Getting Your Bond Back
Getting a full bond refund at the end of your tenancy is important, and not just for your bank balance. It will come up on future tenancy applications, where you’ll be asked if you received it in full, and if not, why not.
While some things may be a bit beyond your ability to fix (those big scratches you made in the floorboards pulling your wardrobe around, for example) there are many things you can do to help make a better impression when your property manager makes the final inspection. You’re trying to create an overall appearance of cleanliness, to add to the idea that you’ve been looking after the place - which you have been, no?
Clean the oven
This one is a bit out of sight, out of mind - close the oven door, and no-one can see the remains of last February’s nacho night hard-baked all over the internal walls. This is not one you can fool your landlord or property manager with, though, as they'll have seen their fair share of filthy ovens over the years, and they'll make a bee-line for it at the inspection. Putting a bit of work in to this oft-neglected task may just help them to see you’ve been doing your bit to keep the place in good order.
Mow the lawns and tidy up the garden
A bit of a no-brainer - nothing sets a property manager on edge more than a tenant who’s allowed the front lawn to get to armpit-height. This is the first thing they’ll notice when they come to the inspection, so don’t spoil their mood before they even get in to the house. Grab the mower, put on the garden gloves, and neaten it up. You don’t have to go too overboard, just make sure that it’s not the least tended-to garden on the street.
Scrub the walls
This is everyone’s least favourite, so we’re calling it optional. If the walls are largely pristine, you can get away without too much elbow grease. If you’ve been leaning things against the walls, holding house parties, or it’s been a long time since you gave the place a once-over, you’re going to need to apply some elbow-grease. Use sugar soap or a similar product (even a diluted ‘spray and wipe’) to get rid of dark grimey patches. You’ll be amazed when you step back to take a look how much of a difference a bit of scrubbing can make to a room.
Mop/Vacuum throughout the house
This is an easy win - get the floors looking sparkly clean, and you’ll be well on your way to impressing the property manager at inspection time. Vacuum carpeted floors thoroughly, and mop and sweep hardwood floors. Of course, you already do this every week or two though, right?
Fill any screw or nail holes and touch-up with paint
If you’ve been hanging paintings or other wall decorations and made modifications to do so (i.e. drilled or nailed into the walls) you’ll want to make sure that you fill and paint these before your final inspection. These are a ‘gimme’ for a disgruntled property manager and/or landlord - remember, you’re wanting to make it as simple as possible for them to tick you off for a full refund. Get down to your local hardware store and grab some putty and a small tin of white/off-white paint to touch-up with - a small investment of time and money here could save you a lot further down the line.
For next time - take lots of pictures and fill in the condition report
When you move into a rental, you’ll be asked to fill in a condition report. This can often seem like a pain when you really want to get your boxes unpacked and get settled in to your new spot, however, it’s really worth being as detailed as possible at this point - you'll thank your younger self when move-out day comes around. That’s because if you’ve taken a bunch of pictures and logged all pre-existing issues, you’ll be safe at the end of your tenancy from any accusations of damage (except those things you’re actually responsible for).
Residential Tenancies Bond Authority - view, arrange, or transfer your bond - https://rentalbonds.vic.gov.au/
Tenants Victoria - get advice and legal information on your bond and tenancy in general - https://www.tenantsvic.org.au/