Whilst most tenancies end smoothly, some unfortunately result in deposit disputes, creating unforeseen costs, worries and delays for landlords. The most common cause of landlord & tenant discord is cleaning, which according to the TDS, is responsible for over 40% of end of tenancy disputes.
Below is our tips on avoiding messy conflicts and ensuring a clean getaway at the end of a tenancy;
Get The Tenancy Agreement Right
Ensure a clause in the Tenancy Agreement defining that the tenant is responsible for cleaning at the end of tenancy
Add a deposit clause to the Tenancy Agreement which allows you to use the deposit for (reasonable) cleaning costs
The Importance of Inventory
Make sure you have an Inventory Report that accurately describes the cleanliness of each part of the property – with plenty of photos! An End of Tenancy Report will show whether the property is less clean at the end compared to the start
Keep the Paperwork
Keep all invoices for work carried out at your property or items purchased. Ensure they include a date, and a clear breakdown of what was done and materials used
Respond to Issues
Rectify issues when they are reported – therefore at the tenancy end there are no defects that could complicate a claim
If a tenant isn’t maintaining your property to the standard you expect, you will want to know about it as soon as possible and avoid any nasty surprises!
Have Realistic Expectations
Tenants should leave a property in the same condition it was in at the start of the tenancy – with one proviso, “fair wear and tear” which will take place due to ‘normal and reasonable’ use
If the property was cleaned to a professional standard at the beginning of the tenancy, and this is detailed within the inventory / check-in, then the tenant should be required to return the property to this standard. However, tenants cannot be asked to pay for professional cleaners at the end of tenancy. A fair clause, however, would be to ask that they clean the property to a professional standard.
Persistent Smells After Cleaning
Claims for persistent smells would need to be strongly supported by the written word of both the check-in report and the check-out report. Good evidence would be an invoice from a cleaning contractor which details the work they have done and stating that such smells remained.
In conclusion, following the steps will maximise the chances of no issues at the end of a tenancy.
Its important to remember, if a landlord wishes to make a tenancy deposit deduction for cleaning, they may have to show that the amount they’re claiming is reasonable, but importantly, a landlord does not need to actually do the work that they’ve claimed for.
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