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Vacating Your Rental

Finally, the day has arrived. The not so clean tenants are vacating your rental. Its time for the much-anticipated walk through. Wanting to see the property is mixed with trepidation as thoughts of possible damage run through a landlords head.

Chances are that these feelings are not just felt by you, but by many owners. Maybe you saw the property a few times over the tenancy and noted that the tenant wasn’t so clean, their pets have had some accidents on the carpet, and their kids seemed to spill juice on every surface of the property. Now the tenant is gone, and you are faced with assessing the damage and property handling the security depois.

When a tenant is not so clean the visible items, walls, carpets and other flooring are usually the most noticeable items to address. But what about the things you may not see right away, the bugs and rodents? When a tenant is not big on cleanliness this can often lead to infestations of roaches, mice, ants or fleas. Before beginning a costly turnover it is always best to address this issue right away. Look for the visible signs, pull out the refrigerator and stove, or look behind the toilet and you will often see mouse droppings, or small specks of what looks almost like a sprinkling of pepper. This substance is not pepper but feces left by roaches. If you see a large amount or coffee like stains this could be a sign of a large infestation. Roche’s also have a pronounced musky smell that is caused by the oils they produce. Ants and fleas are often visible through the walk thru and an indicator that pest control is needed. While purchasing sprays at the store and using them at the property can be helpful, in a scenario like this I would suggest calling in a professional exterminator.

The next big issue would be the smell from the carpets that are stained and sticky. The best way to combat this is a good steam cleaning. The tenant should always leave the property in a move in ready condition just like they found it upon their own move in. If carpets needs to be cleaned due to stains or an odor, this should be charged to the tenants security deposit. Again, a professional cleaning service is best and the easiest way to provide documentation later if needed to show that this needed to be completed by a professional.

If you have done all this and are still left with an unpleasant odor, consider using a paint additive that has a scent. Glade makes a lines of these additives that are available at most major home stores. A coat of the paint and the light scent will last for months, ensuring the new tenants are greeted with a clean, welcoming home on move in.

Here are some tips when dealing with an un-clean tenant:

-Inspect the property regularly for maintenance items, take lots of photos this will help you keep a timeline of the carpets getting dirtier, broken items and issues at the property. Real Property Management suggests doing an inspection every quarter.

– Let the tenant know your expectations for upkeep both in your lease and on your move in walk thru with the tenant. Give the tenant a welcome packet detailing the expected maintenance guidelines and upkeep

– Keep documentation of all repairs and clean up after the tenant moves out. If the tenant attempts to claim that they should have gotten more of the security deposit back this is a good way for you to protect yourself and the monies you spent to get your investment back in shape.


Jayna Concepcion

Real Property Management DC Metro


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