Can cleaning be automatically deducted from the deposit?

by Readers Question

14:17 PM, 1st February 2015
About 4 years ago

Can cleaning be automatically deducted from the deposit?

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Can cleaning be automatically deducted from the deposit?

I thought I had the base covered where in my lease it states ” the tenant agrees the landlord reserves the right to appoint cleaners if he feels that the property has not been cleaned to an acceptable standard, such costs being borne by the tenant”

Looks pretty clear cut to me. Tenant and landlord agree to a condition in the lease and thus a binding point. We sought to charge a tenant cleaning costs in the absence of effective inventory and condition ( will come back to this) docs. The adjudicator threw out the charge even having pointed out the principle of parole of evidence.

I can understand an unfair contract but such principles are applied to a contract that would impoverish I.e.payday loans charging 4000% interest.

It has been talked about at length having detailed comprehensive photographed evidence, but standard of cleaning is subjective and you easily spend a whole day carrying out a proper acceptable standard of inventory which would be effective in a dispute. Who has time for that ? Currently I spend about 3-4 hours with usually a disinterested tenant carrying out an inventory. Carrying out an inventory has a good psychological effect on impressing tenants you care about your property.

The question is can I state unequivocally in my lease that professional cleaners WILL be appointed at end of tenancy at no more than £X cost which the adjudicator cannot dismiss when a deduction is made from the deposit.

Many thanks

Asifcleaning



Comments

Ian Narbeth

11:39 AM, 2nd February 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Asif
Your clause is almost certainly an unfair contract term - see e.g https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/284440/oft356.pdf and search for cleaning.
As drafted the clause makes you judge in your own cause as well (" the landlord reserves the right to appoint cleaners if he feels that the property has not been cleaned to an acceptable standard") which is not fair. You will have got the adjudicator's back up. An independent person may disagree about the level of cleaning required. Clauses requiring "professional" cleaning come what may are liable to be struck down. It is better to require that cleaning is done to a reasonable standard and argue about that.

Ian Cognito

15:33 PM, 2nd February 2015
About 4 years ago

I agree with Ian Narbeth.

I also agree that your suggested amendment ".........professional cleaners WILL be appointed at end of tenancy at no more than £X cost........." should be acceptable provided that a) the £X cost is not 'unreasonable' and b) not hidden within the small print of the agreement.

However, my feeling is that this sends out the wrong message; namely that the tenant needn't bother about what condition the property is left in as NO MATTER HOW DIRTY the professional cleaners he/she is paying for will sort it out.

Also, a very dirty property will be more difficult to assess for damage and/or fair wear & tear.

I prefer to pay for a professional clean at the start of a tenancy and advise the tenant that the property must be returned in a similar condition. In practice, so long as the property is 'acceptably clean' (in my judgement) I am quite happy not to charge the tenant whilst still paying for a professional clean before the new tenant arrives.

james pearce

21:54 PM, 2nd February 2015
About 4 years ago

I personally think you have to try and be a bit pragmatic about these things.
Not easy I know but if a tenant has been in one of your properties for a while and paying the rent on time etc is it really worth blowing a gasket over the cleaning if the place is reasonable but perhaps not as clean as you'd like??
the important thing to me is that the tenants try and take care of my properties and pay the rent on time. cashflow being everything when you've got multiple mortgages, if I occasionally have to pay for a bit of cleaning such is life.
Get it wrapped up and get the next tenant in!!!!
The last tenant I did have a disagreement about cleaning with the cleaning bill was a 100 quid and we ended up splitting it.

Ian Cognito

22:18 PM, 2nd February 2015
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "james pearce" at "02/02/2015 - 21:54":

I think that you, James, and I are thinking along the same lines.


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