End of Tenancy Cleaning – Help & Advice for Landlords
End of tenancy cleaning is the single most significant cause of deposit dispute due to deductions. However, it is easy for tenants to mitigate by doing an end of tenancy cleaning session before the final inspection.
This end of tenancy guide will give tenants & landlords expert advice and tips to clean the property before claiming the deposit.
End of tenancy Clean Bullet points
● End of tenancy cleaning is essential for tenants so they can receive their deposit in full. More than half of deposit disputes (56%) are insufficient or have cleaning as part of a more mixed bag dispute.
● Tenants can do their own end of tenancy cleaning. The landlord cannot force tenants to use any cleaning company or cleaning service at all.
● A landlord can request the same level of hygiene as was documented in the move-in inventory report. How this is achieved is up to the tenant.
● If a tenant is doing their own end of tenancy cleaning, remember to use the check-in inventory as a guide. Also, use a checklist and schedule the cleaning to ensure the property is thoroughly cleaned.
● Set aside enough time if you plan on cleaning yourself. Deep cleaning takes time, and you will be surprised how big of a job this is.
● The inventory reports are the most essential pieces of evidence for resolving a dispute. If a tenant wants the end of tenancy cleaning done right before moving out, the inventory should record the property in the cleanest state.
● Landlords cannot overcharge excessively if the tenant has not cleaned the property before moving out.
● If a tenant wants to hire a cleaning company for their end of tenancy, cleaning is likely to be done to a reasonable standard. As the tenant’s deposit is at risk, they are likely to ensure the work is done to reclaim the deposit money.
Introduction to end of tenancy clean
When a tenant moves into a new property, it is most likely spotless. Tenants have a right to receive a clean and hygienic property, but they must also ensure the standard is kept for the rest of their tenancy.
Most people do not do a deep cleaning weekly, which counts double in the months before moving out. However, when moving out, tenants need to make sure the property is just as clean as when they first moved in.
Since moving is already stressful, both tenants and landlords turn to the cleaning services industry to fill that role.
To fill the demand, cleaning companies have introduced “end of tenancy cleaning” as a new service. At its core, end of tenancy cleaning is nothing more than what a tenant would do with some common cleaning materials like a bucket mop.
End of tenancy cleaning companies offers a complete top-to-bottom cleaning package designed especially for the rented sector.
Ending a tenancy, the process
A tenant might need to pay rent after their fixed term if they: stay in the property and do not give proper notice to the agent or the landlord. This will depend on the type of tenancy you have and what the tenancy agreement says.
A tenant can only end the fixed-term tenancy early if the tenancy agreement says the renter can or get the landlord to agree to end the tenancy earlier.
If the tenancy has a break clause, then the tenancy will stipulate when the break clause can be invoked.
Check the tenancy agreement to find out how much notice must be given to end the tenancy.
A tenant does not have to give a set amount of notice unless the tenancy agreement expressly says otherwise.
Most tenancies will say how notice must be given to end the tenancy for both parties. Check if the tenancy agreement says anything about how the tenant should give the notice to end the tenancy.
Check the tenancy contract to see if the tenant is contractually obliged to get the property professionally cleaned.
What is included at an end of tenancy clean?
An end of tenancy clean will leave the rented property clean and ready for the next tenant.
The end of clean service includes a minimum of one bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and general cleaning and added services such as a carpet clean can be added if needed.
An end tenancy clean company offers excellent service and will leave your property in a beautiful pristine condition.
How much can an end of tenancy clean cost?
The cost to clean a flat or property once the tenancy comes to an end depends on various factors.
The cost depends on the number of rooms you have, what specialist cleaning services are needed and what areas need to be cleaned.
As an indication, below-average costs, and you should enquire online for a quote with a local company:
Studio flat – from £150
1 bedroom – from £199
2 bedrooms – from £240
3 bedrooms – from £380
4 bedrooms – from £420
5 bedrooms – from £460
Who must clean what?
