Deposit deduction

Hi Tenants,

It’s the end of my first tenancy in the UK and I had a question with regards to deposit deductions. We’ve been charged a sizeable percentage of our deposit for end of tenancy cleaning, the fees seemed quite high so we requested an invoice to independently verify the amount charged.

The invoice we were sent did not look official, no date or company lettering, essentially it was just a word document someone had thrown together with cleaning charge and the total amount listed.

Having followed up with the estate agents (we aren’t dealing directly with the landlord) they claim that the work was done by a sole trader and so there is no VAT breakdown or any other official proof of payment they can provide. They have offered to provide a contact number for this trader but from digging around online it doesn’t appear there’s any register for sole traders in the UK so we’d have no way of verifying that person they put us in touch with is actually a sole trader and has done the work for the amount specified.

Is there anyway we can actually be sure we aren’t being overcharged or charged for work that was never done? I haven’t been able to find anything online but to me it seems a bit odd that using a sole trader could be used as an excuse to avoid providing any verifiable documents. Would greatly appreciate any advice.

At the end of your tenancy, you should clean carefully and bring the flat to the standard of cleaniness that it was when you moved in. Assuming you do this and assuming you broke nothing else (only wear and tear), your deposit shouldn’t be reduced at all. In other words, if you clean yourself well enough, you can’t be charged for professional cleaning.

If you already moved out without cleaning, the agency is right to charge you. However, how much they can charge you is tricky. The price they paid or claim to have paid is not necessarily what you can be charged, e.g. if they use some unnecessary expensive service, you don’t hand too pay for it. You have to pay the sum it reasonably costs to get the flat to the same state it was when you moved in.

If you think they overcharge you, try to find some quotes online and use the deposit protection resolution scheme to make a case. You don’t have to agree to what the agency says.

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How much did they charge?

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