Move-Out Cleaning Checklist

AFI’s latest blog post, talked about how moving to and from apartment communities is most common in the summer months. While a lot of factors may play into the decision to find a new place to call home, there are two important aspects of the moving process that are always present:

  1. Moving IN to a New Community.
  2. Moving OUT of the Current Community.

While fairly obvious, each item is critically important as failure to plan appropriately can result in added stress, or even added expenses! When it comes to moving out of a current residence, the general expectation is that the exiting residents will leave the apartment in similar condition to how it was received. An unwillingness to put in a little elbow grease can result in the withholding or total loss of one’s security deposit, and even added fines in more egregious circumstances.

According to a survey by, more than 25 percent of renters have lost part or all their security deposit at some point (Lassman, 2019). Again, seems obvious, but if it is so simple, then why are one of every four people being penalized?! Thankfully, many online resources such as provide renters with resources/checklists to help plan appropriately for the move-out process  (Pirulis, 2020):

  1. Give Proper Notice – Many complexes have policies regarding when notice must be provided to be eligible for receiving the security deposit back. Failure to do so on-time could result in a total loss regardless of how sparkling clean the apartment is left in!
  2. Consider a Cleaning Service – Residents should assume that Managers/Landlords have seen a TON of “clean” apartments. While the term is somewhat subjective, a local cleaning service may be able to help if the task is too much to handle oneself.
  3. Take Pictures – A reference point following move-out will be very beneficial should any concerns arise regarding condition of the unit.
  4. Schedule the Walkthrough – Consider walking through the apartment with the Manager/Landlord. This activity provides an atmosphere for open communication about any issues and associated costs prior to receiving the bill. 

AFI Property Managers are trained to begin renewal communications 120 days in advance of lease expiration. With each renewal communication, Residents are given the Move-Out Cleaning Guidelines Checklist that states minimum cleanliness expectations for every room, floor, countertop, appliance, etc. in the apartment. Receiving an apartment back in rent-ready (or close to) condition not only saves time and money for the Manager, but will help ensure that Residents receive their security deposits back!


Lassman, C. G. (2019, November 19). The One Thing People Forget to Clean When Moving. In Retrieved from

Pirulis, A. (2020, April 30). The Essential To-Do List Before Moving Out of an Apartment. In Retrieved from

Colin CosbyMove-Out Cleaning Checklist