What to Do If Apartment Is Dirty When You Move In?

When visiting a new apartment, most people expect a spotless living space. Humans are inherently cleanliness-conscious beings who prefer hygienic and tidy surroundings.

Most landlords ensure that an apartment is thoroughly cleaned before inviting prospective renters. However, renters sometimes move into an apartment only to find it hasn’t been cleaned properly.

In this case, you can take certain steps to ensure a clean and healthy apartment. Read on to discover the best course of action if the apartment you move into is unsanitary.  

What to Do If You Move Into a Dirty Apartment?

If you have moved into a dirty apartment, notify the building’s manager or landlord about the problem immediately. You should also document the condition and insist on an inspection.

Based on the apartment’s condition, you may decide to clean it yourself or consider moving out. Here are five crucial steps to take when moving into a dirty apartment.

Document Everything

If it comes to it, you may need to prove many things in court, so it’s best to document everything you can as soon as you move into the apartment.

Upon entering your new flat, you should immediately pull out your phone and take pictures if you see any undesirable conditions, such as soiled carpets, stained walls, or a fridge full of old food.

Share all the photos with the landlord or building manager and keep the timestamps for better measures. This small step can help you down the road, especially if the conditions are unlivable.

You should also send yourself a detailed account of everything you’ve found. If your landlord or management is dishonest, having proof that the unit was in a certain state will help you avoid getting into hot water.

It’s important to inform your landlord of the problems and dirty goods without wasting any time. Send them a letter explaining the issues and asking for them to be fixed.  

Insist on a Move-In Inspection

When you arrive at your apartment or in the days leading up to your move, the management will conduct a “move-in inspection.”

It is standard practice to have a landlord or landlord’s representative accompany you as you stroll around the flat to take pictures of any damage.

Do not stay silent if you notice anything out of place. They may try to claim that the damaged or soiled carpets are your fault, even though you know they existed before you moved there.

You may be subject to a “move-out inspection” when leaving your current residence. The landlord will refer to the move-in inspection to determine if there have been any changes to the unit.

You will likely be responsible for rectifying or cleaning the variations. So, you might be on the hook for fixing damaged walls and windows if you don’t mention them right away as you move in.

Demand Compensation

Talk to your landlord or management business before cleaning the apartment yourself. Bring up the possibility of a rent reduction due to the state of the apartment.

Explain how your life has changed because of how the apartment fell short of your expectations. You can also include a list of cleaning expenses you have to incur.

If you decide to leave, landlords stand to lose a significant sum of money. Therefore, as a gesture of good faith, landlords will often reduce the cost of the first month’s rent.

Consider the Lease Carefully

When signing a lease, it’s important to read it carefully to understand your responsibilities as well as those of the landlord and management.

Do landlords have to clean units before tenants move in? That is lease-specific. It’s the norm, yet the unit may have been advertised as “As-Is.”

If that is the case, you may have no right to ask the landlord to clean the apartment or provide compensation. Therefore, take your time reading the lease.

Consider Moving Out or Cleaning the Apartment

You may want to consider moving out if the conditions are unlivable or you don’t want to spend time, money, or effort on cleaning. It’s never a good sign if the apartment isn’t as described in the lease.

Think carefully if you see yourself staying there permanently. Most landlords put in extra effort right off the bat to build good rapport with the renter and ensure a trouble-free move.

Consider how your landlord will treat you after a year of living there if they can’t ensure a clean apartment. The landlord may be obligated to refund the rent for the first month and the security deposit. 

If your landlord fails to provide you with a habitable apartment at your scheduled move-in date and the case goes to court, you may be entitled to up to three months’ rent plus attorney expenses.

On the other hand, if you want to settle into the apartment, consider cleaning it yourself or hiring professional cleaning services. The earlier you do it, the better! 

Apartment Move-In Cleaning Tips

You may not want to deal with the dirt and grime that the previous tenant left behind, but cleaning before you move in will make the place feel more like home.

