End of Tenancy Cleans - Some Words of Advice

Posted on 19th January, 2011

The New Year got off to an interesting start for us here at Adore Cleaning in more ways than one! A couple of weeks ago we received an email from Kate, the personal assistant of one of our regular clients in Brighton. Kate had requested an electronic copy of her cleaner's invoice for the end-of-tenancy clean that had been done for her boss in his Brighton flat last November. She told us that she knew the cleaner, Lina, had done a spotless job on the flat because she’d checked it herself personally at the time, but her boss’s letting agent were now insisting that they’d had to have the flat professionally cleaned after he moved out and were going to deduct the cost from his deposit.

 

We agreed that this didn't sound right: not only were Kate and Lina sure that Lina had done a very thorough exit clean on the moving-out day, but Lina had also been doing a regular and thorough clean of the flat every fortnight for several months before that.

 

We made some enquiries. It so happened that a video had been taken of the completed exit clean on the flat on the day in question, as a precaution in case the letting agent raised any queries. And what a sparkling clean it was! In that 8.5-minute video absolutely every surface shone: every white-painted skirting was spotless, every nook immaculate, every cranny perfect.

 

Kate was delighted. She emailed her thanks a short while later:

 

“It worked! What a brilliant idea. We are so impressed with this video – this is service at its best. Thank you to you and to Lina!

 

Cheers!

 

Kate C”

 

Now by relating this story we are not trying to suggest that landlords or letting agents are not to be trusted. The vast majority are very honest, professional and reasonable and are only too glad to be helpful. And neither are we suggesting that the agent or landlord in this particular case was being unreasonable. On the contrary, given that they probably handle a very large portfolio of properties, there may easily have been a genuine mistake or confusion with another property. Whatever the reason though, and however careful you are with your cleaning, disputes can sometimes arise, and the point behind this story is that it pays to be extra careful if you are about to leave a property you have been renting.

 

Since 6 April 2007, a landlord or letting agent in the UK now has a legal obligation to lodge your deposit with a Government-approved scheme. However, this does not guarantee you will get all of it back if you cannot prove that you left the property in a good, clean condition.

 

Hiring a professional cleaning agency to organise your exit clean is the best way to ensure that your cleaning on the day goes smoothly. It need not be expensive – especially if you’ve kept the property clean during your tenancy - and may actually save you money when the time comes for your landlord or the letting agent to return your deposit. And you will have the benefit of an invoice to show to your landlord or letting agent.

 

If you decide to do the exit clean yourself, then to protect your deposit you need to make sure that the property really is spotless throughout when you leave it (even if it wasn’t quite so spotless when you moved in!). This includes not just the surfaces that are readily visible, it also includes all the hidden areas, such as the tops of door frames and window frames, cupboards both inside as well as outside, skirtings, radiators, and all the things you have to open or lift up or lean over to check inside, underneath or behind! These examples aren’t intended to be a complete list, they are simply a few selected suggestions to help explain the high standard of cleanliness your landlord or letting agent will expect in order to relet the property to a new tenant.

 

Anyone moving out of a rented property, whether doing their own exit clean or not, should also consider hiring someone to produce a professional and independent inventory showing the condition of the property and its contents on moving-out day. If there is a dispute later, an inventory from an independent professional (or in the case of cleaning, supporting evidence from a professional cleaning agency) can often tip the balance in your favour in court.

 

If you are going to be moving out of a rented property at any time in the future, we hope you find this helpful. And we would also like to say a very special “thank you” to our client Kate for allowing us to share this story here!

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