clean between tenants

Tenant turnover is a stressful and busy time for everyone involved. Between the move-out inspection, advertising the vacancy, cleaning and prepping the unit, and all of the other incidentals involved in the tenant turnover process, it’s no surprise that landlords and property managers can miss a few small details, occasionally. 

This is especially true when it comes to cleaning the rental unit. Be aware of those little details that often become overlooked in the flurry of turnover by ensuring you are cleaning these key areas that you are likely forgetting between tenants.

Basic Cleaning Between Tenants:

Basic cleaning between tenants is crucial to ensure that your rental property is ready to be listed and occupied by a new tenant. While this list is not comprehensive, there are certainly a few important things you should be adding to your to-do list.

To start, do a general walk-through for any damage or left behind the property (this can be part of your overall move-out inspection). After this has been completed and repairs have been made, you can begin your deep cleaning.

Learn more: Tenant Turnover | The Move-Out Process

Basic Cleaning Tasks You Should Complete Between Tenants:

  • Dust and wash cabinetry, countertops, and walls. Paint over these areas if necessary.
    • Remember to start from top to bottom to ensure that dust doesn’t fall on your newly cleaned areas.
  • Scrub and/or steam clean appliances and fixtures
  • Clean and disinfect bathrooms
  • Vacuum and clean any flooring. 
    • Note that carpets may require professional cleaning.

Key Areas You Might Be Forgetting to Clean Between Tenants:

In Unit Refrigerator and Freezer:

 The refrigerator is one of the most important appliances in the kitchen, and replacing one can be costly. If you provide your tenants with a refrigerator, care for it well to ensure that it lasts. You likely already know that your new tenants will appreciate a clean refrigerator interior, but this is not the only task you need to tackle. Now might be a great time to defrost and deep clean the freezer, if needed.

Additionally, cleaning behind the refrigerator and maintaining the cleanliness of the refrigerator condenser coils is key. While this task should ideally be done annually (or even biannually if the home is prone to dust or has pets), many renters never think to put this maintenance task on their to-do list. At a minimum, landlords wanting to protect their investments need to ensure this task is completed between tenants. Fortunately, the task isn’t terribly difficult.

How to Clean Refrigerator Condenser coils:

  • Remove the refrigerator’s toe grip to access the coils
    • Note: if the model does not have a toe grip the coils will be located on the back of the fridge (you may need to unplug and remove the refrigerator from the way to gain access).
  • Use a dust mask and a coil condenser brush to remove any dust and debris
    • Bob Vila recommends that you “work it back and forth to remove dust and try gently twisting it to get into corners and tight spots,” and keep a vacuum with a hose attachment running to collect dust while you brush it off.
  • Vacuum any remaining dust.
  • Replace the toe grip, or put the refrigerator back to its original spot and plug it in.

Change HVAC Filters:

If you are the landlord of a single-family home, you likely remind your tenants to change their HVAC filters to ensure that your HVAC is in good working condition. Unfortunately, not all tenants remember to complete that task often. Between tenants, change the filter to ensure that the job is done.

The Blinds:

This task is one that can get tedious depending on the number of blinds in the unit and the number of units you manage. If it becomes too cumbersome, it may be a job you find you would rather outsource to a professional. Regardless of whether you leave it to the pros or DIY your way to clean blinds, your new tenants will appreciate the job well done. 

Since blinds can accumulate dust, grease, and other grime, clean blinds are key to ensuring the unit is clean and odor-free for the next tenant. For basic cleaning, simply use a vacuum cleaner attachment or a microfiber cloth. If your past tenants were tidy, this may be all that is required. For blinds that are heavily soiled, you’ll have to use a little more elbow grease.

How to Deep Clean Plastic Blinds:

  • Remove surface dust with cloth and vacuum
  • Fill a bathtub or large tote with warm water
  • Allow the blinds to soak for an hour and hang them outside to dry
    • While the blinds are still wet, wipe away any remaining grime or dust


Clean windows will do more than make your unit tidy; they will ensure you are truly putting your property’s best foot forward. Natural lighting is a big selling point for many renters, don’t do your unit a disservice by neglecting the windows. Ensure all the natural light can shine through by getting the windows sparkling clean. While you’re at it, don’t neglect the often forgotten window screens and seals. 

These areas can collect dust, debris from foliage, and even dead insects. Use a hose attachment to vacuum dust and debris and follow up with a microfiber cloth. Spray a gentle multipurpose cleaning solution onto your cloth and you will ensure that your windows are truly highlighting the great aspects of your unit. 

Cleaning between tenants can be a challenging task, especially if you are a do-it-yourself landlord. It can be difficult to address every area on your list properly, but it is vital to ensure that your rental property is truly ready for your newest tenant. Don’t miss out by ignoring these key areas you’re likely forgetting to clean between tenants, be sure to add them to your list for the next time you deal with tenant turnover.