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How clean is clean when it comes to vacating a rental property

Jun 15, 2024

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When it comes time to move out of a rental property, one of the most common concerns tenants have is understanding just how clean the property needs to be. Joanne Danckwardt from One Agency JD Property Agents in Fairy Meadow provides a comprehensive guide on what "clean" really means in this context, ensuring that tenants can vacate with confidence and landlords are satisfied with the property's condition, and how clean is clean enough.

If you're ready to discover how you can rent out your property with confidence, download our free Step By Step Checklist to Renting Your Property with Confidence.

Renting your investment property with confidence


Understanding the Standard: The Basics of End-of-Lease Cleaning

In New South Wales, the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 outlines the expectations for tenants regarding the condition of the property at the end of a lease. Essentially, the property should be returned in a similar state to how it was at the beginning of the tenancy, barring fair wear and tear. This means thorough cleaning is paramount.

Key Areas to Focus On

  1. General Cleaning
    • Floors and Carpets: Floors should be vacuumed and mopped. Carpets often require professional steam cleaning to remove deep-seated dirt and stains.
    • Walls and Ceilings: Remove any marks, cobwebs, and dust. Spot clean any minor marks and consider a full wash for more significant stains.
    • Windows: Clean all windows, including sills and tracks. Ensure they are free of streaks and grime.
    • Fixtures and Fittings: Dust and wipe down light fixtures, ceiling fans, and air conditioning units. Replace any burnt-out light bulbs.
  1. Kitchen
    • Oven and Stove: These are high-use areas that can accumulate significant grime. Clean the oven, stovetop, rangehood, and exhaust fan thoroughly.
    • Cabinets and Drawers: Wipe inside and outside of all cabinets and drawers.
    • Sinks and Benches: Ensure sinks are descaled and benches are free from stains and residue.
  1. Bathroom
    • Tiles and Grout: Scrub tiles and grout to remove any mould or mildew.
    • Toilets, Showers, and Bathtubs: These should be spotless, with no soap scum or hard water stains.
    • Mirrors and Fixtures: Polish mirrors and clean all fixtures until they shine.
  1. Outdoor Areas
    • Gardens and Lawns: Mow the lawn, trim hedges, and remove any weeds.
    • Balconies and Patios: Sweep and clean these areas, ensuring no debris is left behind.
    • Garages and Sheds: Clear out any personal items and sweep clean.

Common Misconceptions About Cleaning Standards

  1. Fair Wear and Tear: It's important to distinguish between dirt that can be cleaned and damage that might constitute wear and tear. Scuffs on floors from furniture might be acceptable, but dirt and grime are not.
  2. Professional Cleaning: While not always mandatory, some landlords or agents might require professional cleaning. It's wise to check the lease agreement and confirm the expectations with your property manager. Our expectation is that it is professionally cleaned or you, as a tenant, have those skills to get it right and keep the bar high.

Tips from for a Stress-Free Exit

  • Start Early: Don't leave cleaning until the last minute. Start the process a few weeks before your move-out date.
  • Condition Report: Reference the original ingoing condition report as that will set the tone. Whatever level of cleanliness the property had when you moved in, you must have it at least at that level or better.
  • Checklist: Use a checklist to ensure you don't miss any areas. Many agencies provide end-of-lease cleaning checklists that can be very helpful.
  • Hire Professionals: If in doubt, consider hiring professional cleaners who specialize in end-of-lease services. This can save time and ensure you meet the required standards.
  • Document the Process: Take photos before and after cleaning to document the property's condition. This can be useful if there are any disputes regarding the bond.

If you're ready to discover how you can rent out your property with confidence, download our free Step By Step Checklist to Renting Your Property with Confidence.

Renting your investment property with confidence


Leaving a rental property in a clean and tidy state is not just about getting your bond back; it’s also about ensuring the next tenant enjoys a welcoming environment. By following these guidelines and understanding the expectations, tenants can exit gracefully, and landlords can feel confident in the property's condition. For landlords, it one of the many reasons why they engage a property manager, to ensure their property is clean and ready for the next tenant. For more detailed advice and personalized assistance, contact Joanne Danckwardt at One Agency JD Property Agents in Fairy Meadow on 0426 264 771.

If you’re not a One Agency JD Property Agents client, but would like us to manage your tenant selection process and property, or obtain more information on our property management service, contact us on 4285 7400 or joannedanckwardt@oneagency.com.au. We are always happy to answer questions and offer advice, or offer a free rental property appraisal.

We hope these tips have been helpful. If you feel you could benefit from our experience with property management, we’d love to hear from you. Simply reach outWe hope that has helped you today. If you have any questions, we’d love to talk to you. Our number is 0426 264 771. We look forward to talking to you soon.