Can I Be Charged For End Of Tenancy Cleaning
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Have you been asking: can I be charged for end of tenancy cleaning? We look at the rules for tenants when leaving a rental property.
Can the landlord force you to hire a cleaning company?
As we are sure you already know, the cleaning of a property is the tenant's responsibility. This responsibility entails that when the keys to the property are returned to the landlord, the property will be just as clean as it was when you first moved in. The landlord is within their rights to request a hygiene standard that is equal to the one that is featured in the inventory agreement.
The end-of-tenancy cleaning is something that you only do when the property will struggle to meet those criteria. If you have been a tenant that has cared for the space and been maintaining all the property's features, then it is likely that the property will be very closer to what is described in the inventory already. When this is the case, you will only need to do some light cleaning before you give up the property to the landlord.
Landlords cannot under any conditions force you into purchasing end-of-tenancy cleaning services as long as you have met your obligations as a tenant. Some landlords will include what is known as a "professional cleaning" clause in their tenancy contracts and agreements.
This means that tenants will find themselves in a situation where they will be forced to hire cleaning services that can cost up to £400 for as short a tenancy as six months. Albeit, this is about as extreme as these situations can get. As you can imagine, many tenants will feel as though their rights are being intruded upon due to the demand for excessive spending on cleaning.
If you are a tenant, as long as you return the property to the landlord in a clean state, then you are completely free to choose the means of sanitation. A landlord demanding that you hire a professional cleaning service when the property is actually clean or before the tenant has been given an opportunity to perform their own cleaning is highly unfair.
Although if you do not return the property in a high-quality state, then the landlord is fully within their rights to hire a professional cleaning service and then charge you for all the associated costs.
In some situations, the landlord will agree to have the whole property professionally cleaned before the tenant moves in, and they will expect in return that the tenant will do the same before they move out. These conditions should be negotiated with your landlord before the tenancy agreement is signed. It is important that you have agreed on how you will prevent disputes.
Tenant cleaning responsibilities
When a property tenancy is ending, the tenant has a responsibility to ensure that the space is as clean as it was when they originally moved in.
For the sake of both the landlords and the tenants, it is advisable to take a lot of photographs around the property right at the start of the tenancy.
These images can be used as evidence of the property's cleanliness, or non-cleanliness, at the time of the move-in.
The landlord also needs to have a written inventory provided to the tenants that includes everything within the property; it should also describe the condition of each item that has been provided.
This means that if within the inventory, the carpets are described as being "clean throughout the property", this is the state they should be left in when the accommodation is returned to the landlord.
If the tenants fail to do this, then they are likely to have some of their deposit withheld so the landlord can use that money to pay for any repairs or cleaning.
Fair wear & tear
You should not confuse cleanliness with the eventual deterioration that happens to every property gradually over time. So what exactly is fair wear and tear? The majority of tenancy agreements will define fair wear and tear as the reasonable use of the property by the tenant and the ordinary operation of natural forces. An example of this would be a property's carpets.
There is no avoiding that carpets will naturally wear over time, so if you are renting a property with a brand new carpet, then you cannot expect the carpets to remain in perfect condition after a whole year of use.
The longer a tenant is letting a property for, the more general wear and tear there will be, but this doesn't mean that the property can't still be clean. Stains, burns, and rips are all completely different matters, and in these cases, the landlord is completely within their rights to make reasonable and fair deductions from the tenant's deposit in order to pay for any fixes or cleaning.
What condition should the tenant leave the property in?
The general rule is that a tenant has an obligation when returning the property to the landlord to do so with the property in the exact same condition as when they first moved in. This does not include damages caused by fair wear and tear. It is important to not get confused, as many tenants and landlords do, over cleanliness and wear and tear.
An item can be used regularly, causing ageing and wearing, but this doesn't mean that the item can't still be clean. In most scenarios, the situation is just that simple, and it is quite uncommon for tenants to cause a lot of trouble for the landlord. They will leave the property in a good condition and receive back their deposit. Some tenants will even go the extra mile and leave it in even better condition than how they first received it.
Unfortunately, there are a number of issues that can arise when it comes time for end-of-tenancy cleaning. This is why end-of-tenancy cleaning is the major reason for deposit deductions.
Should Tenants pay for professional cleaning anyway?
The DIY approach to end-of-tenancy cleaning is certainly a lot cheaper, but it can take many hours of cleaning in order to get the property back to an acceptable level that the landlord will be happy with. Not everyone is confident enough with their own cleaning skills, so will instead hire a professional. Professional cleans are completely stress-free, and you are guaranteed to receive a high-quality end-product.
The downside, of course, is that these services can be costly, so if you have been living in a shared house, then the best option might be for everyone to chip in to make up the cost.
What will your landlord or letting agent be looking for?
The level of cleanliness that is to be expected is largely open to the interpretation of the tenant. One of the issues that can commonly cause disputes is that what one person may consider to be spotlessly clean, another person may believe to be only mildly clean.
These wildly different interpretations are the exact reason why so many of the disputes handled by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme relate to cleanliness levels.
However, when it comes to the cleaning of a home that you have rented, the landlord should only expect you to clean the property up to the level that it was at when you first moved in. This accounts for the extra elements of fair wear and tear.
This means that whether you choose to hire a professional cleaner to help you with the cleaning or simply decide to do it yourself, it is of the utmost importance that you have your inventory with you so you can see how the property looked when your tenancy began.
Ensure that you are checking the inventory as you clean from room to room.
This way, you will be able to focus on the parts of the home that actually need fixing and cleaning rather than the defects in the home that were that way from the start.
Are you looking for end of tenancy cleaning services in Caernarfon, Anglesey and Gwynedd? For more information on how to keep your office spaces cleaned or to hire a professional service, be sure to contact our team.