Q. My tenants have just vacated and once again I have the ever present problem that the cleaning has not been carried out to a high enough standard forcing me to have to pay for another clean given the new tenants are about to move in. What can I do to ensure that my future tenants don’t do the same, I always give them guidelines on exit but clearly that is not enough to ensure it is carried out to a high enough standard, I’m sick of being out of pocket please help?
A. The TDS (Tenancy deposit scheme) recently reported that cleaning is the most common issue that will cause a dispute to arise at the end of a tenancy. And although less than 1% of tenancies end in dispute, of these, cleaning is mentioned in 57% of cases so it’s no surprise that you have a reoccurring issue here. One of the main reasons for a dispute over cleaning is miscommunication between the landlords, agents and tenants, surrounding the standard of cleaning expected at the end of the tenancy. There are many different standards of cleaning, and the difference between these standards can be very subjective. It’s imperative to convey at the beginning of the tenancy what standard of cleaning the property is presented in prior to them moving in, you can then expect the property to be returned with the same level of cleanliness. Communicating this to the tenants at the beginning and end of the tenancy will really help to set expectations and avoid a dispute over cleaning charges following departure. The key to getting the tenant to meet your expectations is to be descriptive when detailing cleaning standards. You can list this in both the tenancy agreement and the inventory. If you note that the property was cleaned to a professional standard prior to the commencement of the tenancy then you can expect it to be cleaned to the same standard when they vacate. When a tenant gives notice, good practice would be to issue them with guidance as to what is expected of them with respect to cleaning, many agents do this by way of a checklist, making particular note of areas which are often overlooked, or are particularly subjective, implementing these simple procedures should set you up for better results going forward.