it ready for your next tenant. You have two options, hire a maid service, or clean the unit yourself. This will depend mainly on the time you have and how much cleaning needs to be done. Some tenants are a dream and clean the unit thoroughly before leaving. Others treat the apartment as a place to leave things they are never going to use again. Even if you had a tenant that did the former, you are still going to want to clean the unit. Just because something looks clean does not mean it is clean. The only way to know for sure is to clean it yourself or have a maid service clean it for you.

If you do happen to get the tenant that cleans everything, focus your attention on the selling points of the apartment. This means to clean the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. A shocking 89% of prospective tenants report they make a decision on how these rooms look. They will deal with other rooms, but these are the most important. Adding fresh paint in addition to cleaning might not be a bad idea.

Patch and Paint Walls

It is a fact of life that there are accidents that happen. From time to time, you will have a ding in your walls. These need to be repaired. Additionally, you will want to add a fresh coat of paint if the walls seem to be worn. Paint is cheap when compared to having a vacant apartment. There is no need to buy the most expensive paint or have colors. A simple flat white paint will be more than sufficient for your purposes.

Clean or Replace Flooring

No matter if you have carpets, hardwood, or ceramic floors, you will need to have them cleaned or replaced from time to time. Take a look at the floors. If you think you need to replace them, then you probably should. Having the best house you possibly can will not only allow you to charge more rent, but it will also make it that much easier for you to rent the unit.


I, Mark Romer, hope that the checklist I have provided you above will make tenant turnover the best possible experience it can possibly be. Remember, the better the apartment looks, the more you can get for it, and the faster it will be rented. There is nothing worse than an empty rental, so do what you have to in order to rent it quickly.