Tenants are responsible for daily cleaning on the property. Tenants can be contractually liable if they allow lack of hygiene to cause a rise and spread of health hazards, diseases, pest infestation and mould.
Dealing with these hazards is costly, and the renters will be billed to put things right. The garden, driveway and patio are often assigned to the tenant as part of the property under the terms of the tenancy.
When doing the check-in inspection, remember to check these areas are your responsibility or the landlords.
In a shared building like an HMO, cleaning duties might be the responsibility of the landlord.
Some specialised cleaning services in the property are considered the responsibility of the landlord. A good example would be gutter & drain gulley cleaning, which is a landlord’s responsibility.
Can a landlord insist a tenant uses a cleaning company?
We have established cleaning is the tenant’s responsibility. Tenants need to ensure when they return the keys to the landlord, the property will be clean just as when they first moved in. A landlord can request a hygiene standard equal to the one documented in the inventory agreement.
End of tenancy cleaning is needed if the condition of the property cannot meet the criteria.
However, as an excellent clean, caring tenant, their home is likely to close to the inventory condition already. In such a case, all that is needed is a final basic clean before returning the property to the landlord or agent.
A landlord cannot force a tenant to buy the end of tenancy cleaning services if the tenant has met their obligations.
Many landlords include a “professional cleaning” clause in the tenancy agreements. Tenants often find themselves forced to use cleaning services, costing up to £400 for a short six-month tenancy.
The Office of Fair Trading discusses this problem in its specialised guide.
4.4 Cleaning charges – a requirement to pay for cleaning at the end of the tenancy may be unfair if it is vague or unclear about the basis on which money will be demanded or the extent of the cleaning involved.
Such a term is more likely to be fair if the amount of the charge is expressly limited to reasonable compensation for a failure to take care of the property.
4.8 Excessive cleaning charges – as a matter of standard practice in short legs, reflecting the common law, tenants are expected to return the property in as good and clean a condition as it was when they received it, with fair wear and tear excepted.
We, therefore, commonly object to terms that could be used to make the tenant pay for the property to be cleaned to a higher standard than it was in at the start of the tenancy. Or that require cleaning regardless of whether this is necessary for the tenant to follow their normal obligations about the state of the property.
If you return the property clean, you are free to choose the means for sanitation.
Demanding a “professional cleaning” when the property is already clean or before the tenant has been given a chance to perform their own cleaning before the keys are returned is unfair.
However, if you do not return the property with incomparable quality, the landlord is within their rights to hire a cleaning company and charge you for the costs.
If the landlord agrees to have the property professionally cleaned before moving in, it is fair to do the same before moving out. You should negotiate these conditions with the landlord before signing the tenancy agreement. Make sure you have agreed on a how-to prevent disputes at the end.
End of tenancy cleaning is vital to get back your deposit
The Deposit Protection Scheme confirms that more than half of deposit disputes (56%) result from insufficient cleaning. This makes it the most common cause of deposit disputes. Surprisingly, inflicted damage comes second at 43% and redecoration third at 30%.
If a tenant had failed to do an end of tenancy cleaning before they moved out. The landlord may then hire a company to do the cleaning and take the cost out of the deposit money.
However, a landlord cannot deduct more than the cost of the cleaning service. The receipt will be needed as proof that the cleaning has been paid. Tenants usually request to see the receipt for the cleaning service before they approve the deposit deduction.
It is always in the best interest of tenants to keep both inventories. When you move out, the two inventory checks will benchmark the condition of the property.
This is the most reliable evidence for how tenants have affected the property’s condition during their occupation. The only way to make sure the deposit is returned in full is if the two inventories are identical or the second one is better.
Some landlords hire end of tenancy cleaning companies before they let tenants move in. This sets a very high standard that will be expected when the tenants move out.
This will be reflected in the move-in inventory report, including high detail photos of the condition.
Also, the landlord will probably provide the tenant with a copy of the receipt that the cleaning company issued them. If a tenant cleans themselves, they should make sure they put in that extra work and start in advance to have enough time to match the quality benchmark.
