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There’s also a general rule about who has to pay for what, and after how long. I’ve been told by landlords that when someone’s been in an apartment 3 years, repainting/recarpeting is expected, so they don’t charge tenants. Less than that and they can prorate the cost. (It’s usually stipulated in the lease.) For general cleaning fees, a walk-through with a landlord when you move out is the only way to ensure you’re not going to get any surprises, and any charges that come up can be negotiated on the spot. People think this is a pain to do, but trying to recover a withheld security deposit seems like a larger pain.