Moving Out Checklist: Get Your Security Deposit Back

March 06, 2020
Young Woman Unpacking a Box

The end of your lease is approaching and it’s almost time to move. One of the key things you may be concerned about is whether you’ll get your security deposit refunded. Our moving-out checklist details what typically needs to be cleaned in an apartment to help you get your security deposit returned. Review the move out cleaning checklist below or download our printable PDF version and tick off all the boxes before you give your apartment keys back.


Moving out checklist

Click to download


According to a survey by, more than 25% of renters don’t get their security deposit back. To help avoid being in that group, thoroughly inspect every room and ask yourself: Is everything in working order? Is it clean? Any damage? Have there been changes made that need to be reversed?

Move out cleaning checklist


  • Mop all tile and hardwood floors
  • Fix tears, holes or burn marks in carpets
  • Remove any pet stains
  • Repair broken tiles
  • Vacuum all carpeting


  • Wash down walls, especially areas above heaters and vents
  • Brush out cobwebs from corners and ceilings
  • Wipe down switch plates
  • Remove all nails and screws
  • Remove hooks, ceiling hooks and mounted mirrors – properly patch holes
  • Fill smaller holes with spackle and sand smooth
  • Patch and repaint larger holes
  • Repair and repaint any walls you may have damaged or repainted
  • Clean ceiling fan blades


  • Clean windows inside and out, including tracks
  • Clean window blinds
  • Fix broken windows, window screens or blinds
  • Mend tears, holes or burn marks to curtains


  • Make sure doors and locks work properly
  • Wipe down doors,  frames and knobs


  • Repair appliances you may have damaged
  • Clear any clogged drains
  • Clean sink and all countertops
  • Wipe cabinets in and out, as well as pantries and shelves
  • Clean inside and outside of microwave, including the filter underneath
  • Thoroughly clean stove and oven – remove drip pans to clean bottom surface
  • Wipe inside, underneath and behind refrigerator
  • Clean out dishwasher, including around and inside the door
  • Run ice cubes, salt and cold water through the garbage disposal to clean out remnants of food
  • Remove grease, dust and dirt from the exhaust fan and overhead light


  • Clean all mildew and mold
  • Sanitize bathtub, shower, sink and toilet
  • Check that toilet is working properly
  • Clean vanity, shelves and mirrors
  • Wipe down inside of drawers and cabinets
  • Wash all tiles and clean grout
  • Clean exhaust fans

Additional items:

  • Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are working – replace batteries if necessary
  • Replace burnt out light bulbs
  • Clean all light fixtures inside and out
  • Clear out all belongings from cabinets, closets, drawers, etc.
  • Remove all outdoor belongings from patio, deck, terrace, balcony, yard, etc.
  • Clean patio areas
  • Take out any leftover trash

Once you’ve inspected, cleaned and removed everything from your unit, take pictures of each room for your records, as well as your landlord’s.

Getting ready to sign a new lease? One thing on that checklist should be protecting your belongings with renters insurance.

Related articles

How to Change Your Address

8 Tips for Finding the Best Rental Home

How to Negotiate Your Rent

When is the Best Time to Buy a House


  • Moving