I was given a 'move-out package' which included a two-page list of instructions - instructions, mind you, not requests - for exactly how I was to clean the apartment before moving out. I was ordered to scrub (not sweep) the floors, wipe the cabinets inside and out, wipe the refrigerator inside and out, clean under the refrigerator, clean the oven, scrub the bathtub, wipe out the medicine cabinet, etc. etc. I was also instructed to have the carpets professionally cleaned and present my receipt upon move-out or I would be charged $120.00. When I called the property manager (I was polite and didn't open the conversation with "are you on crack?") and told her there was no way I was doing that, I was told I would be charged for everything on the list that wasn't done.
Let me say right here and now, I am not saying I'm too good to clean. Of course I'm going to clean before I leave. I'm not a pig, I'm not going to leave filth behind. But I'm talking normal cleaning here, what any reasonable person would do before moving out of a residence. Sweeping, vaccuming, making sure all my trash is taken out, etc. These people were demanding I do a professional grade cleaning job on that apartment at MY expense and that's what I find unreasonable.
Having lived at this complex for so long, I was pretty familiar with what happened when someone moved out. I would see the carpet company vans outside, see the hoses snaking up the stairs, see the cleaning crews arriving to clean the vacant apartments. Or at least, I used to see them. It began to dawn on me when I was preparing for my own move-out that I hadn't seen any cleaners around in a while. I wondered why they were trying to force me to do this intense top-to-bottom cleaning job before I left. What was the point? They were just going to send professional cleaners in after me.
I began to suspect that I was supposed to be the one preparing the apartment for the next tenant. I know the economy is tough, but when a big wealthy real estate company thinks they're either going to force me to (a) become their unpaid cleaner or (b) pay for them to hire one, that's when I draw the line. That should not be my responsibility. I've been renting apartments for twenty years and I have never had a landlord have the arrogance to order me to clean the carpets and the apartment to prepare it for the next tenant. I think most of us would expect that, when we move into a new apartment, it's been professionally cleaned and sanitized. I kept asking the property manager, "Are you flipping these units based solely on the previous tenant's cleaning job?" I asked her at least four times and she would not answer me.
So, long story short (too late, I know), I moved out without doing 99% of what was on the list. Sorry, I had enough to do. I am not a professional cleaner. I did what I felt was reasonable and left it at that. Shortly after I moved, I received a bill from the property management with an itemized list of expenses totaling $260.00, from $15.00 for not scrubbing the tub to $5.00 for not wiping out the medicine cabinet. I forget how much they wanted for not scrubbing under the refrigerator, but whatever. I'm five feet tall. Do you really expect me to haul a fucking refrigerator out and clean under it? What, so I can tear up that new laminate floor you just put down and you can charge me for that, too?
The whole thing was ridiculous. I could go on for pages about all the crap they tried to pull and all the stuff they tried to charge me for. There is a happy ending, though. I didn't pay it, told them I wouldn't pay it, and if they wanted to take me to court I'd be delighted, just pick the date and time. After much hemming and hawing back and forth, they eventually dropped it, but only when I threatened to go to the media and the Attorney General's office over it.
tl;dr: Tenant hands arrogant landlord a move-out notice. Landlord hands tenant a maid's uniform.
EDIT: Okay, most of those who have commented do not feel the landlord was being unreasonable or that they did anything that constituted bad service. Fair enough. I don't have a problem with anyone disagreeing with me. I must say, though, that I really am disappointed to see the level of snark and nastiness spewing out of some people. Having been around this comm for a while, though, I can't say I'm really surprised.