So your tenant’s checking out…

by Ed Firmin

Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 at 10:00

I recently read an article which revealed that cleaning is the top dispute facing landlords and tenants when it comes to checking out at the end of a tenancy agreement. It accounts for 58% of all disputes which is a 5% rise year on year, according to Imfuna Let.

And it seems that it’s not all about the money, as the average cleaning claim only amounts to a paltry £220, compared to rent arrears, which comes to an average of £1,164.

Regardless of the monetary amount, no landlord wants to face a dispute with their tenant, not only does it take time and money to resolve, it also leaves a bad taste in each party’s mouth.

So, why is cleaning such an issue? The company behind the research says that many tenants claim that the cleanliness of the property wasn’t clear at the start of the tenancy, or the tenancy agreement didn’t make it obvious what was expected of them and how they should maintain the property.

To avoid any potential disputes with your tenants, what should you do when it comes to the issue of cleaning? One of the most important things is to ensure that the inventory doesn’t just include a list of what’s included, and what condition it’s in, but also considers the cleanliness of the whole property. Record things like how clean the oven is, whether there is any mould in the bathroom, windowsills and whether the fridge has been left open and ventilated.

It is definitely worth including some clauses within the tenancy agreement stating what responsibilities the tenant has, should they clean the oven, defrost the fridge, keep the tiles mould free, etc.

Taking pictures at the beginning of the tenancy is a sure fire way to compare like for like, you will of course need to take into consideration wear and tear, but you should be able to demonstrate the difference between dirt and something that’s a bit worn.

So, my advice is to be thorough. It might not seem important, but if you want to deduct costs at the end of the tenancy for cleaning, then you need to be able to prove your case, as you could well end up fighting a dispute.

If you would like to find out how we at Redlet manage the check-in and check-out process, and how we can take this off your hands, please get in touch.

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