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End of Tenancy Cleaning Advice: Tips for Landlords and Tenants

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When you started your tenancy in a property it is most likely that the whole place was spotlessly clean (and this is well within your right to expect this). However, as a tenant, when leaving the property you also have to ensure that a deep clean is done and the property is as clean as when you first moved in. If you’re a landlord, you have the responsibility to give your tenant an inventory that states everything they must do and leave before they depart the property.

We have pulled together lots of information about end of tenancy cleaning advice, for both landlords and tenants; creating a guide on the best tips to follow and how you can ensure that the property has the highest cleanliness standard before any tenant leaves.

We will explore the rights and responsibilities of the landlord before any tenant starts their property agreement, and we will also discuss the responsibilities that lay with the tenant as they live in and then leave a property for good.

What is End of Tenancy Cleaning?

If you’ve just moved into a property and you haven’t rented before, then you may be unfamiliar with the concept of what end of tenancy cleaning is. Before you move into a property, your landlord should provide you with an inventory which will have on all of the furnished pieces as well as some advice for the end of tenancy clean – sometimes including useful local companies that you can hire to help you out.

You may start your end of tenancy clean whenever you feel is necessary, it could be a month before you are due to leave, or it may be the day of departure (although this is pushing it a bit). Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do the job properly or you could risk not getting back your deposit (research into end of tenancy cleaning has found that over 50% of deposits aren’t given back in full due to the nature of the end of tenancy cleaning).

What Does End of Tenancy Cleaning Include?

Kitchen cleaning

This is one of the most unpleasant parts of the property you will have to deep clean, it is also the place where a lot of cleaning is done but not to the highest standard of a tenancy cleaning service. Without professional help, it will be difficult to get the level of cleaning you need for a satisfied landlord. You will need to clean everything in the kitchen from the countertops to the lighting fixtures and any internal cleaning such as the inside of the oven, microwave, and refrigerator. Oven cleaning can be a particularly long and unpleasant task and if you’re going to look to outsource some but not all task to cleaning services, this should be one of them.

Bathroom cleaning

With the end of tenancy clean for bathrooms, you will find that strong disinfectants become your best friend. You have to clean and get rid of all mould, limescale in your bathroom. It is essential that during the cleaning of your bathroom, you pay special care and attention to everything you do in your bathroom as you don’t want an unhappy landlord finding dirt and mess everywhere. If you are happy to clean every other room for your end of tenancy clean but need some extra help to successfully complete the bathroom, then there are specialist tenancy cleaning services you can hire to clean your bathroom and not any other room.

Bedroom cleaning

As most do, a regular cleaning of the bedrooms within the property will ensure that when it comes to the end of tenancy clean, you don’t have too much to do. After all, if you stay on top of your cleaning, you won’t find it is a lot of effort when you actually do leave the property. What most people forget to do is clean inside and outside of the wardrobes (if any are provided), clean the mattress (if they are part and parcel of the property), and ensure every piece of floor is cleaned completely.

Carpet cleaning

Carpets are often one of the most visible areas of the property and whether carpet cleaning is the tenant or landlord responsibility, a dirty of stained carpet in your rental property can be a big signal to the landlord that they need to do a deeper inspection on other areas throughout the property. If you haven’t cleaned your carpets for a while prior to moving out or have done quick cleans with a vacuum cleaner, a carpet steam cleaning may be the most effective way to get out old dirt and stains if you have them. If you don’t have your own carpet cleaner or tenancy cleaners will often provide professional carpet cleaning as part of their service.

Some Tips for Departing Tenants Completing Their Own Clean

It may sound easy and the best option to complete your own end of tenancy clean, and its the choice that most people go for. However, you have to think about every possible situation that could go wrong with the DIY method and the best way to deal with them. It is also important to note that in your tenancy agreement (that is given to you when you start your tenancy), it may state that your landlord requires professional cleaning of certain areas like the carpet or curtains.

