Apartment Maintenance Checklist: How to Take Care of Your Home

Kitchen in the apartment

When you move into an apartment, a little proactive maintenance can help you get more of your security deposit back when it is time to leave.

Although renting does get you off the hook for many expenses, most landlords include a lease stipulation that says any damage you create becomes your responsibility.

Since each lease, rental agreement, and leasing company is slightly different, your maintenance responsibilities could be variable. You’ll want to see if you are responsible for replacing light bulbs or air filters. If there is a dryer, are you supposed to be cleaning the vent?

If you need any help with these tasks, a professional service provider can deliver the desired results at an affordable price.

Walls and Paint

The best way to avoid issues in this maintenance category is to use temporary hangers for your pictures and decorations. If you must use nails, use the thinnest ones possible to minimize damage to the paint, texture, and walls.

  • If you hang pictures on your walls using nails or screws, you’ll need to fill these areas to avoid a costly repair charge. Most hardware stores sell products that you can apply with a small putty blade.
  • When there is extensive wall damage (doorknob holes, moisture damage, mold, etc.), a patching kit might be necessary.
  • If you painted the walls a different color, you’d need to restore the original hue before leaving the property to avoid a costly expense.

Decks and Porches

Since most decks and porches are outside, the maintenance expenses fall on the landlord or property manager to manage. If you damage this element somehow, like burning the wood by dropping hot charcoal on it from your grill, it is on you to fix the issue.

If other weather-related issues don’t get reported, some landlords might be able to make the case that your negligence is responsible for the cost.

  • Inspect the railings, spindles, and banisters for rot, mold, mildew, and other possible damage.
  • Look for any loose items that are part of your porch or deck’s structure, including the handrails.
  • When you communicate maintenance issues in these areas, you’ll want to share them with your landlord or property management agency in writing to ensure you have documentation to serve as evidence of your activities.

Doors and Entryways

An apartment’s doors and entryways tend to pick up the most dings, nicks, and smudges while calling that place home. You’ll want to inspect the doors, trim, knobs, locks, and hinges for potential damage. If you find anything, it helps to get the items repaired before moving.

  • Check the hinges to ensure they move quietly and smoothly. If you hear any noise or encounter problems, add some lubrication.
  • If you have a chain lock, ensure that it has secure connections to your wall and door.
  • Inspect the door sweeps to ensure they’re not worn out or broken. It’s a good idea to look at your weatherstripping during this point in the checklist.
  • Your deadbolt should be in working order without experiencing any snags.

Windows and Sills

Most landlords are responsible for the windows, but it could fall on you if they break due to your negligence. If you encounter problems with the glass as your moving date gets closer, it’s a good time to send over a maintenance request in writing.

  • Report any chips, cracks, or other glass damage should get reported immediately.
  • If you have foggy panes, that indicates an insulated window has a broken seal that requires repair.
  • Any screens that are on the windows will need a careful inspection to ensure that they are in a usable condition.

You’ll need to review your lease to see who is responsible for your interior sills. Although it is sometimes a landlord issue, it is often the tenant’s responsibility.

Carpets and Floors

Most carpeting has a lifespan rating of five to seven years. It’s not unusual for it to go much further in many rentals. There’s an expectation that the flooring gets professionally cleaned when moving out, but if there is damage to the floor, the cost should be based on how old it is.

You can avoid problems by cleaning up spills quickly, vacuuming regularly, and putting rugs in high-traffic areas to prevent excessive wear and tear.

When you take care of your apartment with these maintenance tasks, it’ll be easier to keep your home in excellent repair. There will be fewer issues with getting your security deposit back, and you might get a positive referral for future needs. 

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