When a tenancy comes to an end, it can be challenging to balance all your landlord responsibilities. From sorting out security deposits to ensuring your property is clean for the next tenants, there are lots of factors to consider.

End-of-tenancy cleaning is the comprehensive cleaning of a rental home or unit typically performed by tenants who are moving out of a rental property. The end-of-tenancy cleaning goal is to leave the property in the same condition as it was when the tenant first moved in.

In this article, we'll discuss why end-of-tenancy cleaning matters and what landlords can expect from a tenant regarding end-of-tenancy cleaning.

What Is End-Of-Tenancy Cleaning and Why Does It Matter?

End-of-tenancy cleaning is a crucial process a tenant should complete before the end of their rental term. It involves thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing all areas of the property, including everything from vacuuming carpets to wiping down hard surfaces and removing cobwebs.

End-of-tenancy cleaning ensures that the property is left in as good a condition as it was when the tenant first moved in. End of tenancy cleaning also ensures that the landlord can easily find another tenant to occupy the property.

Tenants need to complete end-of-tenancy cleaning before they move out to ensure their security deposit is returned and to maintain the excellent condition of the property for future tenants. If the property is left in good condition and thoroughly cleaned, the time for tenant turnover will be reduced because a landlord will be able to fill the property vacancy almost immediately.

Can You Do End-Of-Tenancy Cleaning Yourself?

Yes, you can do end-of-tenancy cleaning yourself. However, the entire process can be time-consuming and tedious, so it's a good idea to either outline the responsibilities of your tenants in the lease agreement or hire a professional end-of-tenancy cleaning service.

Two cleaners in navy overalls and yellow latex gloves hold mops as they push them across the hardwoor floor of a rental unit for a cleaning service.

A cleaning service can help ensure that every part of the property is thoroughly sanitized and that all areas are cleaned to the highest standards. Professional services will know exactly how to best clean and sanitize each area, ensuring it's up to your standards as a landlord.

What Is ‘Normal Wear and Tear’?

"Normal wear and tear" refers to the unavoidable damage rental properties incur from daily usage over time. This can be anything from fading paintwork to chipped tiles.

Wear and tear naturally occurs over time as furniture, fixtures, carpets and paintwork become worn out or damaged after long-term use. Normal wear and tear doesn’t include any intentional or neglectful damage to the property by the tenant however, such as holes in walls or broken windows.

Normal wear and tear is ultimately unavoidable and no amount of cleaning can restore a property to its exact original condition. This is why it’s essential for tenants to understand that they’re expected to return the premise to an acceptable condition at the end of the tenancy agreement, factoring in normal wear and tear.

What Do I Need to Include On My End of Tenancy Cleaning Checklist?

This list of tasks is essential for tenants to attend to before returning the rental property to the property owner or landlord. We suggest focusing your tenant’s attention on:


While cleaning the rental unit’s bathrooms, we suggest a tenant:

A grey tiled bathroom with a large green plant and porcelain bathtub is pictured in overlooking a window with blue sky.

  • Scrub the bathtub, shower walls, and floor with a cleaning product suitable for all surfaces.
  • Clean and disinfect toilets inside, outside and underneath.
  • Wipe down all surfaces, sinks and taps in the bathroom with a disinfectant cleaner.
  • Clean and polish mirrors and glass screens.
  • Clean walls, shelving units, cabinets, drawers or other storage areas.
  • Vacuum carpets and mop hard floors with a suitable cleaning product.
  • Empty and wipe down garbage bins.


For bedroom cleaning:

  • Vacuum carpets and rugs, and mop hard floors with a suitable cleaning product.
  • Wipe down surfaces and bedroom door frames, including wardrobes, shelves, drawers or other storage areas.
  • Clean windows (inside and outside), including sills and frames.
  • Clean skirting boards, picture rails, light switches and plug sockets.
  • Dust or wipe down curtains or blinds.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture and mattresses.

Living Areas and Hallways

Living areas and hallways are also essential to clean. When cleaning, a tenant might:

  • Vacuum carpets and mop hard floors with a suitable cleaning product.
  • Wipe down surfaces and door frames, including skirting boards, picture rails and wall hangings.
  • Clean windows (inside and outside), including sills and frames.
  • Dust or wipe down curtains or blinds.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture, including sofas, armchairs and cushions.
  • Clean walls and ceiling fans.
  • Wash or wipe down lampshades, light fittings and switches.


In the kitchen area, tenants need to:

A property manager's hands, covered with yellow latex gloves, spray cleaning product on a kitchen sink while cleaning the counter around it.

  • Clean and disinfect all work surfaces, cupboards and drawers.
  • Wipe down kitchen appliances, including ovens, hobs, microwaves and fridges.
  • Clean all windows (inside and outside), including sills and frames.
  • Clean walls, tiled areas, sinks and taps with a suitable cleaning product.
  • Clean behind and underneath kitchen appliances, including fridges, ovens, washing machines or dishwashers.
  • Empty and wipe down garbage bins.
  • Sweep and mop the property floors with a suitable cleaning product.
  • Replace sponges with new ones.

Other Areas

In terms of other areas of the property, a tenant might:

  • Vacuum or sweep all floors, making sure to get into corners.
  • Clean the walls of any stains, scuffs, or dirt using a damp cloth and cleaning detergent as necessary.
  • Polish light switches and electrical sockets with an appropriate cleaner.
  • Check around door frames for dust and dirt, wiping down as needed.
  • Wipe any skirting boards using a damp cloth.
  • Remove cobwebs from ceiling corners with a long-handled duster.
  • Dust window sills and ledges.
  • Wipe down all appliances, such as kettles, toasters and coffee machines, using a suitable cleaner.
  • Clean all exterior doors and door frames.
  • Ensure the property is free of garbage or debris when they move out.

Once an end-of-tenancy cleaning checklist has been completed, take a final walk-through to ensure that everything is up to your standards.

Bottom Line: The Importance of End of Tenancy Cleaning

Cleaning at the end of a tenancy is essential to ensure that both tenants and landlords are satisfied with the property's condition. This checklist can act as a reference for future tenant moves and will help make sure that all the necessary cleaning tasks have been completed.

With some planning and attention to detail, this list should help make sure the tenant move-out and turnover processes are as seamless as possible.

Still have questions about end of tenancy cleaning or property management? Contact Mark Thomas Properties Property Management today by dialing 919-403-5315 or by emailing rent@markthomasproperties.com. We’ll be happy to give you a free rental analysis and answer any questions you might have about our services.