While it is common knowledge in the lettings industry that cleaning is the number one cause of tenancy deposit disputes, landlords are facing a growing problem with dirty properties.
Since the introduction of mandatory tenancy deposit protection in 2007, cleaning has consistently been the main cause of disputes. However, Imfuna Let has now reported that the problem is getting worse.
The latest figures from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) show that cleaning continues to form the majority of disputes, up by almost 50% over the last five years. The TDS claims that cleaning arises in over half (58%) of the cases it deals with.
According to Imfuna, landlords and letting agents are increasingly finding dirty properties at the end of tenancies.
The founder and CEO of the firm, Jax Kneppers, explains: “Many tenants claim their landlord or agent failed to make it clear that the property should be left clean at check-out. It is essential that landlords and agents conduct a thorough inventory with photography and detailed descriptions on the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. This proof of condition should be shared with the tenant when they are issued with the tenancy agreement.
“This biggest problems that agents and landlords face are: dirty ovens and fridges; stains and marks on carpeting and flooring; bathrooms which have not been cleaned for months; and pet hair and excrement on floors, furniture and soft furnishings.”
He insists: “At the check-out stage, the tenant should be made aware of the areas requiring cleaning and the potential cost involved. It is important to remember that the tenant is only obliged to return the property in the same state of cleanliness as at the start of the tenancy, after allowing for fair wear and tear.”
Our guide to compiling a good inventory will help you to keep your property and tenancy safe: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/landlords-guide-inventories-avoiding-disputes/
The Director of Balgores Property Group, Howard Lester, also comments: “We have seen a sharp rise in the number of properties that require professional cleaning services at check-out over the last 12 months. There is definitely a lack of respect for property amongst tenants and it appears that they are happy to live in dirty accommodation. Many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition when they leave a property and we have seen many properties in a filthy state at the end of the tenancy.
“At a recent check-out, the property was left in a disgusting state. The tenants had not cleaned the oven for months and it was caked with grease and spills on the hob and on the inside. Bags of rubbish were left in the kitchen and the worktops were filthy with grime. The carpets were heavily marked with pet excrement and numerous spills. The garden was left with an old washing machine, rusty bikes and worn-out tyres. It cost the landlord several hundred pounds to have the property professionally cleaned.”
Lester adds: “Tenants are often shocked to realise that professional cleaning can be costly, depending on the area and type of work required. Some tenants think cleaning issues are just normal wear and tear.”
Imfuna reveals the most common cleaning problems at check-out:
- Ovens – Dirty ovens cause the most problems. Any burn marks to any part of the appliance mean it is not clean.
- Stained and marked carpets – This is very common, and tenants have been known to cut out the stain and fill the hole with carpet they have cut from a hidden part of the property, e.g. under the bed.
- Heavy limescale to kitchen and bathroom taps and showerheads – Tenants often claim that this is not their fault, as it is a ‘hard water area’.
- Grease throughout the kitchen – Although surfaces and cupboards may look clean, they are often sticky to the touch.
- Thick dust and cobwebs – These are commonly found around furniture and on the ceiling.
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