End Of Tenancy Cleaning and Getting Your Deposit Back

Do you like to clean? Do you keep a tidy house?

Landlords who are like me love those tenants who keep our houses and flats tidy.

It is so easy for us to re-let a place if the previous tenants keeps a clean and tidy house. No prospective tenant is impressed when they come to a viewing and they see the current tenants’ old pizza boxes lying on the floor and a filthy kitchen and bathroom. Most cannot see past the mess.

But the problem for you as the tenant is more financial.

If your landlord had a proper and thorough inventory done and if he protected your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme -(you should have been notified of this within 30 days of the tenancy start date, that is the law!)  – then you will want to leave the place in the same state and condition at the end of tenancy as it was at the start.

Always take time dated photos (and maybe a video) to prove how clean it was on the day you vacated, in case the landlord tries to make a deduction for extra cleaning. If he does unfairly hold back cash to cover cleaning, you can challenge it at the tenancy deposit scheme’s dispute resolution process.

But if you hate cleaning and the place is filthy, how do you get the property clean and back into the same clean state it was when you first rented it, which may be some years ago?

If you are someone who has never cleaned and you would not know the difference between a duster and a mop if one of them hit you on the head, maybe it is time to call in a professional cleaner to perform an end of tenancy clean.

Hiring Professional End Of Tenancy Cleaners

Ensure that whoever you hire, you check what their standard clean includes to make sure it includes everything the landlord will expect to see done.

But here is the problem.

The standard of the end of tenancy cleaning that is actually delivered by these cleaning companies is often, in our opinion, well short of the standard we, as landlords, would like to see. And the duster-shy, mop-shy tenant, of course, will not have clue what standard should be delivered and will happily pay the cleaners bill and let them wander off into the ether.

Smart professional cleaners know this. They can sniff out a mop-shy tenant when they come to a property and are happy to deliver a lousy job, which they would not dream of delivering if the owner-landlord was standing over and watching.

The fact is that most end of tenancy cleaning in the UK, and certainly in London is performed by migrant workers, often working for a franchise, at very low rates of pay. Given the time it takes to do the job and the prices the gang masters charge, the pay these poor souls get for the time taken is clearly well below the London Living Wage and indeed the minimum wage. It is a scandal, a form of modern slavery going on in plain sight. A result of the global free trade market in labour, free to move to wherever the work is.

The cleaners on such pittance pay therefore have a clear incentive to get the minimum done and move on. So, if a mop-shy tenant will pay them, that is exactly what they will do – the absolute minimum.

This means that even where the tenants have paid for a contract cleaner, we, as landlords, often still have to make deductions for additional cleaning from the deposit that the end of tenancy “professional cleaning” company missed. We don’t like doing this, but we have little choice over it. The only other alternative is for us to attend when the end of tenancy cleaning takes place, but this is very time consuming for us and not always practical with our other workloads.

Recently, where a tenant had already left, we had to employ a professional cleaner. We used one based in Canary Wharf in London, (well that is where their business address was). We had to get them back three times to do the job properly.

So if you are a tenant who hates cleaning, get a good firm of cleaners in and check that they have done a good job for you. If not, it will be you who will suffer a deduction from your deposit.

Is your Luck In?

If the landlord did not have a proper professional inventory done at the start of the tenancy and end of tenancy and if he did not protect your deposit and send you the prescribed information, as he is now required to do by law (for all assured shorthold tenancies), then he will be unable to make any deduction from your deposit at all. Silly landlord!

In which case, your luck is in and you won’t have to worry overmuch about cleaning to the standard it was in when you first took up occupation.

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Tenants looking for property and also searching for good landlords and letting agents would be well advised to buy my book, “Tenants Guide to Successful Renting”.

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