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Dirty flat after tenant leaving and impact on deposit

Hello, my tenant moved out on a Monday. The flat had apparently been professionally cleaned but I still had to do some cleaning as it wasn’t entirely clean. she supposedly had the curtains professionally cleaned too but they were covered in cat fur. I was on my hands and knees cleaning the floor as her hoover didnt have any charge and it covered in cat fur, this is all whilst my tenant was waiting outside. Should I take some money off her deposit? Thank you

Hi Sarah, you can’t just take money because you had to do some cleaning. You have to be able to provide evidence of any damage or contract defaults and also provide evidence of the costs incurred in repairing/discharging them.

So in this case, you’d need

  • an inventory describing the condition of the property at the beginning of the tenancy and evidence of the property being damaged, or
  • a term described in the tenancy agreement not being performed, such as “Tenant will return the property to a professionally cleaned standard…” and evidence of it not being performed.

You would also need proof of costs, such as a receipt from a professional cleaning service.

You can try and deduct from the deposit without any of this, but the tenant could simply challenge your claim, and would probably be successful.

Thanks for your feedback

You cant claim for your own labour anyway, only if you have a receipt from another person who has done the job.

I don’t think there’s any point in expecting to get a property back in an immediately rentable condition, it won’t happen whatever your rental agreement says.
I always expect to have to do some cleaning after a tenant vacates, they may have tried hard but don’t have the same standards as me, and some simply don’t notice that taps are grimy or curtains are stained. I just bite the bullet and clean up myself, it’s par for the course. I haven’t ever had such a mess that I considered taking it off the deposit, that’s a rigmarole anyway.

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So far I have only had one tenancy end, and the house was left in a superbly clean condition, I was well impressed. They are a Romanian couple with teenagers and a medium size dog and then they moved in free flying budgies so I was not expecting the house to be very clean at all, especially as they both work full time, and were trying to sort there son out at college, but they were a lovely family so would not have minded too much.
I did send them the end of tenancy letter referring them to the contract conditions and the costs of of cleaning if the house was left in a state, but when we did the move out inventory every surface sparkled, no dirt anywhere and the oven was quite honestly cleaner than I would have got it. They had also steamed cleaned all the carpets on every floor.
I really appreciated their efforts and we took them out for a meal a few weeks afterwards.
If only all tenants could be so wonderful.

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Brilliant. there is always an individual who surprises us.

Thanks Susan, I appreciate your advice!

You’ve been very lucky with that one. Sounds like they respected your property and you the Landlord. Wish they were all like that. I

It can be funny how things turn out sometimes. A tenant I used to have, in 15 years of being a landlord, was probably the most complaining and blaming tenant I have ever had, no disrespect to her, it’s just the way she was. The same tenant left my property so clean that I was able to rent the place to a new tenant with in 3-4 days. As far as I know, if you have an inventory, you can take cleaning costs off a deposit if the property was not left in the same condition as you first rented it to them in, I am talking about cleaning here, not decorating, with decorating you have to allow for wear and tear, so for example if you have an inventory with a spotlessly clean oven, and the oven was left a dirty mess, you can claim for the cost of cleaning that. So ideally you would want photos to demonstrate this in case they challenged the deposit claim. It’s best to let the tenant know in advance, usually if you are fair they will accept this, if they don’t agree and you believe you are being fair about the costs, then you can just dispute it using the deposit scheme, I have used their dispute service before and the result was quite fair and rational. For some reason, as a landlord, out time is worthless and we are not allowed to charge for our own time, so it’s better to get a quote for the clean up costs and bill based on that. Good luck.

Thanks Daniel, really appreciate your detailed reply.

The tenant and I have sorted it out now. She has provided receipts for the cleaning that was done by a professional cleaning company. I think was as upset as me that it hasn’t been cleaned properly by them as she thought, so she is going to try and get a refund from them.

She even had the curtains professionally cleaned but they had cat fur all over them! They charged her £140 for cleaning a one bedroom flat! Rip off!

Just goes to prove that professional cleaning companies don’t always do a good job!

I’ve learned from this experience I need to allow a few days between tenants to allow for extra cleaning and for fixing repairs etc.

Thanks

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No worries glad you got it sorted we live and learn.