One of the main reasons why tenants lose some of their deposit at the end of the tenancy is because they don’t leave a property clean enough. Getting your end of tenancy cleaning right is crucial to getting all of your deposit back.
Basically, the property should be as clean when you move out as when you moved in. Limescale round taps, mould on grout, grubby fingerprints on glass doors can’t be classed as ‘wear and tear’.
If you can’t remember if the property had been professionally cleaned when you moved in, check your inventory and your tenancy agreement. The inventory should tell you whether the property was cleaned to a ‘good domestic’, ‘domestic’ or ‘professional standard’ and the tenancy agreement should state whether you’re required to leave it cleaned to a domestic or professional standard.
Planning to do the cleaning yourself? Don’t underestimate how long this will take, even to clean it to a good domestic standard. You could be chipping away at burned-on grease on the oven for hours so don’t leave your end of tenancy cleaning until the day you move out. Remember that everything must be finished by the time the landlord or the check-out clerk arrives to do the check-out report.
Don’t attempt to clean before you move your belongings out, it’s a lot easier to wait until all your stuff is gone.
Picking an end of tenancy cleaning company
If you’re expected to leave a property cleaned to a professional standard, it really is better to bring in the professionals as the money you pay them might save you losing your deposit. Several cleaning companies specialise in end of tenancy cleaning – Google ‘end of tenancy cleaning’ and you’ll get lots of options.
However, make sure you choose one with a ‘deposit guarantee’, so if they miss anything, they’re obliged to return. Before you book them in, find out when the landlord plans to carry out the check out report as some cleaning firms only offer a 24-hour guarantee, so by the time the landlord sees the report it’s too late to get the cleaners to come back.
Also, check with the landlord or agent you’re expected to clean carpet, upholstery, mattresses, curtains, blinds and the exterior of the windows. Some landlords require this, some don’t and there’s no point going to unnecessary expense. Anything you agree with your landlord should be in writing – they might forget they told you not to bother cleaning the carpets in a moment of generosity!
Finally, keep all cleaning receipts as proof, just in case you do end up in a dispute.