  1. Tenants completing cleaning themselves should be aware of the time and effort it takes to completely deep clean their property before they decide that they don’t want to pay a professional company to do it for them. Some professional companies will have 5 or 6 cleaners cleaning the property for nearly 5 hours, and if you decide to do it yourself, you could have nearly 30 hours of deep cleaning to do. We suggest that if you have decided on this option you spread out the cleaning over a few days (maybe even a week). Also, remember that whilst you’re cleaning the property over a week or so, if you still have people living in the property, they will be making it dirty and unclean again which will mean you have to go over certain places.
  2. Any landlord or estate agent has the right to demand the level of cleaning and hygiene that was stated in the inventory report given at the start of the tenancy so if you’re cleaning yourself, make sure you use that as a guide for the whole process.
  3. If the landlord states that the property isn’t up to the inventory report standard they will probably dispute it with the letting agents (if not directly with yourself). If you want to challenge this then its best to get this sorted as soon as possible. Remember that your deposit can lie on the cleanliness of the property and if the landlord does not think the cleaning is up to standard then they may take away all or some of the deposit you put down on the property before you moved in.

Some Tips for Landlords Dealing with an End of Tenancy Clean

Whilst some tenancy agreements state that professional cleaning must be done, there are some that only state a high cleaning standard. If you’re a new landlord then you may not realise what your rights are as the owner of a property especially when it comes to end of tenancy cleaning.

If a tenant leaves the property having not cleaned it to the standard requested by the agreement, then you can hire in a cleaning company to clean the property and then bill this to to the liable tenant. The end of tenancy cleaning cost will vary based on the size of the property and the standard it’s left in by the tenants, and although it it will eventually be billed to the tenant you’ll likely need to pay for this upfront and reclaim the amount out of the tenant’s deposit.

Here are some top tips for nay new landlord:

  1. If the property has a garden, driveway or some type of parking area then it is again up to the tenancy agreement as to whether cleaning it is the responsibility of the landlord or tenant. Before you put in any disputes about the end of tenancy clean, as a landlord you must ensure you know the ins and outs of the tenancy agreement.
  2. For those who are landlords of shared properties, it is normally you and not the tenant who is held responsible for the domestic cleaning and maintenance of the property. Whilst it is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure that their private areas (such as their bedroom and ensuite) are cleaned and emptied, it is landlords responsibility to hire in professional cleaners for any communal areas. This is a general rule of renting unless it is stated otherwise in the tenancy agreement. “We work with portfolio and HMO landlords who often have their own in-house cleaning team due to the regular churn of tenants. It can often be a more cost-effective way to do things,” comments Ruban Selvanayagam of Property Solvers (Rental Portfolio Buyers).
  3. There is a lot of things to consider for the landlord whenever they set up a dispute about the end of tenancy clean, some of the most common problems and reasons for these disputes include; redecoration (painting or changing of various things within the property), damage to the property during the lease (no matter how small or big the damage actually is), and the inadequate cleaning of the property after the tenant leaves. Now, it is important to note that unless it is stated in the tenancy agreement that the tenant must hire a professional cleaning service for the whole property during the end of tenancy clean, or certain areas, the tenant can undertake their own cleaning. It is also essential to ensure that the tenancy agreement is very clear and not vague about the level of cleanliness required by the tenant as this could result in a lost dispute on the landlords part.

Why Are Inventory Reports Important?

Although is it only a small and maybe insignificant part of your tenancy agreement, filling in the inventory report is essential for any tenant who wants to ensure their deposit is returned to them at the end of their tenancy. There are so many cases in which people have not successfully completed their inventory reports during the first week of their tenancy and therefore have missed out on getting their deposit back at the end, even if they’ve done everything else right and had the property professionally cleaned.

You can hire a professional, who will inspect the whole property from top to bottom, giving details of the smallest things as are undeniable proof from estate agents eyes of the initial and final condition of the house. Although this will be a more costly route to take.

You may also choose to do the inventory yourself and this is totally acceptable. Whilst it does hold risks, as long as you can show visual representations (make sure you take photos of any major problems or damage) then you will be fine. As long as you can back up anything you say with undeniable proof that is clear and steady, then you will find there are no problems with filling in your own inventory at the start and end of your tenancy.

It is also important to note that in order for tenants to receive their full deposit back, they must have aligning check-in and check-out inventories that matchup, with the acceptation of a few wear and tear elements (as this is understandable).

We hope that this guide has helped you learn a little more about end of tenancy cleaning, whether you are a landlord or a tenant. It is possible to have a happy end of tenancy, and despite many horror stories of deducted deposits and nightmare landlords, if you ensure you do all you can and you know what your responsibilities are then you will have no problem moving out and moving on from your rented property.