How clean is clean?
Thu 23 Mar 2017
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) recently published data confirming that cleaning is the most common cause of dispute at the end of a tenancy, occurring in 57% of deposit disputes. There is no doubt that cleaning is very much a subjective issue and it prompts the question how clean is clean?
Set the required standard at the outset - Everyone will have a different opinion of what is clean and it is very important that the standard of cleanliness at the start of the tenancy and the standard expected at the end is clearly stated at the outset. Will there be a professional clean carried out at the start? If so is it expected that one is done at the end? if one is carried out will a receipt be needed? Will the property be cleaned only to a domestic standard at the start by the landlord?
Use a comprehensive digital inventory with plenty of photograhs - This is vital to recording the actual standard of cleanliness at the outset of the tenancy. The more comprehensive and descriptive the inventory is, the less chance of confusion at the end of the tenancy. Be descriptive when describing items eg. are they new, freshly painted, 1-2 years old, 3-5 years old
Use a pre-checkout checklist - When a tenant gives notice it is useful to provide them with a cheklist of areas which need to be considered when they are cleaning the property. Try and be specific. eg. avoid 'ensure the kitchen is clean' and say 'clean and degrease the oven, clean and degrease the hob, clean and defrost the fridge/freezer, empty and clean the bin, wash worktops and cupboards' etc. This will then give them the opportunity to clean the property before handing the keys back.
State the consequences of not cleaning the property in the tenancy agreement - clearly state that if cleaning is required at the end of the tenancy the cost will be charged to the tenant.
It is also important to point out that cleaning is NOT subject to fair wear and tear. Fair wear and tear relates to the use and/or damage to the property. Cleaning is a seperate matter that must always be done no matter how long the tenant has been in the property.
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