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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Preparing to Vacate a Rental - Leave it Better than You found it

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 16 November 2016 09:46


Rental agreements and bond arrangements in Sydney have tightened up over the last few years. To keep the landlord's business, real estate property agents need to be diligent in overseeing the rental property.


If you have been renting for a while in Australia, then you also know that real estate agents can be very tough on rental exits.


When you decide to take up a rental, the realtor gives you a tour of the whole place and shows you the exact condition of the home. At the end of the lease, the real estate agent will expect to see the house in a similar condition.


Failure to properly maintain your rental home or organise an end of lease clean can lead to monetary loss. Normally it would mean forfeiting your bond. Agents will deduct from your bond in order to pay for services such as lawn care, yard maintenance and cleaning - especially carpets, windows and kitchen fittings.


Leaving your rental property in the same - or even better - condition will get you a good reference and make is easier to secure your next property. It's a good idea to have a checklist of things you will need to do before you vacate and also have the contact details of the rental bond board in case their are any disputes.


Domain recently reported that nearly half of the rental market don’t get their bond back. Each state will have its own rental bond guidelines and you should know the terms of that bond agreement.






Bonds held by the Rental Bond Board at the end of June 2015.


Bonds refunded in 2014/2015.




Source: Rental Bond Board NSW


The Notice Period


Give at least a 28-days’ notice to your real estate agent or landlord before you vacate the home. If you send the notice through mail delivery, you add into account the time that it would take for the mail to reach the real estate agent.


Interior - Keep it Clean


Use those days to pack away all your belongings and work on improving the condition of your home. Some of the areas which would require more of your attention.


Make sure that all the plugs and electrical connections are in order.



Scrub away the floors and the walls in the kitchen and the washroom to get them shining as new.


The smell of a well used carpet, especially if their are pets, is something you might overlook if you have been living there awhile. But your landlord will pick up on it quickly. You need to make sure you deal with  any odours, stains or pet hair in all carpets and rugs.


Getting the carpets thoroughly cleaned by a professional carpet cleaning company will probably be a condition of your lease. Most major cities have a local Electrodry Carpet Cleaning service which will dry clean the carpets for a reasonable rate.


This is a smarter option than doing it yourself with a hired out (and often dirty) wet vacuum cleaner. If there are any problems, the real estate will call the carpet cleaning company back in and not you.


The same is true for mould issues. Mould removal is a huge problem in rentals. Bathroom ceilings, roof cavities and laundries are notorious for mouls problems.


Make sure you remove all signs of mould and mildew to walls, shelving and window sills.


The toilet along with the sink, counter top, shower, faucet, and towel bar should be clean and in working condition when you leave.


When you head to the kitchen, work on cleaning all the drawers, shelves, boards, cabinets and shelves. Scrub away any layer of oil which might have accumulated over the years on the stove and the walls.


Check any storage area to make sure that it is clean and has no belonging of yours lying around. Fix or replace interior or exterior lighting.

Pests and Vermin

Most rental agreements require the tenant to organise a pest inspection or pest treatment. If the lease allows for pets you can almost guarantee that this will be the case.

Depending on the property, you may need to organise an inspection which covers all or some of the following:


Land including timber structures, fencing, buildings, shed, garages, gardens and drainage.


Termite inspection, Rate, cockroach and ant infestation. Fleas, spiders, wasps and other dangerous intruders.

They will want to check door frames, roof cavity, carpets and especially kitchen and bathroom cupboards and enclosed areas where pests like cockroaches and silverfish like to live and breed.

The cost will vary depending on the size of the house and it’s structures.

Exterior - Take Away Your Rubbish


Clean the windows inside and out. Mow the lawn and the yard. Again, it's probably a good idea to bring in a residential lawn mowing service, especially if it is a large or bushy block or has manicured gardens.


The condition of your yard front and back will be the first thing the real estate or landlord notices.


Remove all of your own rubbish and do any small repair jobs. Weed the garden beds and sure that all the drains are in perfect working condition when you leave.


Make a list of things you would have to do before you leave and keep adding to it to ensure that you do not forget something important.


For your own pocket, it is important that you leave your home in good condition when you vacant it.


Pay extra attention to the tiny details and work on them or else it would cost you from the deposit that you submitted when you moved in. You might be called back as well, and it will be nothing but a nuisance.

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David Anthony

David a home handyman with interest in rural property design and renovation. He organic living, food, health and home decorating and home living enjoys bushwalking and living outdoors.

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