If you want to maximise the chances of getting your deposit money back, then cleaning your rental property is essential before the final inspection
No one wants to move into a dirty property. Landlords or agents are aware of this expectation. So, it’s most likely that the property you’re living in was very clean on your first visit. As a tenant, you also have the responsibility to maintain the same cleaning standards when moving out of the property.
Besides the deposits, you may also need good references from your landlord or their agent, especially if you’re moving into another property.
End of tenancy cleaning is one of the leading causes of tenancy deposit disputes. Of all the disputes submitted to the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS) in 2018-2019, for example, cleaning was cited in 53% of the cases. The rate hardly changed for the seventh year running, as figures show a range between 53% and 58%. .
This is particularly true if you live in the British capital as the property rental market is so competitive. Hiring an end of tenancy cleaning London company makes a lot more sense than a going for a DIY approach.
We’ve prepared a detailed guide to help with your end of tenancy cleaning so you can get every penny back from your original deposit.
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Besides the deposits, you may also need good references from your landlord or their agent, especially if you’re moving into another property. This is particularly true if you live in the British capital as the property rental market is highly competitive.
We feel hiring an end of tenancy cleaning London company makes a lot more sense than a going for a DIY approach so we’ve prepared a detailed guide to help you make the right decision.
About The Cleaning Standards
It’s not unheard of landlords deducting money from the tenancy deposit even after the tenants have cleaned the property. Many tenants are often worried about failing to meet the cleaning standards, as this is a subject of different perceptions.
While cleanliness can be subjective, most of the landlords have specific criteria in their check-out form that set out the standard level. As a general rule, the property must be returned in the exact condition it was provided to you as documented in the inventory/check-in report. Keep in mind that cleanliness doesn’t take into account the fair wear and tear.
And even though the normal wear or ageing of an item is inevitable, you must still ensure the item is clean. It is best to review this matter with your landlord or agent to understand all their specific requirements. You could even ask them for a pre-inspection to pinpoint any areas of concern. This can save you a lot of trouble when the tenancy period comes to an end.
DIY Vs. Hiring A Professional End Of Tenancy Cleaning Service
Many people will naturally consider the DIY approach. Well, it’s a good decision to save money. On the other side of the coin, doing the cleaning yourself can be time-consuming, especially if you’re the type that has not been doing deep cleaning regularly.
Depending on the nature of the property, it is very possible to spend a lot of money on different detergents and cleaning tools. When you compare the quote of a professional cleaning company, you may notice an insignificant difference in the final cost.
The cleaning task can also be so overwhelming that you end up doing substandard work, leaving the property owner dissatisfied. Since the landlord cannot force you to hire a cleaning company, they may choose to withhold your full deposit or part of it to cover the cleaning costs.
Some of the cleaning materials have a high level of chemicals, which can pose a health risk to the untrained eye. For example, they can affect your skin, eyes, lungs, or trigger allergic reactions when used incorrectly. Hiring professional cleaners may be a better deal.
Working with professional cleaners will greatly increase the chances of securing your tenancy deposit and make your move-out experience less stressful.
Experienced cleaners like Carpet Cleaning London Pro are equipped with advanced tools and products to get the job done to the highest of standards. They can thoroughly clean the rental property in less time, allowing you to concentrate on other important issues.
Professionals will also follow the landlords approved cleaning checklist. They can easily identify the discrepancies between your check-in and check-out reports, and then offer services that restore the property to its perfect condition. The landlord is more likely to confirm the cleaning was justifying and give back your deposit.
When Can The Landlord Require End Of Tenancy Professional Cleaning?
DIY cleaning may not be an option in some circumstances. If a tenancy agreement has a clause requiring professional cleaning and the landlord has evidence showing the property was professionally cleaned before you moved in, you may have to meet this requirement.
The Tenant Fees Act of 2019 introduced some conditions, which affect the clauses requiring professional property cleaning when tenants are moving out. As from 1 June 2019, landlords have no right to forcefully charge or request for professional cleaning services in the tenancy agreement.
For those who signed agreements before the above dates and there’s a clause for professional cleaning, then your property owner or manager can require the property cleaned by professionals. However, this is only possible until 31 May 2020.
