Clean, clean, clean
Make sure you understand what the lease requires you to clean. Some leases require that you hire a professional cleaning company, while others are not as specific, or include no guidelines for cleaning. Some leases will include an automatic deduction from your security deposit for carpet cleaning. Double check with your landlord before you move out to make sure they don’t have any specific requirements if you’re not clear what is required from reading the lease. When in doubt, clean everything as thoroughly as possible, and take pictures of the clean unit.
When you leave, return all keys and remove all garbage, food, and cleaning supplies. The apartment should be completely empty.
Document your work
Take photos and videos of the rental after you have cleaned and made repairs. Make sure to keep any receipts if you use a cleaning service or rent cleaning equipment.
One last inspection
Always schedule and attend a joint move-out inspection with your landlord. Any damages to the rental unit will be noted on the list. If you don’t agree with what the landlord has listed as damages on the inspection report, don’t sign it. Always ask for a copy of the completed move-out inspection form.
Once the landlord takes back possession of the rental unit and completes their final damages list, they are required by law to account for how they used the deposit, and to refund any remaining deposit to you, within 45 days. You must provide your forwarding address in writing before the 45 days will begin to run.