You cannot charge tenants for cleaning in all situations – as this would be a fee and would be in breach of the Tenants Fees legislation.
However, the tenant fees legislation does not prevent you from claiming damages for losses suffered by you due to tenants’ breach of the terms of their tenancy agreement.
So to be able to charge for cleaning you must be able to prove that this is the case.
You should, therefore, have the following in place:
At the start of the tenancy
- Ensure that your tenancy agreement provides for tenants to keep the property clean and tidy, AND
- For them to leave the property in the same clean and tidy condition as it was at the start of the tenancy
- Make sure that the property IS clean and tidy at the start of the tenancy AND
- Have a check-in report or schedule of condition which specifically states that the property is clean, AND
- Have a copy of this which is signed by the tenants as agreed and/or arrange for it to be prepared by someone independent (such as an inventory clerk).
This is because you can only charge for cleaning if the property was clean to start with (and you can prove this) and if the tenants are contractually obliged to leave it in a clean condition (but not better than it was at the start).
At the end of the tenancy
Here you need to have an independent report (ideally by an inventory clerk, preferably the same clerk who did the check-in) stating that the property is dirty.
You are then able to justify making a deduction from the deposit at the end of the tenancy.
Not as a ‘fee’ but as compensation for the fact that the tenant is in breach of his contractual obligation to leave the property in a clean and tidy condition.
Making a claim
If your tenants refuse to accept your claim for cleaning from their deposit, you will need to refer this to adjudication. You will need to provide the adjudicators with the following:
- A copy of your tenancy agreement – stating that the tenants are obliged to leave the property in the same clean condition as it was at the start
- A copy of your check-in report stating that the property was actually clean at the start
- A copy of your checkout report providing that it was in a dirty condition when the tenants left, and
- Your receipt from your cleaners – to prove that the sum you are claiming is justified.
Whether or not you succeed in your claim at adjudication will depend on the quality of your evidence.
Which is why check-in and check out reports from an independent inventory clerk are recommended.
Photographs (either date stamped or embedded in a signed and dated report) are also recommended but the report should also state specifically that the property is clean.
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