Deducting Cleaning Costs from Deposit

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    Deducting Cleaning Costs from Deposit

    I use a Letting Agent. Recently the tenants vacated, prior to the tenants leaving when the letting agent did an inspection they advised the tenants that the property would need cleaning before they vacated. The tenants have now left, the place does need a good clean, the Letting Agents have said that if their "Cleaning Team" cleans it they would charge £90.
    An email from the Letting Agents says that they want to write to the outgoing tenant advising "we are looking at withholding the £90 pounds for cleaning"
    They are making it sound as if the tenant has a choice ?
    Whats the point of taking a deposit if the tenant has a choice of whether there is a deduction ?

    #2
    \Of course the tenant has a choice.
    The tenant may say the property was dirty when he/she moved in. Was an inventory carried out before move in documenting the state of the premises? The tenant could specify his own cleaner or do it himself/herself or could refute the claim entirely and make the case go to arbitration.



    Freedom at the point of zero............

    Comment


      #3
      Tenant has to be notified of ANY deductions and if they don’t agree it can go to arbitration where both tenant and agency / landlord puts forward check in and check out evidence ( assuming the deposit was protected?) . The deposit is the tenants money and before anything can be taken it must be fair and justified .

      Comment


        #4
        The deposit is the tenant's money, so they have to agree to any deductions.
        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


          #5
          The idea that there is some rule that a tenant is not required to leave a property in any better condition than he took it is common but misconceived. The starting point is that if the agreement says how the tenant must leave the property then that is how he must leave it. In the case of repairs and general condition the requirement may be curtailed by statutory and common law rules and the tenant cannot be required to give back to the landlord something significantly different from what he took. However, a requirement to leave a property (reasonably) clean must be complied with whatever the state of cleanliness at the start of the tenancy.

          The tenant does not have any choice in what is deducted from the deposit in the sense that he has some sort of veto. That would obviously make a deposit useless as security. He can of course object to any deduction. What the agent is doing here is the sensible thing of informing the tenant of a proposed deduction and hoping to get agreement.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Interlaken View Post
            \Of course the tenant has a choice.
            The tenant could specify his own cleaner or do it himself/herself ... .
            Those choices are not available to T once the tenancy is over (unless L expressly agrees).
            Assume I know nothing.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
              The idea that there is some rule that a tenant is not required to leave a property in any better condition than he took it is common but misconceived. The starting point is that if the agreement says how the tenant must leave the property then that is how he must leave it.
              Well that's a surprise to me.
              Assume I know nothing.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Hooper View Post
                Well that's a surprise to me.
                There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and in some cases a significant number of people come to believe it. The bank.charges affair was a classic case. Another was the belief that landlord's were obliged to mitigate their loss when a tenant abandons property and owes rent.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post

                  There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and in some cases a significant number of people come to believe it. The bank.charges affair was a classic case. Another was the belief that landlord's were obliged to mitigate their loss when a tenant abandons property and owes rent.
                  To be honest I picked that rule up on this forum - I've heard it over and over. I'm probably guilty of having repeated it myself! If an error gets repeated enough in a small community it becomes fact!
                  Assume I know nothing.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Lawcruncher,

                    Why does a tenant need to leave the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness if the property wasn't in a reasonable state of cleanliness at the start of the tenancy? Where does the requirement come from? The deposit protection schemes don't appear to take that approach and would mean the landlord is entitled to betterment.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by DoricPixie View Post
                      Why does a tenant need to leave the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness if the property wasn't in a reasonable state of cleanliness at the start of the tenancy? Where does the requirement come from?
                      The requirement comes from the tenancy terms. There are various reasons why a contract term may be void or unenforceable. They include: illegal; impossible; contrary to public policy; statute forbids them to be imposed; unfair. A requirement to keep a dwelling clean and leave it it clean is none of those.

                      Originally posted by DoricPixie View Post
                      The deposit protection schemes don't appear to take that approach and would mean the landlord is entitled to betterment.
                      Cleaning a property is not betterment. It does not add to its value.



                      Comment


                        #12
                        Lawcruncher,

                        The tenancy terms in the tenancy agreement? Not every AST is the same so is that not a bit of a sweeping statement to say that it is always a requirement? Which clause in the model AST provide by the government makes it a requirement for a tenant to leave the property in a reasonable state of cleanliness regardless of what manky state the property might have been in when the tenant got the keys? I'm genuinely curious.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The government's model agreement doesn't contain such a provision.

                          "...the Tenant must return the Property and any items listed on the inventory to the Landlord in the same condition and state of cleanliness as they were at the start of the Tenancy."

                          I suspect that a great many tenancy agreements are now out of date because requiring the tenant to pay for a professional clean was quite common.
                          The tenant fees act makes those clauses void, so I'd have thought that fewer tenancy agreements than before have any useful provision for the end of tenancy condition.
                          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


                            #14
                            I wasn't sure if I was missing something in the model agreement that gave the requirement to leave the property reasonably clean regardless of the condition at the start of the tenancy - seems I wasn't.

                            I seem to recall the "professional" cleaning fee being an unfair clause although the deposit protection schemes can take it into account.

                            https://www.tenancydepositscheme.com...ract_terms.pdf

                            Comment


                              #15
                              That document is out of date and, in a lot of places, possibly as a consequence, now wrong or misleading.

                              The concept of individually negotiated clauses is now deprecated in consumer law.
                              The OFT no longer exists and it's successor, the CMA, has withdrawn its advice about unfair terms in tenancy agreements as the law has moved on.
                              The consumer regulations quoted are out of date.

                              And it is not good practice for a document like that not to be dated.
                              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

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