Last update: 6 months ago
This guide will help you understand the basic end of tenancy cleaning tips and know-how tenants should take under full consideration.
More than 50% of all deposit disputes happen due to inadequate cleanup or include a cleaning-related issue after the final move-out inspection. Doing your end-of-tenancy cleaning up to your tenancy agreement requirements is critical to get your deposit 100% back.
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Common reasons for landlord-tenant disputes?
According to a wide survey from the 3 deposit protection schemes in England – “Deposit Protection Service”, “MyDeposits” and the “Tenancy Deposit Scheme”, more than half of all tenant-landlord problems at the end of a tenancy are a direct result from poor housing condition.
This means the rental property does not meet cleanup requirements, which is followed by damage caused by renters and renovation.
- 56% of landlord-tenant disputes are due to inadequate end of tenancy house cleaning;
- 43% of tenancy disputes are a direct result of damage inflicted throughout the lease;
- 30% of tenant-landlord disputes are caused by controversy due to redecoration.
Who cleans what? Landlords or tenants?
All domestic chores related to general cleaning and property maintenance (prior to the end of lease), are the tenant’s (YOURS) responsibility to both monitor and manage. The renter can be held liable in case of poor hygiene, especially if it results in severe problems such as:
- Mould and mildew;
- Pest and rodent infestation;
- Complicated cleaning-related issues.
In order to properly handle these, landlords call upon professional help: cleaners, pest and mould exterminators and etc. This means solutions can be costly and you as a tenant WILL be held liable for the bill. A mandatory end of tenancy cleaning tip to bear in mind!
If the property has a patio deck, a garden area (big or small), driveway or parking lot, all these areas are either assigned as a responsibility of the housing agreement UNDERSIGNED tenant or to communal management.
For shared property areas it is the housing landlord the one held responsible for occasional maintenance and domestic cleaning. Such exterior chores include gutter cleaning, facade care, roofing issues, etc.
Can landlords force tenants to hire professional cleaners?
No. Neither landlord nor agency can oblige tenants to pay for a professional cleaning service. This requirement was dropped on the 1st of June 2020.
According to “Guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements” by the Office of Fair Trading (ex) Chapter 4.8 reveals that some tenants may end up a subject of landlord abuse in terms of cleaning surcharge:
“Excessive cleaning charges – as a matter of normal practice in short lets, 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 or not this is necessary for the tenant to comply with their normal obligations with regard to the state of the property “
“The property landlord has no grounds to force tenants to hire professional end of tenancy cleaners when the property meets its initial condition, with some fair wear and tear of course.”Audrey Wright – TheTenantsVoice.co.uk
How to handle your end of tenancy house cleaning?
The cheapest way for renters to carry an after tenants clean is to obviously “do it yourself”, but it sure comes with a price of its own!
While that may not sound as difficult as it is, occupants must bear in mind that to move out is time and strength-consuming, without any of the other chores involved in ending your lease. A key point for renters is the fact that an after-tenancy cleanup WILL take you a huge chunk of TIME AND EFFORT.
In order to set a clear goal for a condition eligible for a full deposit refund – you should ask your estate agent, property (or lease) holder for a copy of the initial inventory report along with the checklist used when inspecting housing conditions before you moved in.
When should a tenant clean?
- Your housing is small or you rent a single room in a shared property;
- Your rental property is unfurnished;
- You deep clean at least once per month;
- You have sufficient time to clean it prior to returning the keys;
- You want less expense when moving out;
- You’re really good at cleaning.
When should a landlord clean?
- You have allergies from cleaning detergents;
- You cannot invest the time or effort required;
- You are not experienced with cleaning;
- You lack access to proper gear and experience in using it.
The mandatory end of tenancy house cleaning tips for tenant
Tenants often want to carry the move out cleaning DIY. There is nothing wrong with that but there are a thing or two you should know. Here is a set of tenant tips, gathered and organised by the professional after-tenancy experts at Fantastic Cleaners:
- Your full deposit refund depends on the housing condition AFTER you leave.
- As a tenant, you are eligible to carry out your own cleaning, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise.
- DIY enthusiasts should be aware of the time and effort required to properly clean a property. Professional move-out cleaning teams could consist of up to 6 technicians and take up to 4, 5 hours of work. Supplemental detergents and gear are required – steamers (you could rent), high-end vacuum cleaners, squeegees, detergents, etc.
