Tenant Move Out Tips

Tenant move out tips have been compiled over years of rental management, to help tenants know how to protect their security deposit money. It's important for tenants to treat the property like it was their own, cleaning regularly and making sure when they move out, that the property is ready for a new tenant to move in. Florida law regarding security deposit claims does allow for tenants to leave the property with "normal wear and tear" without being penalized.

Tenant move out tips and information

Top tenant move out tips for those that want to get their security deposit money back!

  • Replace (or clean) AC filter, it should be completely clean and dust free
  • Clean AC closet and door, and AC vents throughout the property,  it should all be completely clean and dust free
  • Clean dust off of all ceiling fans
  • Clean all baseboards, there should be NO dust or dirt on them
  • Carpets should be vacuumed and cleaned, NO stains (unless they were there when you moved in and you have proof!)
  • All floors should be vacuumed and cleaned (pay close attention to corners!)
  • Countertops and mirrors should all be super clean
  • Take out all nails and screws from walls and doors, fill with putty and smooth/sand down, touch up with correct paint color if you have it

  • Walls should be returned to the color they were given over as (most likely white or light beige) unless written permission was granted to tenant to change color and leave after move out

  • Repair any holes in drywall, especially the big ones made from hanging flat screen TVs! Check out the inexpensive Patch Kit  -->
  • Refrigerator, oven, microwave should all be empty and completely clean
  • Stovetop, sinks, bathtubs should all be super clean (no spills, crumbs, grease)

  • Toilets, bathtubs, showers should be super clean (remove hair/grime from drains)
  • Bottoms of all cabinets and drawers should be completely empty and completely clean
  • "Erase" excessive black skid/furniture marks from doors/baseboards/walls with a Magic Eraser (one of our FAVORITE cleaning products... really IS magic!!!)

  • Remove all link from dryer vent and surrounding area


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Example of how your AC vents should NOT look!

Best tenant move out tips always include ACs. Why? Tenants tend to forget to leave a clean AC filter when they move out. AC filters MUST BE changed or cleaned EVERY MONTH. Why? They end up looking like these (below)! This condition directly affects the health of everyone living in your house. AND it shortens the life of the AC unit which costs your landlord money. If the AC is left in this condition, this means the AC coil is also very dirty and needs to be acid washed.

Helpful tip to tenants: you can't change the filter for the first time when you're moving out, and think the AC guy or landlord won't know you never changed or cleaned the filter while living in the unit!  The entire system will show a massive build-up of dirt and dust. To clean systems like the below, expect a cost of more than $250 to include coil cleaning, cleaning the outside unit, and possibly an additional $200-$500 if the ducts also need to be cleaned.

General rule of thumb: change the AC filter every month. Filters are cheap, and easy to find at most any Publix, Walgreens, Home Depot, ACE Hardware, Lowes, Walmart, etc. Find the size of the AC filter, and buy several at a time to save money. And yes, changing AC filters and the costs for them are almost always the responsibility of the tenant. Top tenant move out tips include NOT LEAVING the AC closet or filter looking like these tenants did!

AC vent left filthy. This is THE most common issue seen in move-outs. This was from a tenant move-out in a well-known luxury high-rise building on Miami Beach. This much dirt/dust on this vent means the tenants NEVER changed or cleaned the AC filter. They did damage to the AC unit (costing the landlord a lot of money, and shortened the life of the AC unit), and ENDANGERED the health of their kids! WHY would you live like this??? The amount of dust and pollen and allergens circulating in this home, never being cleaned out of the air they were breathing, is REALLY REALLY unhealthy. KEEP AC FILTERS CLEAN!!! Replace (or clean) them ONCE A MONTH!!


Many holes in walls, and pieces of plaster missing (most likely the tenant had tape there, and when ripped off, took large chunks of plaster with it). Repair bill for patching, sanding, painting was taken out of security deposit.

Wall holes need to be patched and touched up. Check out the 3M Wall Patch Kit - has everything you need to do the repair yourself (minus the right color paint). This kit, selling for around $10 with free Prime shiping on Amazon, is FAR FAR LESS than what a landlord can take from a security deposit!!! In this particular case, the handyman charged $75 to repair these spot on the wall.


Other top tenant move out tips:

Kitchen cabinet handle. HOW GROSS IS THIS? This was a local veterinarian and mother of three. She clearly didn't believe in keeping a clean house. Just nasty. Maid service costs were taken from her security deposit as this rental was left way beyond acceptable.

Black marks on walls, scuff marks on baseboards and doors, crayon and pencil marks, kitchen grease and nastiness etc usually clean up perfectly LIKE MAGIC with very little effort and a Mr. Clean MAGIC ERASER! They are amazing little things that clean up all kinds of things in a home. EVERY home should have a bunch, on hand, at all times!

Keep your home looking clean!!!

Tenant move out tips include cleaning: make sure to clean the grease and dirt off all cabinet handles, doors and countertops, inside drawers and cabinets.

The above photos represent costly claims against this tenant's security deposit. The amounts included professional licensed companies that were called out to remedy these issues. Expensive!  What if the tenant just used a few super cheap yet awesome products, and addressed these issues themselves?  What was approximately $275 in claims would have been about $20 and two hours of effort.

That greasy, grimy NASTINESS can be wiped away in TEN SECONDS with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. The maid service uses them too, they really work great!

Even better? JUST CLEAN YOUR HOME!  If you don't have the time or know-how to do it yourself, hire a cleaning crew. They are professional and inexpensive. You can find great deals on Angie's List or in your local newspaper or direct mailer for $75 for two hours. They might be all you need, and you and your family will be MUCH HAPPIER living in a very clean home.

What are THE BEST TIPS for tenant move-outs?
If you're the tenant, hire a professional cleaning crew. It's worth the money. Fix all damage you caused to the walls (nail holes, holes from your flat screen TV, etc). And install a new clean AC filter. Turn in your keys the day of, or day before your lease ends (not after). And communicate with your landlord. Let them know the day you'll be out and returning your keys in advance.

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