Tips & Help - End of tenancy cleaning
You know that End of tenancy cleaning is important for receiving your full deposit
A big chunk deposit disputes are lead for insufficient, or have cleaning as part of a more complex dispute.
As a Tenant can do their own end of tenancy cleaning. But The landlord cannot force You to use any cleaning company, or a cleaning service at all.
However, The landlord can request the same level of cleanness as it was documented into the move in inventory report. How the result is achieved is up to the tenant.
If doing your own end of tenancy cleaning, remember to use your check in inventory as a guide. Also, use a checklist and schedule your cleaning to ensure the property is fully cleaned.
Set aside enough time, if you plan on cleaning yourself. Deep cleaning takes time and you'll be surprise how big of a job this is.
The inventory reports are the most important pieces of evidence for resolving a dispute. You want your end of tenancy cleaning done right before the move out inventory, as to record the property in it's cleanest state.
Your landlord cannot over bill you excessively if you have not cleaned the property prior to moving out.
If you want to hire a cleaning company for your end of tenancy, you should contact us at Target London End of Tenancy Cleaning Service weary of bad decisions. As your deposit is on the line, make sure the work is done and will suffice for reclaiming your money. The Tenants' Voice recommends Fantastic Cleaners for their end of tenancy cleaning services.
When you move into a new property, it’s most likely very clean on your first visit. Tenants have a right to receive a clean and hygienic property, but they must also ensure the standard is maintained for the remainder of their tenancy.
Most people don’t do deep cleaning on a weekly basis and that counts double in the months before their moving date. However, when moving out, tenants need to make sure the property is just as clean as it was when they first moved in. Since moving is an already tense, both tenants and landlords turn to the services industry to fill in that role.
To fill in the demand, cleaning companies have introduced “end of tenancy cleaning” as a new service. In it’s core, end of tenancy cleaning is nothing more than you would do yourself with the bucket and mop. In detail, it’s a full top to bottom cleaning package designed especially for rented properties.
Who has to clean what ?
Tenants are in charge of daily cleaning and maintenance in the property. They can be held liable if they allow lack of hygiene to cause a rise and spread of health hazards diseases, pest infestation and mould. The removal of these hazards is costly and the renters will be charged for the bill. The garden, driveway and patio are often assigned to the tenant, as part of the property as well. When doing the check in inspection, remember to confirm these areas are your responsibility.
In the shared building areas, cleaning duties might are usually a responsibility of the landlord.. Some specialized cleaning services in the property are considered a responsibility of the landlord. A good example would be gutter cleaning, which is handled by your landlord.
Can the landlord force you to hire a cleaning company
So, you already know that cleaning is the tenant’s responsibility. This responsibility dictates that when you return the keys to the landlord the property will be just as clean, as it was when you first moved in. Your landlord can request a hygiene standard equal to the one documented in the inventory agreement.
End of tenancy cleaning is something you do when your property cannot meet that criteria, but if you have been a good and caring tenant, it’s likely your home will be very close to the inventory already. In such a case, you only need to do a final sweep before surrendering the property.
Your landlord cannot force you to purchase end of tenancy cleaning services IF you have met your obligations as a renter !
Many landlords include a “professional cleaning” clause in their tenancy agreements. Tenants often find themselves forced to use cleaning services worth up to 400 pounds for as short as a six month tenancy. Of course, this is the most extreme that a case can get. But, many tenants feel their rights are intruded by demanding excessive spending for cleaning.
The Office of Fair Trading discusses this problem in it’s specialised guide – Guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements. End of tenancy cleaning is discussed under the following sections:
4.4 Cleaning charges – a requirement to pay for cleaning at the end of the tenancy may be unfair if it is vague or unclear about the basis on which money will be demanded, or the extent of the cleaning involved. Such a term is more likely to be fair if the amount of the charge is expressly limited to reasonable compensation for a failure to take care of the property (see also our views below on excessive charges).
4.8 Excessive cleaning charges – as a matter of normal practice in short lets, reflecting the common law, tenants are expected to return the property in as good and clean a condition as it was when they received it, with fair wear and tear excepted. We therefore commonly object to terms that could be used to make the tenant pay for the property to be cleaned to a higher standard than it was in at the start of the tenancy, or that require cleaning regardless of whether or not this is necessary for the tenant to comply with their normal obligations with regard to the state of the property.
As long as you return the property clean, you’re free to choose the means for sanitation.