- The landlord or estate agent has the right to demand the same level of hygiene as stated within the primary property inventory report, prior to you moving in.
- Choosing between a professional after-tenancy cleaning and a DIY home clean is up to the tenant, as long as the initial property condition is met (with some fair wear and tear applied).
- In case the renter handles domestic duties and chores by him/herself, the check-in inventory report should be taken into 100% CONSIDERATION.
- Your landlord can not imply overly charges in case the abode is not fully cleaned BEFORE the renter has moved out.
- If an agency manages, it is the agency’s call on whether a landlord’s claim is right or wrong.
- If your deposit is not paid back in time, you can challenge your landlord to court and opt for compensation.
- It is the renter’s responsibility to check whether the rental agreement refers to any significant and unfair deposit deductions. If the landlord refuses to reconsider, the tenant may take the matter to court.
When the time comes to leave your rental property, your housing should meet basic hygiene standards. As a tenant, you have to leave a tidy and clean environment for your landlord and any future renters.
How clean does your housing have to be to pass a move-out inspection?
- Rubbish should not be present;
- No signs of hair or fur;
- Lack of dirt, dust and stains;
- No grime, grease, finger marks, smudges nor spills;
- No signs of limescale nor surface rust;
- Total disposal of debris, food deposits or leftovers.
Here’s a summarised end of tenancy cleaning checklist of the areas that need more attention and how to professionally clean the house:
- Windows: make sure you clean them internally and externally. If they are hard-to-reach we recommend hiring a professional window cleaner. Wipe all sockets and switches, as well.
- Walls: inspect for any scratches or stains.Try to remove them by cleaning or repainting the wall or the area, if possible.
- Doors: make sure at least door handles are well cleaned.
- Ceilings: pay attention to webs in the corners and remove them with any extendable tool.
- Upholstery and carpets: sofas, carpets and other furniture should be thoroughly vacuumed and all stains should be removed.
- Appliances: oven, stoves, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and any other appliances should be clean and perfectly sanitised.
If you want more detailed information on how and what to clean take a look at this thorough end of tenancy cleaning checklist. You can download the template and have it near at hand.
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How to avoid unfair tenancy deposit deductions?
In order to limit dishonest landlords, you (as a tenant) have to ensure that the rented property is in a similar condition to what your check-in inventory report describes. Although presence at check-out inspections is far from mandatory, to actually be on site is crucial to limiting any dishonest intentions.
Prepare all paperwork you might need:
- A copy of your tenancy agreement;
- Receipts of rent;
- Receipts of utility bills;
- Receipts of all repairs, cleaning, gardening and other professional services you’ve covered on your own;
- Photo or video documentation of property conditions right after you moved out.
Common landlord scams you can avoid:
- Landlords and/or estate agents might act as affiliates to handyman/cleaning companies and receive commissions per job. Make sure you double-check any service you are “highly recommended” to pay for!
- Some landlords / estate agents “hire” themselves rather than cleaning professionals. Make sure you always ask for receipts!
- To put tenancy deposits in a deposit scheme is mandatory by law, but dishonest landlords might still attempt to do otherwise. Make sure you double-check it online. All you need is to visit the websites of your scheme and input property postcode, tenancy start date, tenancy deposit amount and your name.
- Rogue landlords often claim funds received prior to you entering the property claiming those are administrative fees as opposed to a deposit. Never pay in cash!
- Dishonest landlords might try to charge you with excessive and most importantly HIDDEN FEES that end up as DEBT. A classical example is expenses for inventory inspections. Unsuspecting tenants preparing to move out end up with a juicy bill that they are expected to cover, regardless of the lack of any legal grounds for doing so.”
- In case you find yourself a victim, immediately contact your tenancy deposit scheme. Take precautions and always require your landlord to provide a written proof of everything you’ll have to cover throughout your lease.
If you have not figured it out by now, here is the conclusion: In order to receive your full housing deposit back at the end of your tenancy, your future ex-landlords have to lack any reason to claim deductions.This means the property has to be left in the same condition (except for any ‘fair wear and tear’).
You can DIY but remember that for the best results cleaning the whole property requires special tools, products, the time and ability to do it on your own. Basically, you risk not only wasting time but if not properly cleaned you will also not get your money back. For example, exterior window cleaning can be mission impossible if windows are hard-to-reach.
Hiring a professional move-out cleaning service guarantees you the best results as they bring the proper equipment and have the appropriate experience so that you can direct your efforts on other important aspects regarding the removal process.