Hiring an end of the tenancy cleaning company
The above list is long, but it does not list everything a tenant needs to clean before they can move out and have the deposit returned.
If a tenant does not have the time or energy needed to go through extensive cleaning, maybe hiring a company is the solution for the move.
Before a tenant makes a booking, however, there are a few things they need to know. Many companies offer the service but not completely understand what it is.
End of tenancy cleaning is designed for people moving out. To get their deposit back, tenants need reliable services and result. That is why the company you pick must offer you thorough cleaning lists that cover more items in the property than you can think of.
If they genuinely provide end of tenancy cleaning, they need to be ready to work with any provided checklist by the landlord or letting agents.
Check if they clean the oven, as it is the most challenging cleaning job on the whole property and will be needed to pass the final inspection.
Ideally, the cleaning company needs to guarantee you a pass on the move out inventory. If the service is not sufficient, financial compensation or a re-clean is due.
The cleaning company you hire needs to allow for at least a 24-hour guarantee for hygiene. A tenant will need this time to hold down the final inspection before the property starts to accumulate dust.
An essential aspect is the quality of work. Since a tenant has a lot of money at stake, they must pick a company with a good reputation. Make sure the service is not based on time but on the size and contents of the property.
The end of tenancy cleaning must endure through the final inspection. To do that, the workers must clean everything and anything until it is immaculate.
Having the cleaners in for a limited amount of time will not ensure all the fixtures & fittings of the property have been thoroughly cleaned.
A cleaning company that understands this will know how important the quality of their work is for moving tenants.
After the visit, the property must be free of:
● Rubbish, Garbage
● Hair and Fur
● Dirt, Dust and Stains
● Grime, Grease, Finger-marks, Smudges, and any Spills
● Limescale and Surface rust
● Hard debris, Food deposits
A move out cleaning team must bring all the necessary tools, cleaning solutions and machines they will need to complete the job. These should be included in the final quote.
If the cleaning company staff demands extra money for any standard cleaning solution or consumable, they might try to scam you.
Contact the manager for the cleaning company and get confirmation on why more money is being demanded. A tenant should not pay anything outside the original quote and the pre-arranged extra costs.
Look for an insured provider. As a tenant, you maybe will be letting people in your home for hours without your attendance.
For a tenant to protect their belongings and the landlord’s property, only choose a company with vetted employees and insured services. Any damage or theft caused by the cleaning company workers can be claimed from the company.
When should you hire an end of tenancy cleaning company:
● The property is large, with many rooms.
● You do not have time to clean on your own
You need to ensure the return of your deposit.
● You need to look for a fast and reliable cleaning solution
● You have an allergy to cleaning solutions, like bleach
● You are unable to reach parts of the property that need to be cleaned
● You cannot clean the oven to a reasonable standard
● You do not have access to a steam cleaning machine
When should a tenant hire an end of tenancy cleaning company:
● You need a cheaper cleaning alternative
● The tenant is an experienced cleaner
● The tenant is not worried about the deposit
● The landlord has confirmed it is not needed
Fighting scams and unfair deposit deductions
To ensure a tenant does not get unfair treatment, they must be sure to leave the property with a comparable condition to the first inventory check. Ensure that the property has been cleaned properly and all necessary repairs have been completed before the move-out inventory check. Plan to attend to the inventory with the landlord.
Prepare a folder with all relevant documents relating to the tenancy, such as:
● The tenancy
● Receipts of all rent payments
● Receipts of all paid utility bills payments
● Receipts of all completed repairs, cleaning services, gardening, and other professional services you have paid for
● A collection of the timestamped high resolution of digital photos that document the condition of the property when you last left it
When Can Tenants Dispute Deposit Deductions?
But its important landlords understand what they cannot claim for. When can landlords keep deposits, and when can’t they?
Tenants have many responsibilities, such as keeping up with rent payments and taking care of the property. But, for landlords, unfair deposit deductions are simply unacceptable.
Tenants are always asking, ‘can my landlord withhold my deposit?’ The answer is yes, but within reason.