A good number of landlord-tenancy disputes are seen in London each month. Realtors say that about 60% of these disputes arise from withheld tenancy deposit refunds. The majority of these tenancy deposit cases arise from disputes on end of tenancy cleaning. A landlord will be quick to dispute cleaning that they think do not reflect the standard of his house. When this happens, the law requires that the tenancy deposit is locked by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme until the dispute is cleared. The TDS determines whether the tenant is liable to cover cleaning costs again.
Facts on tenancy cleaning
- The tenant is supposed to leave the house in the same state of cleanliness as it was at the beginning for the tenancy
- Cleanliness is different from wear and tear. Some items will naturally wear and tear during the tenancy, for example, the paint on the floor. The tenant is not supposed to take care of the paint but should leave the floor clean.
- End of tenancy cleaning is an intensive job requiring cleaning from the ceiling to the floor.
Common areas of dispute
- Shower/bath -Soap scum and water stains on the wall that remains behind are disputed as is limescale on the shower faucets.
- Fridge/freezer – The fridge/freezer should be emptied and defrosted. It should then be cleared of any mould/mildew with an antiseptic. Disputes will arise when mould starts growing and there are smells even after cleaning if the fridge was not properly disinfected.
- Windows – Disputes will usually arise when windows accumulate dust. This can happen if the house is in a dusty place and there is a time gap before the inspection is done.
- Floor – A stained and discoloured floor can raise a dispute on whether this is natural wear and tear or improper cleaning. This is more so with light coloured tiles which discolour gradually from use.
Moving in report
The dispute will usually be settled on the strength of the moving in report. This is the inventory that shows the state of the house as it was at the beginning of the tenancy. The tenant is supposed to go through this report and report any missing items in 7 days, and any issues on cleanliness in 48 hours. The adjudicator will usually look at whether the tenant made these objections.
Using end of tenancy cleaners
In the absence of support by a moving-in report, the best protection from dispute for a tenant would be to use end of tenancy clean London services. This ensures a thorough job that is indisputable