Check Out questions in the current climate?

by Readers Question

8:51 AM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Check Out questions in the current climate?

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Check Out questions in the current climate?

I have two concerns in relation to our tenants who moved out yesterday.

1) The flat was cleaned well, but not at the level when they moved in. Cleanliness means different things to different people and therefore difficult to prove or have an argument unless it is something extreme and obvious. We asked a cleaner to come in and get it done to the standard we require (as we have tenants moving in almost straight away), but of course as per the new regulations, we can’t asked the tenants to cover cleanliness fees when they leave. Not sure how to position this when I contact them and highlight the fact that the flat was not cleaned to the same level as when they moved in (we did notify them of what we are doing though but have not asked for anything so far). They moved out late in the evening and were in a rush, so did not review everything to that level which is my miss.

Any advise will be useful. Can this be raised at all in the current climate anyway? So far, our previous tenants were requesting professional cleaning themselves or cleaning it properly.

2) Apparently they dropped something in the bathtub and then repaired it themselves without notifying us. They said that the enamel was chipped without damage to the underlying level. They used Cramer Alpine white ceramic repair kit. If this is correct, I guess we may/ can not raise it as it can last and no change of bathtub is required as such which will take their whole deposit. The contract states that they have the obligation to notify us. They said that because it happened on the first day, they were hesitating to raise an issue so early.

Generally they have been nice tenants and had no major issues as such.

Also, the new tenants are asking for an additional key and I am unsure what the situation is on this. They are a couple and we provide two keys.

Many Thanks

Des



Comments

Ian Narbeth

10:39 AM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Hi Des
You can still claim for breach of contract (e.g. failure to clean) but you can't specify a set amount in the AST. Take detailed photos and write a description of the lack of cleanliness before getting your cleaner in. Otherwise you won't be able to prove that it was not clean. You may still get into an argument but at least will have some evidence. If the deposit is held in a custodial scheme I make sure the tenant realises that the return of the deposit will be delayed if they want to dispute the claim.

As to the damage caused to the bath, if the repair has held up since the start of the tenancy it is probably good enough. You won't get damages for the failure to notify you.

Graham Bowcock

12:05 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

If you want to make a claim against the tenant for the quality of cleaning you need to have a decent inventory fron the start of the tenancy (ideally agreed with the tenant), along with full details of the end of tenancy issues. It's a shame you felt rushed doing the checkout, as that is ideally when you should have noted the defects and agreed them with the tenant. Cleaning in particular can be subjective.

If you try to make a claim on the deposit you will need the evidence (e.g. dated photographs, contempraneous notes).

Personally, I always assume I will need to arrange a clean after a tenancy and don't worry too much unless it is really bad. Even when I've had great tenants there's always something to sort out.

Tenants do not like landlords withholding money from deposits (hence the legislation in their favour) so you always have to tread carefully unless it's very clear.

As for the bath, this is harder to comment on.

Keys - if you give out two keys, give out two keys. If the tenants want more, let them sort it out. Unlilely to be a deal breaker.

Puzzler

13:38 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

My agent insists on a professional clean before they move in (either by the landlord or outgoing tenant) and when they move out supported by an invoice

Re the bath- how does it look? How old is it? You would have to divide the cost over the number of years it's expected to last and factor how old it is - say it is 7 years and could be expected to last 10 then you maybe could ask for 30% of the cost - there is a formula somewhere for this on one the deposit websites

Your best bet is to talk to them, and see if you can agree an amount to deduct (they have to agree or it goes to dispute) you may find they make an offer. It seems quite a small thing, I would be tempted to write it off (depending on the bath damage)

Des

13:54 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 04/11/2019 - 13:38
Hi,
Thank you for your reply.
Don't think landlords are allowed to ask for a professional cleaning even with an invoice. The check in inventory states professional level. The new tenants are briefed on the inventory and I stressed out that at check out it needs to be professionally done (still remains subjective..) and will emphasise in a summary e-mail.
Did not know there is a formula, I will have a look. Although, it is around 10yrs old, the bath is still considered very high standard.
Well, I advised on the cost of the cleaning and awaiting their answer now... let's see.

Jireh Homes

15:25 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Hi Des. Guessing you did not manage to prepare a detail check-out report so other than invoice from cleaning weak on evidence. Also you mentioned good tenancy. As your void period very short put the cleaning cost down to cost of business and move on.

Jireh Homes

15:31 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Re keys, concur with Graham that should tenant require additional keys they sort this themselves. However if you have a concern once they vacate over them holding a spare then consider providing.

Ian Narbeth

15:39 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jireh Homes at 04/11/2019 - 15:31
I disagree. I would rather get an extra key cut and re-charge the tenant £3 or £5 or whatever Timpsons charge and have a rule that they don't get keys cut than have the tenant do so and not know after they have left if there are duplicate keys out there.
We now get high security keys that tenants can't get duplicated. They cost a few pounds extra but the cost is trivial compared to the value of the asset.

Darlington Landlord

18:41 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 04/11/2019 - 10:39
I use the cramer enamel repair kit and find it gives a good result initially but needs to be redone every 1-2 years as it wears off. It is not a permenant fix so you should deduct something for the loss of value of the bath although this may be relatively small when you calculate it

Darlington Landlord

18:46 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 04/11/2019 - 15:39
I agree with Ian. Its better to have high security keys (with the key code registered in your name NOT the locksmiths) This gives you certainty that there are no spare keys floating around. If a tenant requests an extra key or loses one I will contact the locksmith to confirm they can get one cut so I don't have to.

Paul Shears

23:49 PM, 4th November 2019
About 7 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Puzzler at 04/11/2019 - 13:38
A new white steel bath with a 25 year guarantee costs £110 if you spend some time searching on the internet.
Installation is obviously an extra that will vary enormously.
replacing the fittings at the same time may well be a no brainer.
Will the slight damage really affect your rental income or ability to get replacement tenants in the future.
Having said that, a thoroughly cleaned and well presented property enables you to be more selective about the tenants that you accept.

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