Cleaning Causes Deposit Disputes
UK private rented sector landlords know that at the end of a typical tenancy the most common cause of a deposit dispute is the standard of the cleaning.
Deposit disputes have increased 10% in 2013, rising from 46% in 2010 to 56% in 2013, according to new data from the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS).
End of tenancy cleaning has consistently been the most common dispute between landlords and tenants arguing over the refund of deposits, in mediation cases brought to the attention of the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS) and the number of disputed deposits are now at the highest level since the scheme started.
- 43% of disputes are over damage to rental property
- 30% of disputes concern redecoration
- 17% of disputes brought to the attention of the TDS concern rent arrears
- 13% concern the state of the rental properties gardens
The TDS figures show that 55% of disputes were raised by tenants, with 21% receiving 100% of the deposit amount in dispute. 45% of deposit disputes were raised by landlords and letting agents, however, only 19% received 100% of the amount in dispute.End of tenancy cleaning has become such a huge problem for landlords because of the general lack of respect for rental properties by tenants, the rise in the number of unauthorised pets kept in rental property and general poor hygiene standards of many tenants.
Increasingly, more landlords or their appointed letting agents are faced with dirty properties at the check-out stage. Many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition it was when they moved in.
The biggest problem areas concern dirty ovens and fridges; stains and marks on carpeting and flooring; bathrooms which have not been cleaned for months; and pet hair and excrement on floors, furniture and soft furnishings..
Tenants are often shocked to discover that professional end of tenancy cleaning can cost landlords between £10 – £20 per hour depending on the area and nature of the cleaning work required.
Whilst many tenants attempt to claim that cleaning issues are just normal wear & tear, the reality of the situation is that if something was clean when the tenant checked in, it should be left clean at check out. If something can be cleaned then it should be. If any dust or crumbs are present then this is clearly not clean.
Pat Barber, Chair of the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), said “It’s vital that landlords and letting agents do a thorough check-in and check-out, so they have the right proof of condition at the start and end of a new tenancy agreement. At the check-out stage, the tenant should be made aware of the areas requiring cleaning and the potential cost involved.”
The AIIC have identified the most common cleaning problems faced by landlords at the end of a tenancy:
• Ovens – If it was listed as completely clean at check in, it must be left in the same condition. Burn marks to any part of the appliance means it is not clean. Professional oven cleaning costs between £50 – £80.
• Stained and marked carpets – A common problem with some tenants trying to hide stains with rugs and furniture.
• Heavy lime scale to kitchen and bathroom fittings – tenants often claim this is due to living in a hard water area, however if it was clean on check in, it should be clean on check out.
• Grease deposits throughout the kitchen, surfaces and cupboards may look clean but will feel sticky to touch.
• Thick dust & cobwebs, particularly around furniture and on the ceilings
The AIIC is a not for profit membership organisation and is committed to excellence and professionalism in the property inventory process. The AIIC works hard to ensure that all landlords, tenants and letting agents understand the importance and benefits of professionally completed property inventories.
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