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Does a Landlord Have to Clean My Apartment Before I Move In?

Yes, a landlord is expected to clean an apartment before a new renter moves in. If the flat, house or rental property is renting out to a new tenant, the landlord must make sure it is ready to be occupied by the tenant. If the property was rented before the past tenant may have done an after tenancy cleaning, it still falls to the landlord.

When someone is moving into a new property, it is expected to be clean, if not, it is their decision to move into an unclean property. Every new tenant reserves the right to receive a clean and hygienic property, but they must also ensure the standard is maintained for the remainder of their tenancy.

The new tenant is also expected to look after the property and keep it clean and tidy if free cleaning is not included with the tenancy agreement. It is generally the tenant’s responsibility to clean and leave the property; however, as the landlord, it is your responsibility to check if the property is clean for the new tenant.

Have it in mind that the period between new tenancy and after a tenancy period is a very busy time for a landlord as you must arrange your property for the new tenant and welcome them.

And as a new tenant, if the unpainted and unclean conditions pose genuine health risks, you should certainly take action. Call the health department and describe the situation.

Depending on the agency’s workload and the severity of the problem, you might get some action. If you’re worried about deteriorating lead-based paint, by all means call.

For tenants facing seriously harmful conditions, many states have stipulated remedies that let them repair the problems and deduct the cost from the rent, or withhold rent until the landlord accomplishes the cleaning and repairs. If your state has these remedies, check them out. Be careful, however, to follow the law when taking these steps.

Landlord’s Legal obligations when Preparing a Property for Rent

To the authorities, renting property is a service provided to consumers. That is the more reason why there are so many laws and regulations – to safeguard consumers’ rights and give them protection. Some of the most important relate to the condition of the property. For a landlord, it is in their interest to comply with these as it will make it considerably easier for them to enforce their rights.

  1. Thorough Inspection

The first thing every landlord needs to do is a thorough inspection of the unit. A good landlord should check each room for anything that needs to be fixed, cleaned, or replaced before any new tenant moves in. They also have to keep an eye out for any mold, broken fire and smoke detectors, or any other safety hazards. The previous tenants may have left things in a bad shape, so you have to make amends.

  1. Painting the Walls

Landlords are normally responsible for painting the interior walls of the unit. Some states require it by law, but it is just generally expected in most. Landlords are even advised to get out that paint can and get to work, or hire professional painters to get the job done for them. It is believed that a fresh coat of paint will also make the place feel a little revamped, and a clean, updated unit is a great way to start a tenant – landlord relationship off on the right foot. Landlords are also advised to consider a new paint job on the outside of the unit, as well. It is not mandatory, but it is a nice courtesy that will set a standard for how both the landlord and the tenant should treat the unit.

  1. Ensuring All Utilities Are Working

The last renter of a property might have been a good tenant who left all the kitchen and bathroom appliances in one piece, but do the appliances actually work? It is the obligation of a landlord to test the oven, open the fridge, and turn the faucets on to make sure that everything in working condition. This will help them avoid an immediate maintenance request if a tenant moves in.

Additionally, landlords are also obligated to check the interior and exterior lights and ensure they all work. Landlords are meant to replace light bulbs and make any repairs to the electrical wiring, if necessary. They have to make sure all locks work and that they have sets of keys for each one. The new tenant would probably really appreciate it if all these are labelled well.

  1. Having the Property Cleaned

Tenants don’t always hire professional cleaners or clean the apartment that well themselves. Just like it was stated above, new tenant should have a clean, tidy, and empty unit to move into. It is pertinent landlords clean the unit and save some money, or they can hire professionals to clean it for them. If the property has carpets, the landlord should schedule professional cleaning service to freshen them up.

  1. Changing the Locks

Even if the previous tenant in the property has returned all the keys to the property, its best practice to change the locks. No one can tell if the past tenants made copies of the keys, or how many they made, so to ensure the new tenant’s safety, landlords are advised to get new locks installed on all the doors. If the property has a garage with a security code, it would be nice to re – code it for the new tenant.

  1. Scheduling Appointments for New Appliances

After the landlord must have checked out all the appliances, it maybe found that the refrigerator was on its last leg, or the washer and dryer are outdated and headed downhill, the landlord is expected to buy new appliances. The landlord will have to buy new items and schedule the delivery and installation appointments as soon as possible.


Getting a property ready for a new tenant requires some work, but it is all worth it when the unit is occupied by a happy renter. In addition, every apartment must meet state and local building codes, housing codes, health requirements, zoning ordinances, etc. Renters are always advised to do a walk-through before signing a lease. Most reputable managers will allow this. Sometimes, the apartment for rent is still occupied. If this is the case, ask the manager if you can wait until the walk-through to sign the lease or rental agreement. A good manager will agree to this.