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2. How To Clean Your Property To An Acceptable Standard

According to My Deposits General or professional cleaning is the most common cause of a deposit dispute between a tenant and a landlord, with nearly a quarter of all dispute cases attributed to issues of cleanliness”. Subsequently, to prevent yourself from losing your deposit due to issues of cleanliness, you should agree with your landlord the condition to which your property is expected to be kept. Similarly to the aforementioned section on property damage, when you first move in it is vital that you keep an inventory checklist of the condition of the property, such as noting any existing stains on the carpets, damage to flooring or faulty appliances. You should also take photographs so that you have both written and photographic evidence of your property’s cleanliness and original condition. Have your landlord agree upon the condition of your property and sign your inventory checklist.

Moreover, you should find out from your landlord if your property was professionally cleaned at the beginning of your tenancy. If your landlord provides evidence that it was, then you will be required to have the property professionally cleaned when you move out. After the property has been professionally cleaned, you should keep a receipt or invoice as proof to present to your landlord or deposit dispute resolution service. A professional cleaning company will provide the following services:

  • Carpets vaccumed and/or steam-cleaned
  • Hard flooring scrubbed or washed
  • Bathroom areas de-scaled and mould growth removed from grouting
  • Windows cleaned inside and out
  • Walls and ceilings cleaned
  • External cleaning to the drains, paving, brass work and doors as well as any patios or front porch areas
  • Oven and kitchen appliances professionally cleaned

Once again you should take photographs before and after the professional clean to present as evidence to your landlord or the dispute resolution service. In many cases, it is often cheaper to arrange for a professional clean than to pay the sum which your landlord will deduct from your deposit for the same service.

If your property does not require a professional clean you will still be required to clean your property to an acceptable standard as agreed upon by your landlord under your tenancy agreement. You should take photographs before and after you have cleaned your property as well as keeping any receipts of replaced items which you have purchased for the property. Your landlord does not have the right to deduct decorating costs from your deposit due to normal wear and tear so you should keep a record of your inventory checklist as evidence. Listed below are the cleaning tasks which you should carry out when vacating your property in order to retain your full deposit:

  • Clean all the windows, inside and outside. Replace any cracked window panes unless they were already damaged when you moved in and were itemised on your inventory checklist
  • Empty and clean all cupboards and furnishings that will remain in the property when you move out
  • Clean all kitchen appliances. Make sure that you thoroughly clean the oven, hobs and kitchen counters of any remaining grease stains or debris
  • Empty and defrost the freezer as well as emptying and thoroughly cleaning the fridge. After you have cleaned the fridge make sure that you switch it off and leave the door open to prevent mould from accumulating
  • Clean all of the bathroom appliances, tiles, mirrors and flooring. Make sure that you thoroughly clean all of the drains and plugholes as well as removing any debris, mould or lime scale
  • Vacuum all carpets and rugs as well as scrubbing any hard flooring. Check your inventory list for any pre-existing stains which were apparent when you moved in
  • Scrub all the walls and ceilings
  • Dust all appliances and clean all furnishings
  • If your property has a garden and your landlord has not hired a gardener to keep it tidy, you will be required to tidy any debris that has accumulated. Hose down any patio areas and mow the lawn. If you have a garden gate or shed, check that they are in an acceptable condition. Unless it was previously stated in your inventory checklist that they were broken then you will be liable to pay for any repairs
  • Return all sets of keys which were given to you by your landlord when you moved in. However, you should only hand these keys over once you and your landlord have agreed upon and signed a final inventory checklist for your property

You should check your tenancy agreement for any clauses regarding the cleanliness of the property. If you can provide photographs and written evidence from a witness that you have kept you property in good condition and have upheld the inventory checklist which was signed when you moved in, then you will be entitled to retain your full deposit when you move out.