Landlords & Tenants Fight Over Cleaning More Than Anything Else

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a new United Kingdom (UK) landlord-tenant study reveals that the most contentious issue between the parties is the cleanliness of the unit following the expiration of …

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a new United Kingdom (UK) landlord-tenant study reveals that the most contentious issue between the parties is the cleanliness of the unit following the expiration of the tenancy. The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks and statistics from the Tenant Deposit Scheme indicate that cleanliness of the premises upon checkout is the top issue of dispute. Experts say tenants like to argue that things like dirty carpets and ovens are part of normal wear and tear despite the fact that those items were clean when they checked in. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire

Cleaning continues to be the most common cause of a dispute between UK private landlords and tenants, according to new statistics from the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS).

It accounted for 52% if disputes in 2011/2012 compared with 49% in 2010/2011. Damage to property is the next most common cause at 45% of disputes, followed by redecoration at 28%, rent arrears at 18% and gardening at 12%.

According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), landlords and agents are increasingly faced with dirty properties at the check out stage. Many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition when they leave a property and are often very surprised when they are told that professional cleaning is required.

‘It is not surprising that cleaning has risen by over 6% in tenant disputes. Many tenants fail to keep their property clean and time and time again we see filthy kitchens and bathrooms at check-out. Tenants rarely treat their rented property in the same way as they would a property they owned themselves,’ said Pat Barber, chair of the AIIC.
‘We all know that accidents do happen during a tenancy, but tenants need to realise that they must take financial responsibility for things that are beyond normal wear and tear,’ she added.

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An example is a recent tenant check out that highlighted a very dirty oven, amongst other things. ‘The tenant was amazed when it was pointed out that it would need professional cleaning which would cost around £60. Her response was  that it was normal wear and tear,’ explained Barber.

‘We get the same response often concerning dirty carpets. Tenants will state that because a carpet is a light colour it is bound to get dirty. It never crosses their mind that they should clean it themselves and they are strangely indignant when they see how much carpet cleaning companies charge,’ she added.

She also pointed out that tenants are often shocked to realise that professional cleaning can cost anything from £10 to £20 per hour depending on the area and type of work required. ‘Some tenants claim that cleaning issues are just normal wear and tear but the simple answer is that if an area or item was clean at check in it should be left clean at check out. It something can be cleaned then it should be. If any dust or crumbs are present then this is clearly not clean,’ said Barber.


She added that it is important for landlords and agents to 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.

Barber has found that ovens cause the most problems and said 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. Tenants are amazed that professional oven cleaning costs between £50 to £80.

Stained and marked carpets are a very common problem with some tenants trying to hide stains with rugs and furniture. Tenants are also known to cut out the stain and fill the hole with carpet they have cut from a hidden part of the property, for example from under the bed.

Heavy lime scale to kitchen and bathroom fittings is another and the response of tenants is often to blame it on hard water. Grease deposits and also an area of contention as are thick dust and cobwebs, particularly around furniture and on the ceilings.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.


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