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  • Buy-to-Let

    End of tenancy cleaning standards?

    Another cleaning query.

    Is it reasonable to expect a tenant to return the property is the same, immaculately clean condition as when they took on the tenancy?

    I've always taken a judgement on this and felt it a little harsh to charge a professional cleaning fee, knowing that tenants in general, struggle financially.

    However, I'm recently becoming a bit tired and frustrated by what they call clean and then my wife and I spend a good 3 days getting it back to a state that we would be prepared to let it in. IE bleach wiping all woodwork, bathroom tiles, grout and sealant; hiring a carpet cleaner; scarifying, de-weeding and re-seeding the lawn etc

    It seems that a tenants' idea of clean is a quick vac over and a wipe in the cupboards and that's about it. I guess that compared with the mucky state that they have been prepared to live in over the period of the tenancy then to be fair, they have 'cleaned'.

    Would it be reasonable and would it in fact stand-up in a dispute, to state in the contract that the place should be returned to a professional and re-letable standard? and request proof / receipts etc?

    TIA

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    I’ve never had a flat back that was as clean as when it was let, with the exception of 1 current tenant, i never expect to. Tenants move their stuff out give it a cursory going over, you get something thats a bit better than the conditions they are prepared to live in and so to them is “clean”.

    For me its all part of the job, i’ll make a deduction for particularly dirty properties, but that generally only covers materials and carpet cleaner hire. If a tenant disputes a deduction, is it worth the time and effort ? Plus in the absence of a very extensive and detailed moving in inventory how do you verify the difference in condition?

    Then you have the issue of whats fair wear and tear and the effect that has on surface finishes etc. I’ve had tenants say they could’nt hoover stairs because the hoover flex is too short, when the flats were wired sockets were installed at the bottom or top of stairs for this purpose, if they ain’t gonna do it , they won’t.

    just another of a landlords frustrations. Though my units are at the LHA price point and not top end properties where expectations on both sides are very different.

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    Perfectly reasonable to expect it back in at least the same state of cleanliness it was supplied in.

    Needs a good inventory including good photos - especially of the usual suspects like oven and hob.

    Do NOT put in contract "you must have it professionally cleaned" -   Do put in "cleaned to a professional standard"  (if that's the level it was supplied in)

    Also make it clear it is not a cleaning fee - but damages to return the property in the supplied state.

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    DISCLAIMER just my personal opinion - for legal advice consult a qualified professional grown-up.

    I have always made a request for deposit deductions for Invoices involving cleaning particularly dirty carpets or ovens. I’ve only had to disputed this via the DPS once & it was supported with the deduction from their deposit.

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    I’ve just found a large carrier bag tied up and full of dog mess. To be fair, they never tried to charge me for it!

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    I have never made a deduction for cleaning but as my shortest let was 3.5 years I just see it as part of the wear and tear I would expect. Generally properties always returned in good condition.

    If let was only for 6 months then I would probably expect it to be returned as good as it was handed over

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    Slowly working towards financial freedom

    Thanks everyone for your responses.

    Interesting to see some say the complete opposite of others. Unfortunately I suspect that 'to a professional standard' may be subjective. I think that having the carpets professionally cleaned is something though that is quantifiable. It either has or hasn't been done.

    I do have a VERY thorough Inventory. 44 pages of photos and descriptions.

    Sometimes you just have to 'swallow' things when all-in-all the tenants have been pretty good and have clearly 'tried'. All part of the job!


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    I think it is down to individual view of what being a landlord means. For me I take pride in providing excellent housing to good tenants over the long term, hence I generally have multi year tenancies  this also works for my target tenants, young ish families with kids in school who want to stay long term.

    I just let the money look after itself so cant ever be bothered with minor deductions for thing like cleaning as all properties are well cash-flowed

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    Slowly working towards financial freedom

    Hi,

    I have had one tenant that stayed for 9 years in one of my properties with out any trouble at all, money in the bank every month. 

    When he left the property it wasn’t as I would of liked, however when I sat down and thought about it my tenant had paid me over £50,000 in the 9 years he was there....! 

    I think some consideration should be given to the length of time that the tenant has been in the property. 

    I redecorated the property and am now getting £125/month more than I originally was getting, so the tenant leaving financially was not a bad thing...


    Neil

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    My bug bear was in having a recent tenant stay for 12 months and not clean it once whilst they were there. Of course their idea of a 'thorough clean' is different to mine as I've now found out.

    Guess I'd been spoiled. The previous young professional couple had been in for two years and left the property in show-room condition!

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