Moving is stressful. It’s even tougher when you don’t get your rental bond back – especially if you needed it to pay for the bond (or some cool furniture) for your new place.
Don’t leave empty-handed. Follow these insider tips for getting your bond back so you can afford that Batmobile bed you’ve always wanted. #lifegoals.
Let’s start with the big one. To get your rental deposit back, you’ll need to leave your property in the same condition as when you moved in. The only exception to this is fair wear and tear – damage that happens through normal use of a home (e.g. worn carpet). Use the photos from your entry condition report to compare against your clean. If you don’t have an entry condition report, your landlord should be able to give you one.
If you’re thinking you have this cleaning thing down – stop right now, thank you very much (Spice Girls, 1997). You’d be surprised how many renters get stung by forgetting the not-so-obvious jobs. We’re making those jobs more obvious than a clown at a rodeo with this helpful list, so you won’t miss a thing on your end-of-lease clean.
- Ovens are often overlooked come cleaning day. Fill a casserole dish with water and the juice from one lemon and place in the oven at 250°C for half an hour. The vapours will loosen any grime and build-up, making it easier to remove.
- If your oven/stove is free-standing, get some beefcakes to help you move it forward and clean behind it.
- Kitchen range hoods are swimming in grease that can cost you your bond return. Use degreaser to make it easier to remove grime.
- Toilets need to be cleaned both inside and outside. Grab a disinfectant spray and a cloth, start at the top of the tank and work your way down.
- Ceilings and corners make cosy homes for cobwebs. Grab a broom or extendable duster and take them down.
- Skirting boards gather a lot of dust that can easily be removed by wiping with a damp cloth.
- Light/power switches are in the same boat. Banish dust by wiping with a damp cloth.
- Ceiling fans need to be wiped with a damp cloth. Unless you’re Elastigirl, you may need a step ladder.
- Light fixtures should be removed to clean out dust and bugs.
- Runners/tracks in sliding doors and windows need some TLC. Use a hand-held vacuum and a cloth to clean. Count the flies you find. Make a necklace out of them as a souvenir from your time there.
- Windows need to be cleaned both inside and out.
- Blinds can get dusty. Use a vacuum or cloth to make them shiny and new again.
- Cupboard doors need love on the outside and the inside. Wipe them down with a cloth, and don’t forget the shelves.
- Walls should be washed with sugar soap and a sponge mop. Use plain water to wipe away any residue left by the sugar soap.
- Doors should be cleaned on both sides, including the dust collected on top.
- Mowing the lawn and trimming any overgrown bushes is an easy way to keep the exterior looking tidy. Don’t forget the weeds.
- Gutters should be cleared of any overhanging leaves.
- Garage or driveway showcasing oil stains? Mix baking soda and dish detergent with warm water and get scrubbing.
- Always clean from top to bottom so you’re not doubling up on anything.
- Check your tenancy agreement to see whether you need to get carpets professionally cleaned and have pest-control conducted. Most rentals require the carpets to be cleaned by professionals upon vacating.
- Swap your delicate glass slippers for practical, comfortable sneakers while cleaning. Or just go barefoot.
If getting your rental in tip top shape is too overwhelming, have your bond cleaning done by professional end of lease cleaners. This will give you the peace of mind that it’s all being done properly, leaving you with more time for the important stuff, like Netflix and pizza.
While You’re Living There
When you’ve got moving on your mind, it can be easy to forget the important stuff.
Be best buds with your landlord
- Reply to all emails/texts and return all phone calls. Good communication is the key to maintaining a good relationship.
- If your landlord loves emojis, follow suit and build rapport.
- Make sure anyone living with you for over 4 weeks puts in an application. This allows your landlord to know who is in the home in case of emergency.
- Harbouring a friend will get you in your landlord’s burn book. Not so fetch.
- Be grateful for their help. Leave thankyou notes when they visit for routine inspections. Always be polite on the phone.
- Now is not the time to get slack with your manners.
Don’t sweep issues under the rug
- Put any maintenance issues in writing. If you’ve got a burst pipe or a blocked toilet (ew), email your landlord to request repairs.
- If you’ve got money problems and can’t make rent one week, let your landlord know. In most cases, they’d prefer to work out a payment plan rather than serve you a breach notice.
When You’re Vacating
So you’ve already cancelled the cat-shearing contest you had planned. Good start.
Here are some things you may not have thought of.
Give your landlord plenty of notice
- When you decide to move out, make sure you give the appropriate written notice.
- If you’re on a fixed-term lease, let your landlord know you’ll be breaking it. Ask about any costs or responsibilities associated. No one likes sneaky fees.
Do everything by the book
- If you notice any small scuff marks on walls, don’t try to paint over them. You’re not being sneaky – you’re just highlighting the damaged spot for your landlord. Note it on your exit report instead.
- After you’ve returned all keys to your landlord, they’ll have 3 business days to complete a vacate inspection. Make sure the electricity is still connected so they can check all lights and appliances. Try to be present while they do the inspection so you can discuss any issues immediately.
- Pay all rent and invoices in full so your landlord can’t take these costs out of your bond.
Be wary of everything you sign
- Assuming each party agrees on the bond return amount, you’ll need to sign a Joint Application for Disposal of Security Bond. Fill in this form with the correct amount agreed upon. If you sign a blank form, the landlord or owner of the property can fill it in with a smaller amount later.
- Only sign a form to take your bond money out of the account once your tenancy has ended.
- Get a copy of anything you sign.
When Moving Into Your New Home
The excitement of moving into a new place can make us forget all the adult stuff we need to do. Remember these steps when moving into your new home to make it easier to get your bond back when you move out.
- Take time-stamped photos of the property to document its condition. Do this before moving your furniture in.
- Within 3 days of collecting your keys, return your entry condition paperwork noting any discrepancies.
- Establish a good relationship with your landlord. Be friendly and polite. Bake them some cookies if you want to. Some extra effort now could make them more forgiving when the time comes to return your bond.
Speaking of moving, you might want to check out these 10 ways to make moving easier.