End of tenancy cleaning in shared house

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    End of tenancy cleaning in shared house

    2nd attempt posting this - first is sitting in unapproved queue... not sure why.

    Hello. My current tenants are leaving.
    The house was originally let furnished to 4 sharers 7 years ago on a joint contract. The house was professionally cleaned before move in and inventory was done. Each year at end of fixed term, 1 or 2 of the sharers left and the remaining sharers found replacements and signed up for another 12 mths fixed term each time. Newbies would send me any discrepancies they found when reviewing the original inventory, but a new inventory was not signed until this final fixed term started 12 months ago (July 2019). So at start of this new 12mth fixed term, there were then 2 new sharers, 1 sharer who had been there for 4 years and another who had been there for 3 years. They added comments to the inventory stating that the sofa was grubby and smelly - of course it would be after 6 years of use without cleaning!!
    We all signed the inventory, but I, knowing that the house and sofa set had not been deep cleaned for 6 years, and that two of the sharers had enjoyed its use for many years, added a clause to the contract that the house and sofa set should be professionally cleaned each rental period. This was before I went on my landlord course, and I realise that I should not have put "professionally". I also meant to put "fixed term" instead of "rental period" as that would mean monthly cleaning which was not what I meant. I just wanted an annual clean.
    I have since said to the tenants that they are not required to use any professional service to clean house or sofas, they can do it themselves.
    Tenants are naturally quoting the inventory (grubby and smelly sofa set when contract started) and long-term sharers state it was always like that from the start, so shouldn't have to celan it. I am naturally quoting the contract they signed.
    1. Do I have a case for them cleaning the sofa set given the clause in the contract i.e witholding some deposit for cleaning?
    2. More importantly, how do I avoid this in future? If some sharers leave and replacements are found should I do a formal checkout of whole house and have them reinstate to original inventory before newbies move in?
    3. If I get the sofas professionally cleaned myself, and I am not allowed to ask tenants to use professional cleaners, how can I ensure that the sofa cleanliness is maintained at each turnover in tenant?

    Many thanks for any advice.
    assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

    #2
    2. More importantly, how do I avoid this in future? If some sharers leave and replacements are found should I do a formal checkout of whole house and have them reinstate to original inventory before newbies move in?
    Yes - it's a bit disappointing that your landlord course didn't make this clear.

    Lots of agents work the way that you do, but it's basically lazyness - and it means you have people living in the property that you haven't vetted and causes the issues you are now encountering when the whole arrangement ends.

    After 7 years, I think the sofa is probably worthless in terms of depreciation, so I don't think you could charge much for any depreciation in value.

    You can't realistically compel the tenants to keep the place cleaned to any particular standard during their tenancy, just require that it's done when the end a tenancy.
    You can include it in the agreement, but there's no realistic way to enforce such a term.

    You could provide a cleaning service as part of what is provided for the rent.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      The starting point is that if you have a clause in your TA requiring them to clean the sofa at the end of the tenancy then they are contractly obliged to do so regardless of its condition at the start of the tenancy. However, given what you've said I think you would be very hard pressed to persuade a deposit scheme or a court that you deserved compensation if they failed to do so. Its also clear that your clause about professional cleaning is no longer valid so in its absence they are presumably at liberty to declare the term satisfied following a quick zhush with a feather duster.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
        ...
        Lots of agents work the way that you do, but it's basically lazyness - and it means you have people living in the property that you haven't vetted and causes the issues you are now encountering when the whole arrangement ends.
        Sorry, I should have clarified that although the tenants found the newbies at their own request, none of them were accepted without passing referencing. I will not insist on sofa cleaning and will do this myself.

        But it still doesn't answer my question of what to do about inventory when some sharers in joint tenancy want to stay and others want to leave! Full checkout at each change in sharer? New (vetted) sharer to accept original inventory as a condition of joing existing tenants?
        assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

        Comment


          #5
          You should do a complete check out (which obviously doubles as a check in for the new tenants).
          Sort out deposits and so on.

          There are lots of requirements linked to a new tenancy, and there's an increasing likelihood (I think) that courts are going to treat these assignments as the new tenancies that they really are.
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
            there's an increasing likelihood (I think) that courts are going to treat these assignments as the new tenancies that they really are.
            Shoobydoo says in original post that she/he issued new fixed term agreements, not "tenant swaps".

            Comment


              #7
              It would be very difficult to do a checkout properly as the remaining tenants would have their stuff in the property. And not really feasible to have them all move out and then back in a few days later so that I can see beyond their stuff. A conundrum indeed!
              assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

              Comment


                #8
                Isn't this a HMO? In which case the landlord is responsible for the cleaning of the communal areas.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Berlingogirl View Post
                  Isn't this a HMO? In which case the landlord is responsible for the cleaning of the communal areas.
                  Thats only really with room only tenancies. With joint tenancies they are renting the whole property

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Realistically you have to hope they do a half decent job and accept that after 6 years deep cleaning & replacement of items is to be expected. I am sure you have had plenty of income over this time.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      This thread is six months old, created by someone who hasn't been here for months, brought back to life by a Californian cleaning company trying to drum up business by spamming the forum.
                      When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                      Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jpucng62 View Post
                        Realistically you have to hope they do a half decent job and accept that after 6 years deep cleaning & replacement of items is to be expected. I am sure you have had plenty of income over this time.
                        That I may have had "plenty of income over this time" is irrelevent. If I had rented to completely new tenants every year I would have had pretty much the same income, AND 6 deep cleans, done by each departing tenant. So it is not unreasonable to expect a deep clean at the end of a longer occupancy. Incidentally, the deposits adjudicator concurred and I was awarded £250 from the deposit.
                        assume everything I write is preceded by IMHO...

                        Comment

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