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Tip #72: The Mini Blind Dilemma – Clean or Replace?

by James Safonov

Sadly this is a recurring issue with rental property – should fully functional but very dirty mini blinds be cleaned after a tenant vacates or just replaced?

landlord helpI have several cleaning vendors who nearly all say the same thing: “We will clean the blinds for you, but it will cost you more to clean them than it will to replace them.”

I understand that disposing of perfectly good items to save a buck is one of the reasons people in far lands despise our great Country… but try telling that to a property owner trying to maximize their annual yield while holding onto a rental property they are upside down in on their mortgage.

If anybody wants to weigh in on this issue I am happy to hear it.

P.S. Here are some additional thoughts from fellow professional property managers on The Mini Blind Dilemma:

Dirty mini-blinds is no different than dirty carpets, counter tops and pottysthey should all be left in “Rent Ready” condition. We provide cleaning instructions both as an attachment to the Lease, as well as a copy upon move-out notice. Simply put – blinds (and windows) are expected to be clean. If not, our make-ready crew will clean them and the Tenant is then back-charged. J.S.

Replacing is cheaper for the clients so they should do that and then donate the blinds to the local GoodWill or some other charity who could use, clean and give to someone else. It would help the owner and someone else. L.A.

James Safonov, is a property manager with HomePointe in Sacramento, California, [email protected]. HomePointe provides full service property management, leasing, accounting, and maintenance.

See James Safonov’s feature, Security Deposit Dispute: Settle, or Sue?

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

Have a quick tip to share with other landlords? Email our editor at [email protected].

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  • steve

    what does it take to fill tub with bleach/waters solution, and soak them for 10 mins.?

  • Linda

    Steve, Have you actually done this? I am more that eager to save mini blinds because of cost, waist and time to remount (they always have a new design that causes the old mounts to be useless). But, I have also used the “tub & bleach” method and it is a real chore. Some slats stick together and don’t get clean at all. Metal blinds scratch the tub, assuming they even fit into it, and they all dry with spots and look less than “Rent Ready.” I have decided just to replace them.

  • crankylandlord

    After years of being an apartment building landlord, I decided that the best window coverings to suppy tenants is none. For the following reasons:

    If they are not there when they move in, you don’t have to maintain them (including worrying about having to clean them). Mini and vertical blinds constantly break as the tenants mishandle them.

    If I do have mini blinds up, the tenant want vertical. If there are vertical blinds they want curtains. If there are curtains they want the bamboo style blinds etc. By not having anything at all they decide what they like best and purchase and install them. Many times, when I did have window coverings up, the tenants would not like what I had and take them down and install there own anyway. Sort of like somebody buying clothing for you…its never exactly what you want.

    When a tenant moves out, and leaves curtain rods I generaly would leave those up. If I do I also put in a provision in the lease that I am not responsible to maintain the window coverings.

    Now, the only downside is that the holes in the wall and or window frames from the window coverings are left. This is a minor issue and since I always have some extra paint, it just takes a few moments to plaster and paint those.

    I conclude that I dont think I ever did not rent a unit because of the lack of window coveringts. Very few, if any prospects even point it out and when they do they are happy they get to choose what they want.

  • Hawaii Gal

    I provide curtain rods with curtain clip rings. The tenant can purchase curtains or use any fabric to clip on to the curtain clip rings, in addition the curtains glide faster back and forth with rings They have choice…especially since they can use any fabric as a curtain.

  • Drgeeforce

    I agree w/ crankylandlord, minimalise the built-ins, our contract states specifically that the tenant is responsible for all the lightbulbs, window coverings and refrig. The only thing we maintain is the cooktop/oven. Drapes, miniblinds, lighting is all theirs. We spackle all the holes before we paint so we make it a clean canvas. Our walkthrough list is half a page.

  • Joseph

    I do not install in type of window coverings. I leave it up to the tenants to pick and install what ever window coverings they choose at their cost. I also tell them that any damage to the walls or window frames will be ducted from their security deposit. We speckle and repaint also for a clean canvas. Our move in inspection form is six pages.

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