Here are some move-in cleaning tips to ensure your new apartment is sparkly clean and germ-free.  

Clean in the Upside-Down Order

Care should be taken to prevent re-soiling previously cleaned surfaces with dust and dirt as you get started cleaning your new residence. One strategy is to clean in an upside-down order.

It’s best to begin with the ceiling, fan, and lights. Begin from the ceiling and work your way down to the baseboards, the tops of high cabinets, and finally, the flooring, which should be mopped or vacuumed.

When you first enter the room, make your way to the entrance by starting at the other end of the floor. In this way, you won’t leave any scuffs on the floor after you’ve just mopped it.

Empty All Drawers and Cupboards

The cabinets and drawers of your kitchen are where you store appliances, plates, and utensils that come into contact with your food. Cleaning these areas with a solution of vinegar and water is a good idea.

Clean High-Traffic Areas First 

A commercial disinfectant can kill all of their bacteria permanently. Use it on a soft cloth to clean any high-traffic areas, such as counters, handles, switches, buttons, and locks.

Clean the Closets before Unpacking  

Before you start cramming your possessions into the closets of your new place, take the time to give them a thorough cleaning. Take advantage of the space by giving the rooms a thorough cleaning.

You should use a soft cloth and surface spray to thoroughly clean each shelf, paying special attention to the crevices. Consider using some paper or vinyl to hide any shady markings on the shelves.

You want to be sure you can get your security deposit back when it’s time for you to move out. Therefore, only consider detachable solutions.

Clean Mirrors and Glass

Seeing one’s reflection in a spotless window or mirror is one of life’s simple pleasures. Smudges and streaks can be scrubbed away with a commercial glass cleaner.

Curtains and blinds should be vacuumed together with the window sills to get rid of dust buildup. You can use a solution of water and liquid dish soap to remove any stains that refuse to go away.

In order to revive faded window sills and frames, simply mix three parts of warm water with one part of bleach. Use a rough sponge or an old toothbrush to work the solution in.

Toilet Cleaning Is Important

When you initially move into a new place, a simple toilet brush cleaning won’t do the trick. Apply a disinfectant to paper towels and wipe off the outside.

For thorough cleaning, consider pouring enough white vinegar into the water in the toilet tank so that it reaches just below the top rim. After waiting 12 hours, flush many times to remove the vinegar.

To remove any remaining vinegar, close the water supply valve behind the toilet and flush again. Use an all-purpose cleaner to scrub out the emptied tank’s interior.

Purify the Air

If the flat has a musty odor, open the windows to let in some fresh air. A stale odor may persist if the previous tenants smoked there.

You can use the vinegar and water mixture to deodorize the carpet and clean the walls. In the event that the stench remains, contact the building’s manager.

After you’ve finished the move-in cleaning, you’ll be in a much better position to settle in and make your new place feel like home.

Also read: Why is My Apartment so Dusty

What Can You Do to Avoid Moving Into a Dirty Apartment

You should make a point of checking out a new apartment before signing the lease. It is not always safe to rely on the photographs provided in the listing.

It’s possible that these are stock images or really old photographs. Visit the apartment before you officially move in to make sure it lives up to your standards.

If there are any problems, you should talk to the landlord about fixing them before you move in. That will be extremely helpful in preventing any surprises on your first day.

Who Is Responsible for Cleaning Between Tenants

Whether or not a landlord has to clean between renters seems to be more of a moral quandary than a legal one.

Unfortunately, no hard and fast rule says a landlord has to give their tenant a spotless apartment before they move in.

However, the down deposit is the landlord’s insurance against the tenant trashing the apartment or damaging something that needs to be fixed after the tenant moves out.

Most renters clean the home before leaving the apartment to ensure they receive the down deposit. Landlords also insist on a spotless apartment before signing a new renter.

It is because it can be tough to prove the full magnitude of the damage if you move into a messy flat and leave with an even dirtier one.

Now you know what to do if the apartment you move into is dirty. Consider your options and choose the best course of action based on your personal circumstances and the lease agreement. 

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