When moving out of a rented property, you will have hundreds of things to organise. You will need to pack your things into boxes, hire a removal company, let people know about your change of address, book a day off work to move, and much more. Chances are, you will not have time or energy to clean the house to a professional standard. However, ensuring that the property is properly cleaned is the responsibility of the tenant. The property must meet the standard of cleanliness expected by the landlord and lettings agent before your deposit will be returned to you.
Of course, you will want to receive your full deposit back. Unfortunately, you stand to lose part or all of the deposit unless your landlord is happy with the state you have left the property in. If he does not think it is clean enough, the landlord may hire a professional cleaning firm to come in and clean the property again. This professional cleaning is often arranged by the lettings agent or property management company on the landlord’s behalf. You will be charged the cost of the cleaning, plus any management fees that need to go to the agent. This can work out a lot more expensive than hiring your own cleaners before you leave, as you will have no choice over which company is used.
Disputes over the return of a deposit based on the cleanliness of a property can be time consuming and expensive, particularly if it is your word against the Landlord’s. There are some tips to keep in mind whenever you move into a new rented property, which will help you to make sure a dispute does not arise.
First, check the contract carefully on moving in to see what is expected when you leave; the contract should specify the level of cleanliness expected (usually, this will be “as clean as when you moved in or cleaner”). If the contract does not say how clean the property must be left, ask for this to be added to it immediately. This will help to avoid any later disputes.
Next check the inventory. This is a list of everything in the property: rooms, fixtures, fittings and furniture. Examine each item carefully when you first move in, and make a note of any stains or damage. Take pictures that show the extent of the damage, wherever possible. These will be useful later, if the landlord claims that you are responsible for the damage or that you have made it worse.
Now, when it comes to moving out, you will know the level of cleanliness required, and also what needs to be cleaned or fixed. It is possible to try to do this yourself, but usually, cleaning the property involves a lot more work than people realise. Everything has to be spotless, inside and out. That means fridges, ovens and cupboards. You need to clean under all furniture and behind all fixtures. If it is not done right, the landlord will bring in his own cleaners and all your work will be for nothing. You will also have to pay or lose part of your deposit.
Professional cleaners can take a weight off your shoulders and make the end of your tenancy much less stressful. Cleaning companies that offer a professional end of tenancy cleaning service will know exactly what needs to be done to bring the property up to the right standard, because they will work closely with lettings agents in the area. They will also have the best equipment to get the job done.
While you will need to pay for a professional cleaning service, you will have control over which company you choose. You can shop around for the best prices, and you will not have to pay extra fees to the management company. There are many companies in London that offer professional end of tenancy cleaning, and it is well worth taking them up on this to ensure you receive your full deposit back from the landlord.