Please note the Act does not take away the right of landlords to deduct money from your deposit if you choose not to clean the property properly before moving out. And, landlords will hire the best crew to clean their properties, so shopping around for the best deal to keep the cost low for you is not something on top of their minds.
Nevertheless, though, your landlord can not charge more than what the professional cleaning service costs. That’s why you’re advised to ask for a copy of the receipt before allowing the landlord or agent to make deductions from your deposit.
Landlord Claiming More Than Reasonable
How can you know the landlord is laying out unfair demands? According to TDS, unfair claims can arise when a tenancy agreement requires the professional end of tenancy cleaning but the property was not professionally clean when you moved in.
If the check-in report documents a domestic cleaning standard, then it’s only fair that the property owner receives money that can return the property to a domestically clean state.
Sometimes you may also devote time doing a great cleaning job matching the quality benchmark, but the landlord eventually demands professional cleaning. That would be unfair as well, although you’re unlikely to succeed with the claim if the check-out report says that the property requires professional cleaning.
Professional End Of Tenancy Cleaning Checklist
Professionals don’t offer a one-fit cleaning approach. They rely on your final inspection checklist and move-in inventory report to match the quality expectations of the landlord.
Some of the tasks are easy to complete by yourself, while others require sophisticated tools and an experienced cleaner. The most challenging end of tenancy cleaning tasks that see many tenants fail to meet the expected good standard include, but not limited to:
Carpet is a flooring material you’ll find in most properties. Unfortunately, it faces a significant amount of traffic. Carpet can accumulate dirt, grime, and debris. Vacuuming your carpets only picks up the top layer stains.
Drag the slider horizontally to see the result of some carpet cleaning work we recently did in London
Some renters go years without a deep carpet cleaning. As a result, carpets get sticky and matted that they no longer have the colour they did when the tenant moved into the house.
In this case, deep cleaning is necessary. Experts use high-powered equipment and measured cleaning solutions to penetrate the full-depth of the carpet fibres, removing the dirt and odours.
Hot water extraction and dry carpet cleaning are the most commonly used carpet cleaning methods. With hot water extraction, a cleaning agent is mixed with hot water and then forced deep into the carpet fibres at a high pressure to loosen the dirt.
The dirt is sucked out using a powerful vacuum cleaner, not the typical one used in homes. Dry carpet cleaning, on the other hand, uses a specially designed carpet cleaning powder. It is usually brushed into the carpet fibres to dissolve the grime with the help of a highly specialised machine. A vertical vacuum cleaner is used to get out the grime.
Cleaning your leather sofa requires special care. Otherwise, you may end ruining it or cause colour discolouration, which can lead to deposit deductions.
It’s important to remember that the leather processing chemicals and technologies used by manufacturers usually differ. That’s why experts take a cautious approach, which typically involves making a quick test on a small sample of the sofa material before the cleaning procedure.
It helps them determine the most appropriate cleaning solutions and techniques to remove dirt, grime, stains, and hard particles from the leather sofa.
Just like carpets, rugs are also prone to dirt accumulation. Dry cleaning and steam cleaning methods can be used to clean your rug. However, since rugs are made of different types of fabric, not any cleaning detergent or solution will do the trick. You need a knowledgeable cleaner to assess the rug and choose the right cleaning method and solution to restore your rug to its former glory.
It’s a renter’s responsibility to wash the curtains unless stated otherwise in the check-out report. Cleaning the curtains, drapes, and shears yourself might seem a good idea, but you risk damaging the material. It’s a task for pros. The experts use most effective and safe methods, particularly the dry solvent cleaning and steam cleaning.
Areas You Might Want To Clean Yourself
Tub and shower: Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply it on the surfaces using a sponge. Put vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it on the coated surface until it fizzes. You should scrub the surfaces once the fizzing stops, and then rinse thoroughly with water.
Toilet: Mix baking soda and vinegar and pour it into the toilet bowl. Leave it for 30 minutes before scrubbing. Sink: Pay attention to the faucets, chromed surfaces, and handles. To clean the sink, you can sprinkle baking soda on the surfaces and rub it in using a piece of cloth. Rinse the sink with cool water.
Mirrors: Wipe mirrors with a mixture of vinegar and water in a 1:4 dilution ratio.