Demanding a “professional cleaning” when the property is already clean, or before the tenant has been given a chance to perform their own cleaning before the keys are returned is unfair.
However, if you do not return the property in a comparable quality, the landlord is within their rights to hire a cleaning company and charge you for the costs.
If the landlord agrees to have the property professionally cleaned before you move in, it’s fair to do the same before you move out. You should negotiate these conditions with your landlord before signing the tenancy agreement. Make sure you’ve agreed on a how to to prevent disputes at the end.
End of tenancy cleaning is vital to get back your deposit
The Deposit Protection Scheme confirms more than half of deposit disputes (56%) are the result of insufficient cleaning. This makes it the most common cause for deposit disputes. Surprisingly, inflicted damage comes second at 43% and redecoration third at 30%.
If you have not performed an end of tenancy cleaning before you’ve moved out, your landlord will hire a company to do the cleaning, while discounting the bill from your deposit. This does not work your in your favour as the landlord will prioritise getting a good cleaning service, rather than keeping the price low.
However, your landlord cannot deduct more than the total cost of the cleaning service. The receipt will be required as proof that the cleaning has been paid. Make sure you request to see the receipt for the cleaning service before you approve the deposit deduction.
Because they have deposited a lot of money, it’s in the best interest of tenants to maintain the property at all times. The two inventory checks – when you move in and out – will benchmark the condition of the property. This is the most reliable evidence for how tenants have affected the property’s condition during their occupation. The only way to make sure the deposit is returned in full is if the two inventories are identical, or the second one is better.
Some landlords hire end of tenancy cleaning companies before they let tenants move in. This sets a very high standard that will be expected when the tenants move out. This will be reflected in the move in inventory report, including high detail photos of the condition. Also, your landlord will probably provide you with a copy of the receipt that the cleaning company issued them. If you plan on cleaning yourself, make sure you put in that extra work and start in advance, so you have enough time to match the quality benchmark.
How to do end of tenancy cleaning
It is to your advantage to do a thorough end of tenancy clean and meet all the responsibilities in your tenancy agreement. Otherwise, you will have a hard time winning back your tenancy deposit. Ensure that any damage caused by you or a visitor to your home is repaired or replaced. If you leave it up to the landlord to send you a bill, chances are the cost will be higher as they are unlikely to shop around for the best deal. Allow yourself enough time and energy to do the final clean and make it as near to move out inventory as possible.
How to do end of tenancy cleaning yourself
The cheapest option is to obviously do the cleaning yourself. While it’s nothing too scary, your moving experience can already be overwhelming, without any cleaning involved. On the other hand, if you have a lot of time before returning the keys, cleaning yourself is a good way to save some moving expenses.
Before you start, contact the landlord or letting agent and request their final inspection checklist. To make sure you’re cleaned ENOUGH, you need to base your work on the checklist AND the move in inventory report. You need to match the quality you see in the report, while making sure each item you see on the checklist is cleaned.
You will need to clean at minimum the following items, if you’re to pass the final inspection:
Kitchen – Empty all the cupboards and shelves. Remove all crumbs and deposits, clean inside and out and wipe thoroughly with a dry cloth. Do you best to pull out all appliances and wash the floors beneath them and the walls behind them. Make sure the appliances are clean, including the washing machine soap tray and the dishwasher filter. The back of most appliances is usually disty and full of cobwebs – make sure to wipe them with a dry cloth. After you have cleaned the fridge, if it is empty switch it off at the mains and leave the door open to prevent mould. Make sure to pull out all fridge shelves, cabinets and racks. Clean them good including the groves where they slide in the fridge. Repeat this for each appliance with similar features.
Oven and hob – There is nothing worse than cleaning someone else’s oven when moving into a new property. If not cleaned often, the oven builds up thick layers of grime, burnt food deposits, grease and household dust. It all makes for a nasty cleaning job that requires the most time, effort and harsh cleaning agents out of all other cleaning jobs. Unpleasant though the task may be, make sure it is sparkling, as the oven is often the first item to be inspected. The same goes for the hob, burners, racks, baking trays, handles, switches and all other surfaces. You really need to put in the extra effort about your oven, or it’s not worth starting at all.
Living room – You need to clean the coffee table and all cupboards, cabinets, bookshelves and TV set. Living rooms often feature extensive decorations and full bookshelves. This room is mostly about dusting extensively and vacuuming everything to perfection. There are many item and awkward surfaces to clean, so easy as it might seem, the living room is very time consuming.
