The Tenant Deposit Scheme has found that cleaning continues to take the lionâ€™s share of deposit disputes, with a 50% rise seen over the last five years.
According to the report, cleaning has consistently been the commonest dispute in cases brought to the TDS and arises in around half of the cases they deal with (58%).
In 2015, the proportion of disputes involving cleaning claims climbed again and is now at its highest level since the start of the scheme.
The second most common cause of disputes is damage to property (52%), followed by redecoration (32%), gardening (17%) and rent arrears (10%).
According to Imfuna Let, landlords and agents are increasingly faced with dirty properties at the check-out stage.
Jax Kneppers, Founder and CEO of Imfuna Let comments: “Many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition at check-out and are often very surprised when they are told that professional cleaning is required.
Some tenants claim that cleaning is just normal ‘wear & tear’. If an area or item was clean at check in, it should be left clean at check-out. The most common cleaning issues centre around stained and marked carpets; ovens – which cause the most problems; 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; and dirty windows that have obviously not been cleaned during the whole tenancy.
It is so important that landlords and agents do a thorough check-in and check-out, so they have the right proof of condition at the start and end of a new tenancy agreement. If agents and landlords wish to make deductions for cleaning costs, they need to be careful to record the cleanliness of the property in sufficient detail, at the start and end of the tenancy.
At the check-out stage, the tenant should be made aware of the areas requiring cleaning and the potential costs involved. Landlords and agents need to ensure any charges they claim, are a fair reflection of the property’s condition at the start of the tenancy.
We know that landlords and agents using Imfuna Let have seen a 60% drop in cleaning disputes. We work with many landlords and agents and the majority have seen a vast improvement in the condition of their properties handed back at the end of the tenancy. This has in turn driven down the post-tenancy cleaning bills and reduced the number of disputes over cleaning.”
Howard Lester, Director of Balgores Property Group comments: “The checkout is such an important part of the process, but is totally dependent on the quality and accuracy of the Inventory carried out at the start – not all inventories are equal!
A detailed inventory and checkout with both words and pictures provides ultimate proof of condition, including cleanliness. Additionally, the fact that we visit tenants two weeks prior to the checkout and advise of likely deductions, has meant that we have reduced our disputes over cleanliness by over 85%.”