“Broom Clean” or “Broom Swept” condition is a term often found on real estate contracts or rental contracts. But what exactly does it really mean? How clean is broom clean? And what happens if your place isn’t left broom clean? Well, there isn’t an actual legal definition of the term, but it does have certain expectations and consequences that will vary based on if you own or rent your home. Keep reading to find out what broom clean means for renters, and click this link to read the full article, where the term is defined for homeowners.
What ‘broom clean’ means for renters
The rules for vacating a rental are quite strict: Broom clean means you should leave the place in the same condition as when you moved in, minus reasonable wear and tear. So once you’ve removed your belongings, break out a vacuum, broom, Swiffer, or other cleaning weapon of choice and go to town.
“It’s important for a tenant to clean the place thoroughly,” says Mike Vraa, managing attorney for HOME Line, a tenant hotline in Minneapolis.
The reason you’ll want to bring your A-game to this is that most landlords are holding your security deposit as collateral in case you don’t leave the place in great shape—and some might want to play tough guy with you. If you want that money back (and you do, right?), you’ll want to give them no wiggle room to find fault with your efforts.
In addition to cleaning, you should fix any alterations you made to the property. For instance, if you nailed a picture on the wall or installed curtains, you should take these down and fill any holes you made with putty.
Vraa even recommends taking photos of the entire rental afterward just in case your landlord tries to withhold your deposit (or a portion of it). If you encounter difficulties with a landlord who just won’t give up that deposit, consult a local tenants’ rights organization, as regulations vary by state and municipality.