Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates
My question isn't about buying and selling homes, but I know that many forum regulars are real estate investors, so I hope I can get some clarity on a question about security deposits.
We had a tenant for five years who always paid on time and took average care of our property, a single family home renting for $850 monthly. When she moved out, and we started routine cleaning in order to show the property again, we found out it wasn't as clean as we expected. Nothing nasty or destroyed, but nothing really cleaned, either.
Are we being too demanding to expect a tenant to have vacuumed the carpeting, washed the vinyl floors, run the self-cleaning oven through a cycle, hauled off bags of garbage and cardboard, and wiped down the inside of the refrigerator? If you as a landlord had to do these things, would you deduct cleaning fees from a security deposit, or just be glad it wasn't worse?
My other question to landlords concerns replacing miniblinds. The tenant used scented candles extensively, not necessarily top quality candles by her own admission. Now we are seeing that the candles leave a sticky film on vinyl mini blinds. There are 18 windows, and since washing the blinds would have been an all day, messy affair at best, we replaced them at a cost of about $80, total. Would you deduct this cost from the security deposit, or is this normal wear and tear?
We also repainted all the interior walls (1730 square feet), touched up the trim, painted the deck, pressure washed the exterior, put the landscaping back in shape, shampooed the carpet, washed all the windows, and made other normal repairs. That's expected.
I want to do what's right and legal, but I don't want to give away money either. What would you do? Charge for the blinds and some cleaning, or not?