Cleaning Issues Are Ongoing Problem At Check Out.

When carrying out inventories, check in’s and check out’s we notice there is a general overall lack of respect for property by tenants with a change in tenant’s hygiene standards.

Many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition as check in at check out and we have seen many properties left in a filthy state. The main problems are dirty ovens and fridges; dust build up behind furniture and bathrooms not properly cleaned; all tell tale signs that the tenants have attempted to clean the property themselves rather than instructing a professional cleaning company where landlord guarantees should be obtained.

Tenants are often shocked to realise that professional cleaning for check out’s can cost anything from £10 – £20 per hour depending on the area and type of work required. This all causes issues at check in with new tenants complaining (and quite fairly too) that properties are not clean enough; often causing problems with every new tenancy for that property if not rectified with proper contract clauses and water inventories with a check in and check out report. Some tenant’s claim that cleaning issues are just normal wear & tear and because London is a hard water area lime-scale build up is inevitable; but this is not the case if it’s cleaned regularly enough throughout the tenancy.

The simple answer is that if an area or item was clean at check in it should be left clean at check-out. If something can be cleaned then it should be. If any dust, residue or crumbs are present then this is clearly not clean. A property should be vacated with no sign of previous occupation in terms of cleaning issues. According to the TDS, many tenants claim that the cleanliness of the property at the start of the tenancy at check in was not clear, or that the tenancy agreement did not make clear what was expected of them so it is vital that landlords and agents have a proper inventory prepared and do thorough check in and check out reports so that they have the right proof of cleanliness condition at the start and end of any tenancy. When tenants hand notice to end their tenancy they should be made aware of the areas requiring cleaning for the check out and the potential cost involved. It is important to remember that the tenant is only obliged to return the property in the same state of cleanliness as at the start of the tenancy, after allowing for fair wear and tear.

All new rental properties must start with a professional clean just before the first set of tenants move in with the cleaning company producing a landlord guarantee; if there is then any dirt or further cleaning required from the check in report then the cleaning company are obliged to return to the property and carry out the necessary cleaning free of charge. An AST will most likely state that a property is to be cleaned to a professional standard at check out but according to adjudicators they favour wording differently to (or similar to) ‘cleaned to the same standard as at check in’. This is because it is a general legal principle that when claiming for a breach of contract, the landlord is entitled to be put in the position they ought to have been in at the end of the tenancy as if the breach of contract had not occurred – i.e. the property is in the same state of cleanliness as it started out. Where it isn’t, the adjudicator will look to make an award for the cost of bringing the property back up to that standard. This will not therefore be for the cost of a full professional clean at tenancy end, if the property was not also shown to be professionally clean at the start of the tenancy.

So, if a property is professionally cleaned from the outset and this is properly documented on the check in report and any dirt or cleaning issues are found from the check out report then giving sufficient grounds and evidence to deduct further cleaning costs from a vacating tenant’s deposit (unless of course a cleaning company with a landlord guarantee has been used and can be called back) thus ensuring the property is professionally cleaned for the new incoming tenant.


Here are some of the most common cleaning problems Assist Inventories see at check-out:

  • Ovens – cause the most problems. If it was listed as completely clean at check in, it must be left in the same condition. Burn marks to any part of the appliance means it is not clean. Tenants are amazed that professional oven cleaning costs between £50 – £80.
  • Stained and marked carpets – this is a very common problem with some tenants trying to hide stains with rugs and furniture. Tenants are also known to cut out the stain and fill the hole with carpet they have cut from a hidden part of the property eg under the bed. Carpets and upholstery are rarely professionally cleaned.
  • Heavy lime scale to kitchen and bathroom fittings – the response of tenants is often ‘it’s not my fault; this is a hard water area’.
  • Grease deposits throughout the kitchen, surfaces and cupboards may look clean but will feel sticky to touch.
  • Thick dust & cobwebs, particularly around furniture and on the ceilings/around light fittings.


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