OpenRent Community

Deposit deduction for cleaning, how much is reasonable?

Hi all,

I’ve recently moved out of a studio flat. My landlord (or the agency, I don’t know) wants to charge me GBP 130 from my deposit for “professional cleaning”.

When I moved in, the studio was perfectly clean. The agency’s “check-in report” rates the cleaning as “very good”. When I moved out, I did my very best to leave the studio in a similarly clean condition. The agency’s “check-out report” rates my efforts as “good”. I wouldn’t deny that I have probably not left the studio in the perfectly clean condition that it was in at the beginning, but I have left it in a very clean condition, and surely clean enough for it to be rented out again immediately. I feel it’s quite unreasonable to charge GBP 130 for the pretty small difference between “good” and “very good”, and the studio is only a few square meters/feet, so there isn’t actually that much to clean anyway.

What is your opinion on this? Is there a clear answer from a legal point of view? My tenancy agreement said nowhere that the studio needs to sparkle at check-out or anything like that.

I know I’m probably biased here :smile: but I think my landlord is unreasonably greedy in this situation. I had a six-months fixed term contract and have paid for these six months in full, even though I have lived there only about three - four months due to Covid (my workplace had closed down and I had moved to my family). I accepted that it was my legal obligation to pay for the six months, which means that for the period when I wasn’t living there I’ve paid more than 2000. I would be able to pay these GBP 130, but I don’t want to unless the legal situation is that I definitely have to. If the legal situation is unclear, I think it would be the landlord’s time to compromise.

I would venture to say that the fair amount to charge you would be the amount they have paid for the professional clean.
Leave the house/flat as it was when you moved in and you get your full deposit back. Simples!

4 Likes

Leave the house/flat as it was when you moved in and you get your full deposit back. Simples!

I’m not sure whether that is actually true though. I’ve heard from former neighbours that they want to do this “professional cleaning” independently of the state of the flat and charge the former tenant accordingly. They want some sort of guarantee that all the flats in the building are rented out in exactly the same state (it’s a huge investor).

Hi Bastian, I recently went through an almost identical deposit dispute.

Like you I thought, “happy for some additional cleaning as a compromise, but that’s way too expensive”. I even had receipts from a professional clean I had arranged before moving out.

Because I said in my submission that I was happy to compromise and be reasonable and split the difference, the adjudicator ruled in favour of the landlord with the rationale of ‘the tenancy agreement shows no obligation to pay for additional cleaning, but since the tenant admits he is willing to pay, I take that this must be his obligation’.

I was shocked! So if you do dispute, don’t make the same mistake I did! If you agree you are liable to pay, then the landlord will dictate the cost, and as long as it falls within a reasonable range, the adjudicator will grant it.

What I will say is that Alternative Dispute Resultion (ADR) is a quick, painless and free process for tenants, since the burden of proof lies with the landlord.
Best of luck!

Sam

3 Likes

You admit you have not left it in the same state you found it

What was the question again ?

7 Likes

Hi Sam,

thanks a lot for this experience report! It’s sad when one is punished for being honest and reasonable :frowning:

And @Steve11, thanks for your input, but this clearly isn’t a simple binary decision. I don’t think your implied implication “tenant admits that it’s not as perfect as at move-in, so LL can charge them whatever they want” is reasonable at all. Unfortunately, your answer really strengthens @Sam’s point.

Best wishes
Bastian

Hi Bastian

From my experience, the difference between an end of tenancy professional clean and tenants giving it a ‘good’ clean upon departure, is often quite significant. If the existing clean isn’t up to scratch then the landlord will still need to pay for a cleaner to come out.

I would hope they would negotiate a slightly better rate as the flat has had an initial clean and £130 is steep but they are not under obligation to do so.

It’s always better to arrange a professional clean yourself and provide proof of invoice. More control of getting a competitive quote that way!

2 Likes

Im a landlord, ask for review via deposit scheme. Its only a studio. Refer to condition on inventory. If they have receipts linking clean to your property its probally right, however, if the check out isnt clear you may have a case.

Ive just cleaned myself,
for a new tenant has to be sparkling. People so far have returned it clean, but not sparkling.
They forget cleaning, surface clean wont do.
Best to start early with cupboards etc.
Cant charge for your own work, hence use of professional cleaners who are a rip off.

1 Like

Its a right pain. Now i go around a day before check out and suggest fridge cleaning etc.
And then walk around with inventory, if someone has been lovely, I wouldn’t bother, seems mean to end that way.
However, other landlords more business like.

It’s true they want it professionally cleaned, but I honestly don’t disagree as long as it’s charged right.
if you received it professionally clean, return it professionally clean.

It is always better to look for a cleaning company yourself, it will be cheaper.

