How much should I clean for an inspection?

author-avatar By on November 24, 2020
How much should I clean for an inspection?

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

A quick wipe down or a deep clean? Rental inspections come around unwelcome every few months, and it’s sometimes a mystery about how much you should clean.

Rental inspections tend to be the forgotten bain of rental existence, only coming around every few months or so. If you’re lucky, you might get a property manager who only turns up once every six months. Or if you’re lucky like my housemate and me once upon a time, never, in my two years of living at that apartment. We didn’t take the proverbial p..s and we still kept the place clean without managing to put a hole through the wall. However, where opinion strongly differs is how much cleaning you need to do to satisfy inspection requirements. You could always pick up the phone and ask your property manager - the only stupid questions, after all, are the ones left unasked - but that’s not the Gen Z way. So, how much should you clean?

How much should you clean for a rental inspection?

Savings.com.au reached out to a couple of cleaning services groups to find out how much cleaning is needed.

Light cleaning with some elbow grease

Owner of All Pure Cleaning, Prema Day, said a real estate agent might provide a list you need to tick off, which can be incredibly useful.

“It also depends on your relationship with the agent or landlord - particularly if it's a private rental - as they may know how tidy or clean you are as a tenant and therefore only a quick wipe over of main surfaces is required as you keep a clean space anyway,” Ms Day said.

“Most rental inspection cleans we provide for clients tend to be a more detailed ‘surface area’ clean as they are renting through large real estate agents who require a high level of cleanliness on inspection.”

Most inspection-level cleaning surfaces focus on higher-traffic areas, plus a tidy of main areas and a wipe-down of high traffic walls. Higher attention is placed on particularly gross areas such as bathrooms and the kitchen.

Ms Day also recommended cleaning the windows and oven at least once or twice a year. Having a cleaner come over once a month can also alleviate stress - and any spats with housemates/significant others - and could be worth the money.

A deeper clean

CEO of Fantastic Services Group Rune Sovndahl recommended a deeper clean.

“I would always recommend getting a deep clean done for a house inspection, but we see so many rentals that are left in such a state after a tenancy,” Mr Sovndahl said.

“I think it's about being respectful to someone else's property and the next tenants that are due to come in after you. But a deep clean will also ensure you get your bond back.”

Mr Sovndahl also said end-of-lease cleans also usually have a checklist that must be adhered to. Deeper cleans include cooking areas, exhaust hoods, sinks, fridge, cupboards, and the extractor fan - areas not often thought about.

“Using a professional for an end of lease clean will mean you get your money back at the end of the lease which is always the goal after an inspection,” he said.

House & Apartment Cleaning Costs

Depending on the size of your apartment or house, getting a pro in to regularly clean your place might not be as much as you think. Different to bond cleans, which can set you back $300-$400 just for a one or two bedroom apartment, a monthly or fortnightly clean could be a good investment in both saving time, and preventing arguments.

Savings.com.au’s market research indicates a standard inner-city one or two bedroom apartment would cost about $100 to clean. Prices get more expensive the bigger your home, but may provide more ‘value’, especially if you are renting with housemates and can split the cost. A general rule of thumb is that you’ll pay about $30/hour for cleaning - is your leisure time worth more than that?

Savings.com.au's two cents

The jury still seems to be out on how much cleaning you need to satisfy rental inspection requirements. Where a checklist doesn’t exist, if you’re on otherwise good terms with an agreeable property manager, a wipe down of common areas, a vacuum, and putting some elbow grease into the bathrooms and kitchen could be enough to satisfy them. If in doubt, it could be useful getting a cleaner in, which could be especially useful if you and other household members disagree on the cleaning process. The $100 or so fee could be well worth it, both in time and arguments saved. No matter what, clear communication with your property manager or landlord is key - at the end of the day it might not hurt to ask.


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Harrison joined Savings in 2020. He is an experienced journalist, with previous stints at News Corp and financial comparison site Canstar. With a keen interest in personal finance, Harrison is passionate about helping consumers make more informed financial decisions.

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