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End-of-Tenancy Cleaning

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End-of-Tenancy Cleaning

A major source of conflicts between landlords and tenants usually has to do with the return of security deposits. A tenant may not agree with the deductions a landlord has made and that may result in lengthy back-and-forth. 

Luckily, you may be able to avoid deposit disputes by having a proper end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist. Here’s what landlords need to know about carrying out an effecting end-of-tenancy cleaning!

What is an End-of-Tenancy Cleaning? 

The checklist helps a tenant know the level of cleaning they must achieve before moving out. If the tenant isn’t able to return the property in good condition, you may be able to make appropriate deductions from their deposit to cater for the costs of cleaning. 

How Clean Should a Tenant Leave Their Rented Premises? 

‘Clean’ is a relative term and that’s why having an end-of-tenancy is essential. As a landlord, you can only expect your tenant to leave the premises in the same condition they found it in, less normal wear and tear. You can provide the tenant with a move-in checklist for reference. 

What is Normal Wear and Tear? 

The state of Idaho defines normal wear and tear as standard deterioration that occurs when the property is being used as intended. The damage, on the other hand, occurs in the form of an accident, carelessness, negligence, abuse, or misuse. 

dark wood flooring and grey brick wall

The following are common examples of normal wear and tear:

  • Faded flooring
  • Lightly scratched glass
  • Stained bath fixtures
  • Loose door handles
  • Lightly dirtied grout

Because these types of damages occur as a result of normal, everyday use of the property, you cannot hold the tenant liable for them. What you can hold the tenant liable for are damages exceeding normal wear and tear. Examples of these types of damages include:

  • Holes in the wall
  • Missing fixtures
  • Broken tiles or windows
  • Heavily stained, burned, or torn carpets

Can Landlords Charge Tenants for an End-of-Tenancy Cleaning? 

Yes, Idaho laws allow landlords to charge a cleaning fee. However, to do so, you must have stated it in the lease agreement. In addition to this, the fee charged to the tenant must be reasonable.

Does the Property Need to be Professionally Cleaned? 

No! You cannot require a tenant to hire professional cleaning services at the end of a tenancy. The only requirement you can give your tenant is to return the property in move-in condition, not including normal wear and tear. 

As such, it’s up to the tenant to choose whether to do the cleaning by themselves or hire someone else to do it on their behalf. 

three professional cleaners in orange overalls standing in a living room

When Must a Landlord Return a Tenant’s Security Deposit? 

Idaho landlords have up to 30 days after a tenant moves out to return the unused portion of the deposit. If you fail to do this, the tenant can file a dispute in court. If found guilty, you may be liable for paying the tenant up to 3 times the amount of the deposit, plus court and attorney fees. 

What Should Landlords Include in an End-of-Tenancy Cleaning Checklist? 

You should provide your tenant with an end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist to ensure that the property is restored to its original condition. 

Walls, Doors & Ceilings 

Let the tenant know the condition they must: 

  • Clean scuff marks on walls. 
  • Wipe and polish electrical sockets and switches. 
  • Remove cobwebs from ceilings using a long-handled duster to get into those hard-to-reach corners. 
  • Dust and clean window frames and sills. 
  • Wipe down skirting boards and tops of doors and doorframes. 


Make sure the end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist mentions the following: 

  • Clean the hob thoroughly. 
  • Clean all appliances including the toaster, kettle, microwave, dishwasher, tumble dryer, and washing machine. 
  • Mop the floor. 
  • Clean wall tiles to remove dirty grout.
  • Empty out all drawers and cupboards and clean them thoroughly. 
  • Empty out the garbage cans. 
  • Empty out the refrigerator and clean it inside and out. 
  • Give the kitchen sink a thorough cleaning. 
  • Wipe down all countertops and worktops. 
  • Clean and degrease the oven. 
  • Clean the hob thoroughly. 
person wearing blue cleaning gloves to wipe down a sink


This is another room that is frequently visited in a home. It’s, therefore, important that the tenant leaves it clean and spotless prior to moving. In the end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist, require them to do the following: 

  • Clean and polish the fittings, taps, and sinks for a sparkling shine. 
  • Remove any limescale or hard water stains in the bathtub.
  • Thoroughly clean the toilet. 
  • Remove any mold from the tile grout. 
  • Clean shower doors and shower tray. 
  • Clean the shower rails and radiators. 
  • Unblock a blocked bath if the water isn’t draining as it should. 

Fixtures, Fittings & Furnishings 

  • Require the tenant to do the following:
  • Dust and clean provided furniture like shelving, wardrobes, and cupboards. 
  • Clean curtain rails, mirror, and picture frames. 
  • Dust the light bulbs, lampshades, and fittings. 
  • Clean desks, tables, and sideboards. 
  • Clear out drawers and clean them. 
  • Dust and clean the sofa cushions.

Other Areas To Be Cleaned

  • Carpets: This is another area that is normally a source of conflict between landlords and tenants. Require the tenant to thoroughly steam clean it. 
  • Outside: The outside of a property is equally important as the inside. Require the tenant to leave it in good condition by, for instance, mowing lawns, weeding flower beds, and removing any garbage lying around. 

Bottom Line

With your property in great shape, you’ll have an easier time renting it out to the next tenant. Should you need help in drafting an end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist or the overall management of your property, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Realty Management Associates, Inc. We provide professional property management services to property owners in the Greater Boise Metro Area. Contact us today to learn more about our services!