How to ensure you get your deposit back when you move out of your apartment

How to ensure you get your deposit back when you move out of your apartment

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Are you soon due to move out of an apartment in Germany? You’ll want to make sure you’ve dotted all your proverbial I’s and crossed all the T’s, to ensure you get your deposit back. Here's a handy guide to ensure you tick every box, including how Helpling can aid in your ultimate end-of-tenancy cleaning

Moving can be a stressful undertaking, especially if you are not familiar with the basics of handing over a flat in Germany. The final handover to your landlord is critical, and it's essential to prepare for it properly. 

In Germany, outgoing tenants are expected to leave their apartments “besenrein” (broom-clean) for the next occupant. Let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of what "broom-clean" really means, to ensure your handover goes smoothly and you get your deposit back. 

1. Understand your tenancy agreement

The foundation of a smooth handover is thoroughly understanding your tenancy agreement. Before you even think about scrubbing and dusting, take time to review your contract and make sure that you understand any specific cleaning or repair conditions laid out. 

Often, agreements will usually state that the flat should be returned to the condition it was in when it was first rented, with exceptions for normal wear and tear.

2. “Broom-clean” defined

Cracking the code: Many are perplexed by the term “besenrein”. It literally translates to “broom clean” and generally means clean and tidy. However, it is most commonly used in the context of leaving an apartment as in “to leave an apartment besenrein”, and in this context it means an apartment that is left in the condition it was in when the tenant first moved in. 

That means, if your place is besenrein, it should be devoid of personal belongings, rubbish should be cleared out, and surfaces should be dusted and wiped down. Floors should be swept or vacuumed, and any required minor repairs should be carried out. Some people opt to do a deep clean to leave the apartment totally spotless and give the impression that it has been looked after. 

3. Check all rooms

When you’re preparing to move out of your apartment, leave no stone unturned. Start at one end of the flat and move to the other, inspecting each room thoroughly along the way: 

Bedrooms and living rooms: Look for marks on the walls, check if all the lights are functional, and ensure the windows are clean. Return any furniture that came with the flat to its original position. 

  • Kitchen: All cupboards and appliances should be cleaned inside and out. Check the oven, fridge and microwave, and even the extractor fan.
  • Bathrooms: Ensure there is no limescale build-up, mould, or any water marks.
  • Balconies and patios: Clear any debris and ensure they're tidy.

4. Minor repairs

Fix the nicks and chips: over time, a certain amount of wear and tear is to be expected and isn’t something that a landlord can hold onto a deposit over. But to make things super smooth, before handing over the keys you should check for:

  • Scuffed walls: A quick paint touch-up might be necessary.
  • Broken fixtures: Replace any damaged light bulbs or fittings.
  • Loose handles or knobs: Tighten or replace them.

5. Book a deep clean

If achieving a spotless clean seems daunting, or you're pressed for time, a cleaning service might come to your rescue. There are even a number of services out there that specialise in end-of-tenancy cleans, ensuring you leave your apartment in the best possible state for the handover meeting with your landlord. 

You can save yourself some time by letting an expert handle the task, and ensure you get a clean that will impress even the most fastidious landlord, increasing the chances of a full deposit return.

6. Document everything

You can never be too careful. Hopefully, when you moved into the apartment you documented its condition with photos (for instance noting any damage that was preexisting before you arrived). 

Now that you’re leaving, it’s time to get out your camera phone once again and take photographs of each room. This will give you useful evidence in case there are any disputes with the landlord about the apartment’s condition. 

7. Final walkthrough

The big moment has arrived: schedule a final walkthrough with your landlord. This gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns and address them on the spot, ensuring both parties are satisfied.

Once finished, you’ll hand over the keys and head off to your new place, confident that your deposit will soon be making its way back into your bank account. 

Need some help with a move-out clean? Helpling, a leading platform connecting individuals with experienced cleaners, can match you up with professionals trained to give your apartment a comprehensive clean. With a helping hand from Helpling, you can ensure a smooth transition and the return of your full deposit. Happy moving!



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