Bathroom – Scrub everything in the bathroom including the tiles, sink, bath, toilet, mirror and other accessories. Ensure the drains and plug holes are clear from debris and make sure the water runs away quickly. Remove mould, soap scum and limescale buildup from all metallic surfaces like the faucets, the shower, the drain grates. If the shower head has some of it’s holes plugged from limescale build up, you will have to clean it up. Detach the shower head and submerge it in white vinegar overnight. The day after, it should be cleared and working properly again.
Walls – You should look for any scuffs or dirty marks on the walls. If it is not possible to wash them off, paint them over with some emulsion of the same colour. You may find unfinished paint pots in the shed or utility cupboard you can use. This is worth doing especially if there are a lot of marks, otherwise your landlord may decide to decorate and bill you for the cost! If you hanged any pictures or decorations on the walls there are probably a lot of nail holes. You don’t want your landlord to find too many of these, or they might throw a big fuss in the way of your pocket. Fill nail holes with wall filler putty and pain over. It’s important to clean all the mould if any and to also inform your landlord about the problem. Don’t paint over the mould – let the landlord do that, but try your best to remove it. Unfortunately, bleach is the most reliable cleaning agent against mould. Use a breathing mask and gloves when you use such harsh cleaning agents.
Windows – Clean all the windows from the inside. If you can’t reach the outside yourself then arrange for a window cleaner to call. Alcohol and vinegar remain two of the best products you can use for cleaning glass and windows. If there are any cracked panes arrange for them to be replaced unless they appear on the check-in inventory. Windows make quick impressions on the general hygiene. If you make yours crystal clear, your landlord can be more likely to miss dirt in other spots.
Furniture – You want to vacuum your furniture and wash it using a dry wash solution. The upholstery needs to look pristine – no smells, no hair, no bad odour. This is especially true if you live with small children, pets or smoke cigarettes. Alternatively, you can hire a steam cleaning service to wash all your upholstery items.
For the wooden upholstery, you need to look for scuff marks, scratches and dings. Use almonds and coffee grounds to rub on the scuff marks and scratches. For minor issues, they will do well to mask of the damage. For a dazzling finish, you can buy a wood polish or use lemon oil. Rub well into the wooden parts and your furniture will look brand new.
Curtains/blinds – If the curtains are washable then follow washing instructions or take them to the dry cleaner and dust the curtain rods. Do the same with any fabric blinds in the property. Thoroughly dust both sides of the slats of venetian blinds. Repair any damage or replace if the blind has become unusable.
Carpets/Rugs – If you have a steam cleaner, this is a great way of bringing up carpets and rugs to look like new. If not, they are relatively cheap to hire, and include various attachments to enable you to clean every part of the property including floors, tiles, windows, walls, and furnishings. The minimum thing you should do is to vacuum all carpets and scrub them with a wire brush to remove all the hair trapped in the fibers.
Staircases and hallways – These are areas with a lot of traffic and would be in need of more serious cleaning. The carpets and rugs might require steam cleaning to get all the dirt and grime out.
Garden and exterior – If there is a garden shed make sure it is clean and tidy. Hose down any decking and sweep up leaves and other debris from patio areas. Make sure that flowerbeds are in good order and mow the lawns where applicable. If the gate is broken and wasn’t when you moved in, repair it. If it was broken when you moved in there should be a record of it on the inventory, otherwise you will be held responsible.
When should you do end of tenancy cleaning yourself
You rent a small property or a room of a shared property
You rent an unfurnished property
You deep clean at least once every couple of months
You have a lot of time between moving and handing back the keys
You’re looking for a cheaper moving experience
You’re an experienced cleaner
When shouldn’t you do end of tenancy cleaning yourself
You are allergic to harsh cleaning products, like bleach
You cannot find enough free time or energy
You are not a good and thorough cleaner
You need to use professional equipment you cannot operate yourself
If you are cleaning by yourself, allow enough time to hire equipment, buy the right products, have things dry cleaned, and replace/repair items. Be thorough, tick things off your list as you go, take photographs when complete, and ask a witness to sign these before the final inventory check and handing over the keys.
Hire an end of tenancy cleaning company
The above list is extensive, but in no way does it list everything you need to clean before you can move out with your deposit. If you don’t have the time or energy required to go through extensive cleaning, maybe hiring a company is the solution for your move.