Drains: If there are signs of a blockage, use a plunger to unclog the drains.
Floor: Scrub the bathroom floor and mop it with a cleaning solution of vinegar, water, and dish soap.
Cabinets and drawers: You should empty all the drawers and cabinets. Take a mild cleaner like baking soda and sprinkle it on the surfaces, and then use a damp soft sponge to wipe them clean.
Oven: Take a piece of cloth and wipe away any loose debris. Make a paste of baking soda and water, and use it to coat the inside of the oven. Don’t wipe the paste right away, but rather leave it to sit overnight. If wiping with a damp cloth doesn’t remove all the baking soda, you can spray some vinegar to make it easier.
Stovetop: If there’s any debris over a stovetop, brush it off and sprinkle baking soda on the surface. Next, spray hydrogen peroxide. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before you wipe the surface using cool water and a sponge.
Refrigerator: Unplug the refrigerator and clear everything out. Remove all the drawers and shelves and clean them good. Take a solution of vinegar and water and spray it inside and outside the appliance. Wipe with a damp cloth before drying it with a clean towel. Return the drawers and shelves, and leave the doors open to avoid mould.
Sink and faucets: Scrub the surfaces using a powered cleaning product. Chlorine-free bleach added in water can also do the trick. Just spray it over the sink and rinse thoroughly after a few minutes.
Countertops: Use warm, soapy water to wipe down the countertops.
Clean units, shelves, drawers, coffee table, bookshelves, cupboards, furniture, glass, mirrors, TV stand, electronic equipment, and other decorations. Generally, you’ll need to do dusting, polishing, and vacuuming.
Remove nails, screws, or hooks you may have put on the walls. Plaster the holes using a wall filler, sandpaper, and putty knife. Scuff or dirty marks may be rubbed off or you can choose to paint them over. Ensure the walls are free of mould. You can use a bleach solution, but make sure you wear gloves and a breathing mask. The easiest way to clean your walls is to cover a broom with a towel and wipe them clean. You’ll need to start wiping from the top to the baseboard.
Clean the windows inside out. It is worth investing in a quality glass cleaner that you can use to clean not only the windows but also glass doors, mirrors, and other glass surfaces.
With an extendable broom, you can remove cobwebs from the ceilings and corners of all the rooms.
Garden And Exterior
If you found the garden and exterior clean when moving into the property, it’s a good idea to clean it before you leave. Consider sweeping up the leaves on the driveways, patios, or decks.
Also, mow the lawn and maintain the flower beds if necessary. But, you should be careful not to damage the plants when weeding or cutting the grass. Please note this is not an exhaustive list.
Nevertheless, the lists of things we’ve covered above are included in most check-out reports. Meeting these cleaning demands and other details outlined in the move-in inventory and check-out form is necessary if you’re to get your security deposit back.
Below is a typical example of a London end of tenancy cleaning job before and after results
Plan end of tenancy cleaning early
Moving out of a property takes a lot of preparation, including the cleaning process. It can be a more stressful experience when you don’t start early enough.
Generally, this should be about two weeks before the move-out date. Not many tenants go through every detail on the tenancy agreement and inventory form the time they’re moving in. If you fall into this category, starting early could allow you to review the cleaning-related clauses and see if it’s something you can do by yourself or hire professional cleaners.
You will have enough time to buy cleaning products, hire equipment, do the cleaning, and make necessary repairs or replacements. When you live in a big furnished property and you opt for DIY, the process can take a while. Although professional cleaners can get the job done quickly, it’s best to start making the preparations once you know the moving date. Being as detailed as possible with the cleaning process is the key, but this could be compromised when work is done hastily to beat time.
Without a doubt, working with professionals in end of tenancy cleaning is a smart move to get your deposit back and save yourself a lot of strain. This is true if you live in a furnished property where the landlord demands high cleanliness standards. Speaking of getting your security deposit, you and the landlord have to be in agreement for the deposits to be released to you. If there’s a disagreement, you will only get the undisputed amount. The disputed amount will be released to either party, depending on the documentary evidence submitted by you and the landlord. This is where quotes and detailed descriptions that are given by professional cleaners at the end of the cleaning service help a great deal. They can easily provide sufficient evidence to support your claim.