Refusal for professional end of tenancy clean by tenant

by Readers Question

11:17 AM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

Refusal for professional end of tenancy clean by tenant

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Refusal for professional end of tenancy clean by tenant

Our standard terms state at the end of the Tenancy, (or on renewal should this be agreed) to pay a professional cleaning company for the professional ‘End of Tenancy’ cleaning of the Property, the washing, ironing or pressing of all linen and for the washing and cleaning, ironing or pressing of all blankets, carpets, soft furnishings, curtains and blinds which shall have been soiled during the Tenancy. (as specified in the ‘Check list for Check-out’ (Appendix C) attached to this Agreement.). This Appendix states specifically all the items to be covered.cleaner

Our tenant has now said he does not agree to anything other than asking a normal domestic cleaner to do a few extra hours. He does not agree to cleaning the inside of the windows, or the cleaning of the carpets. He has stated that the OFT have declared most of these responsibilities unfair and if we don’t agree he will go to arbitration.

Any views on this? Does the fact that the requirements are laid out quite specifically in the Lease mean that he cannot object. Can we insist on a ‘professional’ clean or just confirm our expectations with regards to the state the apartment is left in.

Thanks
David



Comments

Neil Patterson

11:20 AM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi David,

Can I ask if you are considering taking the cost out of the deposit? The deposit protection company would then decide assuming the tenant objects.

Teg's Dad

12:08 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

David,
Was there a professional clean at the beginning of the tenancy? If not then you would be asking for betterment. Most tenancies ask for cleaning to a professional standard.

Paul Franklin

12:12 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

Check the OFT guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements (sept 2005) there is definately something in there and they give examples of potentially 'unfair' terms such as this, which if deemed unfair would be void and unenforceable. From memory, I think you can insist the property is left in the same state as when it was let but you cannot insist on them using specific people like professionals, however the tenant does it is their decision and as long as it's in the same state as when it was let (and if this is to a professional clean standard then fine) then that's all you can ask. This is all from memory though, please googe and check the guidance for yourself.

Mark Lynham

12:12 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

and im assuming you had all this done before they moved in with reciepts kept as proof?
I would assume that if they give the property back in a similar condition to how they found it, less fair wear and tear of course, then i dont see the issue you would have with the tenants.
It does also say 'that have been soiled' so i guess if the tenant syas things havent been 'soiled' then it wouldnt need doing anyway..... i think really your inventory will be the deciding factor in this.

David Bender

12:37 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

Many thanks to all who have replied.
In answer to your queries, -
yes it was 'professionally cleaned 2 days before they moved in, including carpets and that is the standard we have told the tenants we expect. They are arguing that cleaning carpets or windows is onerous and cannot be expected.
I also checked the OFT who's main thrust is that the expectations must be clearly set out at the outset (and not be vague, or buried in the main body of a long agreement.), and that it should be to the standard they found when they moved in. Our lease also includes an appendix with details of what is expected - so we are covered there as well.
We have not insisted on anyone particular performing the clean, but have expressed the view that the normal domestic cleaner putting in a few extra hours will not suffice.
We usuall expect the tenants to organise and pay for the cleaning so we don't need to get the DPS involved unless - as may well be in this situation - it is not done to any decent standard and we need to get it cleaned again. In that case we would claim the amount from the deposit. As you say, they can give their view but we would obviously prefer not to have to go to arbitration, which he is warning us (in advance of moving out), that he will do.
thanks for all your input.

Teg's Dad

12:41 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

David,
Occasionally you just have to bite the bullet and call their bluff. Perhaps one final email to them as per your post pointing out that the terms were there, cleaning windows is not unreasonable etc and perhaps suggest they seek legal advice. Faced with the evidence they may well back down.

Provided you have the evidence and can prove this to the arbitrator, it appears that you would win.

Romain Garcin

12:46 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

If it is a term of the tenancy then IMHO it is not 'betterment'. However the deposit schemes are the gate keepers so...

Teg's Dad

12:52 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Romain Garcin" at "12/08/2015 - 12:46":

Romain,
I would agree provided that the property was professionally cleaned at the start. Otherwise it would be betterment because it would be cleaned to a higher standard on exist than existed on entry. Most agreements now refer to cleaning to a professional standard, rather than professionally cleaned.

Mark Lynham

12:54 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

are you expecting problems with this? ie have you seen the property that would suggest it needs all this doing? Again it will all come down to your inventory but good luck trying to get anything from a deposit scheme unless its beyond doubt that its something that needs doing.

Romain Garcin

13:45 PM, 12th August 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Teg's Dad" at "12/08/2015 - 12:52":

Hi Ted,

What I meant is that it would be betterment to expect the property to be cleaner that it was IF there is no term in the lease.
If there is a term then it becomes a contractual obligation and there is no longer any question of whether it is betterment.

It's like if you agree to let to someone on the condition that he repaints the property throughout: Clearly the tenant would then not be able to wiggle out of it by claiming that it would be betterment to repaint the property...

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