I had situation in the past with agency, after moving out i had a professionally cleaning done, but i have not mention to the agency. after moving out.
They send me a deduction of £450 for cleaning. saying the flat need a professional cleaning because when i move in the flat had one.
they made a mistake and sent to me a invoice from the previews tenancy as a comparison,
they would charge the same they had charged the previous tenant, but in the comments on the invoice it said extremely dirty condition.
after I said,what they were trying to charging was totally unacceptable and unlawful.
And I presented my cleaning invoice, they just responded rudely saying as a goodwill gesture they will not deduct any money from my deposit.

2 Likes

Well done you had a proffesional clean and did not tell them >I like it They were trying to take you to the cleaners !! Maybe without the landlord knowing.

3 Likes

If you leave your tenancy in a condition less than you originally had then your liable to pay fir the cost to bring it up to the same standard. I have read the responses you’ve received from other Landlords on here Which echoe the same message. You hav admitted that the cleanliness fell short of the standard you had initially enjoyed so really you’ve answered your own question.

2 Likes

You didn’t leave it as clean as you found it. The time to clean it again would be the same as if you’d left it dirtier - everything still needs to be cleaned. £130 does seem steep - but if it also includes cleaning carpets, upholstery, oven etc then maybe not - an oven clean is about £50-70 on its own. You could ask for a breakdown, but maybe just put it down to experience and next time clean it properly or pay someone yourself to do it so that you have control of the cost?

1 Like

I am sure the landlord didn’t know about it.
I found the agency very dishonest, It was not intentionally not to mention anything about professional cleaning,
at that time I just thought I had to return it clean, I didn’t know i have to prove with invoice.

End of tenancy cleaning is regularly an issue. It is not sufficient for a tenant to say ‘but I paid for a professional end of tenancy clean and here is the receipt’. In my experience, the professional cleaner sent is often a young lady (two person team once only) from Eastern Europe who is delightful but underpaid, on a tight schedule and with insufficient materials for the jobs required. The quality of the cleaning has got to sit with the tenant. The tenancy agreement is very clear on what is the tenant’s responsibility to clean and I send my tenants a list of areas that often get missed or overlooked by cleaners. I strongly advise them to stay in the property whilst the cleaning is going on or at a minimum check it all over before signing off the job. Get it done the day before you move out. Ultimately, as a landlord, I don’t care who does the cleaning, as long as it done properly and to the same standard as when the tenant received the flat at the start of the tenancy - it must be in a state in which I would be happy to hand it over to a new tenant immediately without concern. I don’t want to have to clean the place myself or pay/supervise someone else to do it or supervise a return visit by the tenant’s cleaner after the tenant has moved out. This all costs me time and money with no compensation. If there is a gap of more than a week before the next tenant moves in, I do go and clean every surface, vacuum and mop the floors the day before they move in. I would be so ashamed to hand over a property to a tenant in a condition I would not accept it in myself.

4 Likes

I’m a landlord and I would have charged at least £200, that’s the going rate per day for an industrial cleaner.
I’ve just had to pay two days worth of cleaning on my property as the tenants left during the COVID period, did not clean it and I couldn’t go round until the lockdown was over.
After my previous tenants before that left, I was left with a £10,000 refurb bill as they were so dirty, I can assure you the tiny deposit didn’t cover that. In fact, I didn’t get a penny to cover my costs on that one, had to suck it up. Being a landlord is no easy task when you trust people to live in your home.
Over the last 7 years of renting my property, I’m still out of pocket. I worked out, that I’d have almost been better off leaving it empty and waiting for the capital growth on the value.
As such, this time, I have been extremely picky on the tenants, discounting people left right and centre, no families, no unemployment, no pets, the list goes on, professional couples only.
I feel sorry for tenants who say they can’t afford to buy but so many of them don’t know how to look after a property properly.

6 Likes

The burden of proof lands squarely with the landlord. They should provide photos of the condition before and after that show the difference in cleanliness. It is not your responsibility to have a professional cleaner do the cleaning, unless it is specifically written into your lease. If they have proof, then they must provide a quote or invoice showing the cost of the works and how they rectify the situation.

At the very least ask for proof of the costs, and if not provided go to the deposit dispute resolution service.

Wow, so many answers! Thanks everyone! It seems this is a delicate topic indeed.

2 Likes

As a landlord, I initially cleaned my properties between tenants. I found that it often looks clean - until you move furniture, notice the dust on all the skirtings and ceiling corners, inside window shuts, cooker hood filter, oven, fridge seal, washer seal and powder drawer, inside kitchen cupboards, underneath sinks, beds, walls to be wiped, stains to scrub etc - so £130 sounds very reasonable to me. It takes a long time and its hard work! End of tenancy professional cleans are often £250 as 2 people come at £20 an hour each, and an oven clean is £70 alone.
I advise tenants to ask local cleaning companies for an “end of tenancy” cleaning quote- which is a lot more work than a normal vac and dust ound etc, to find out reasonable rates in your area.

2 Likes