Cleaning Costs are Adding Up

by Property118.com News Team

12:33 PM, 12th December 2011
About 7 years ago

Cleaning Costs are Adding Up

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Cleaning Costs are Adding Up

Landlords are seeing a rising amount of deposit disputes over the cleaning of properties according to The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks.

They say 40% of all tenancy deposit disputes involve some sort of cleaning cost. They also claim tenants don’t see cleaning costs as anything more than “fair wear and tear”, hence the disputes.

Pat barber, Chair of AIIC, said “’Not my problem’ is a common statement from some tenants, however sometimes it is. Accidents happen during a tenancy and tenants need to realise that they must take financial responsibility for things that are beyond normal wear and tear.

“For example, a tenant looked after someone else’s cat for a few weeks during the tenancy. On check-out, there were pet hairs on the curtains and soft furnishings, cat claw marks on the corners of the sofa and scratches to the back door. The tenant said it wasn’t her cat so why should she pay for the cleaning and repairing the damage?”

Ovens and stained carpets cause the most problems, and are also the more expensive things to clean.

“It’s so 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. Tenants are often shocked to realise that professional cleaning can cost anything from £10 – £20 per hour depending on the area and type of work required.”



Comments

9:10 AM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

same old story nothing changes its just become more evident now that they have pressurised the landlords till nothing else comes out and the landlords are now ensuring they get their costs the tenants want more rules so they do not have to pay for anything ,they want it that once they leave its all down to the landlord and i expect somewhere there will be cronies out their pushing for it in government .

9:50 AM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

I have had the situation where a tenant argues that leaving a property dirty is fair, wear and tear. Now, when I show a prospective tenant around a property I tell them that all my properties are professionally cleaned and each outgoing tenant pays for that.
Tenants are given a copy of my terms of business showing all costs involved and I ensure that the tenant signs my terms of business, they are checked in/out of the property and the inventory is signed. Some tenants will still try and argue at the end of the tenancy but at least I have covered my back

10:32 AM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

that's good I've been doing this also but at the same time you are selecting clients not a bad thing but the more selective you get the less the client base .I am afraid until someone actually makes it a rule that tenants are not entitled to do this then these situations will continue to be argumentative and time wasted, not one we can win

Mark Alexander

10:38 AM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

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12:10 PM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

How do you define 'fair wear and tear'? I am conscious in my own home of how a child seems to have to put mucky hands on walls instead of using a bannister rail and Hotwheels are merciless on skirting paintwork... How do you define something which seems so subjective? Where is the line between cleaning and the kind of professional clean which requires professional equipment and a redecoration and how do you communicate this at the outset of a tenancy? It seems to me that the only way to avoid misunderstandings is to be very clear at check-in.
I once had a deposit stopped £10 by a landlord because there was a cheesegrater missing from the kitchen inventory. I politely told him that I had thrown it away when I found it festering in mould under the kitchen cupboards just after I had defrosted and de-moulded his freezer! I kept my £10! That was in the olden days, I'm sure that now a good landlord would have a far more thorough check in procedure....?

Mary Latham

14:22 PM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

Here are some pointers from my|deposits to help landlords decide what’s fair and what’s not. Clearly there are financial consequences when it comes to returning all or only part of a tenant’s deposit, so they should be viewed in the context of each particular tenancy.
1. Length of tenancy
The longer the tenancy, the more natural wear. Common sense, but think, for example, how much wear a carpet
in your own home shows after one, two or three years. Also consider what its condition was in the first place?
Was it brand new or has it already seen a few tenancies come and go? Take account of all these factors.
2. Number and age of occupiers
The more bedrooms and occupants, the higher the wear and tear in all the common parts - sitting room,
passages, stairs, bathrooms and kitchen. If some of them are children, factor that in too. Scuffs and scrapes are
unavoidable in normal family life. A property occupied by a singleton will see far less wear than a family of four,
so bear this in mind when it’s time for tenants to check out.
3.Wear and tear vs actual damage
When is it no longer normal wear? If it’s been broken, certainly - meaning either replacement or repair by a
specialist. Or if it’s possibly more than a conventional job painter and decorator? Light marks on the carpet might
have to be viewed as unavoidable: fist marks in the plaster would not be. Equally, damage such as nail varnish spills
on the floor or iron burns that have occured due to negligence could see the tenant liable for repair. Consider
whether the item has been damaged or worn out through natural use versus sheer negligence when making a
judgement call.
In a debate about whether cleaning/repair is necessary versus complete replacement at the end of the tenancy, an
adjudicator will examine the Check-in/out report, Statement of condition and any photos/videos in order to make
an assessment of the condition of the property in relation to the original condition.
4. Quality of the accommodation
Another consideration is the quality or fabric of the property itself. Many new builds tend not to be quite as robust
as older properties or conversions. Walls, partitions and internal painted surfaces tend to be thinner and therefore
likely to suffer more stress, particularly in higher footfall areas of the property. This inevitably means that there is a
greater need for redecoration at the end of the tenancy period.

14:59 PM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

Do a photo file to back up inventory. Note on invenory condition of item, new, good, well used. If new keep receipts or scan. Have information presented with inventory for use as a reference when tenant leaves.
For fair wear and tear measure like with like. Is item still usable? Will it need replacing? Can business afford to replace this often? Etc.

Mark Alexander

15:05 PM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

Excellent post Mary.

16:30 PM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

I note Mary Latham gets a whole A4 size page when all i can get is one paragraph why is that , good plug Mark ,I dont have a problem cleaning its getting the money for doing it and agreement is the problem. I try to do without the smaller items but most times I get roped into supplying anyway i just forget about the small items on inventory eg china, cutlery ect when its gone its gone ,good write up by mary but all of the above still causes a problem it does not seem to work for the landlord ,the time will come to supply just the basic shell let the tenants supply their needs we just worry about the building ,when they leave everything goes then you have a clear way to put property in order only paint a bit like first class travel and no thrills easy jet this is where it will get to eventually . I like to think i provide good quality properties but there are those who make things difficult for landlords having said that i have also had some good tenants i wished stayed for longer . Perhaps the government should send someone round on start and on end then they can have the say as to whats right and wrong and no one can contest the outcome .

Mark Alexander

16:35 PM, 13th December 2011
About 7 years ago

Hi Josh

You can write as much as you like, what makes you think you are limited to one paragraph?

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