One of the biggest areas of dispute according to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) in their report on adjudications is cleaning (54% of disputes recorded).
This covers two different situations.
The property was professionally cleaned before occupation with documentation to prove it, but the tenant thought that they could save money by doing it themselves. This always shows. Professional cleaners have great skills, for example, with tricky areas like shower screens and mould around windows.
The Landlord/Agent decided they would save money by not getting it done professionally, or by hoping that the clean by the last tenants would suffice (even though they had workmen in between lettings). It is a fact that you cannot expect tenants to leave a place cleaner than they found it, especially if the tenants took the trouble at the start of the tenancy to document grot spots such as a mucky sink or mould around a window.
When we are making an Inventory for a Check In, or conducting a Check Out we really check everything from the dust on the skirting board, the inside of the cooker and the soap in the washing machine soap drawer. If we see a cleaning receipt this is helpful to prove that the Landlord has indeed got the job done properly.
Most rental agreements state that a tenant must have the property cleaned to a professional standard. Many letting agreements state just this, but it’s surprising how many people try to cut corners to save time or money.
The moral of the tale: don’t get caught in the 54% of disputes about cleaning! Cleaning to a professional standard means that. Wiping over a property just before you squeeze into the car with all you belongings won’t do. Either go back with all the materials you need to make the cooker sparkle, the shower screens shimmer, and the black mould on the windows disappear or get in a cleaner. It could save a lot of money in the long run.