I've done end of tenancy clean myself – how do I charge tenant?

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    I've done end of tenancy clean myself – how do I charge tenant?

    Not satisfied with end of tenancy cleaners and prices they charge, I did the end of tenancy clean myself – with help of family member. Can I now pass on costs of labour, materials, etc, to tenant and ask for deduction from deposit? If I can, what proof of costs do I need to provide to deposit arbitrator? Do I write myself – or family member – an invoice? Thanks in advance for help.

    #2
    Do you know for sure that the tenant will dispute the proposed deductions? They may not - in which case you will not need evidence. How much do you propose to deduct per hour?

    If you do (need evidence), then a simple statement of number of hours at what hourly rate should suffice, backed up by photographs showing the state of the place when Ts vacated and the Inventory & Schedule of Condition agreed by the T at check-in (i.e. signed by T to agree property was extremely clean when they moved in. Photos?).
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks MTG.
      Yes, the tenant is disputing all deductions and (falsely) claiming he cleaned property to spotless state before leaving – though he declined to attend check-out – and yes I have photographic evidence of state of house when he moved in and when he moved out.

      A thorough clean, done to a much better standard than any so-called professional clean, took maybe 20 hours between two people, and I was thinking of charging him at a rate of £7 per hour – barely above minimum wage. I think this is fair. Will this be acceptable to an arbitrator?

      Comment


        #4
        I am sure your new tenants would welcome a clean place.

        Your tenants could argue that cleaning is unskilled and they should pay no more then the minimum wage.

        One of speakers from a Landlords association said he has a tarrif sheet, so he charges according to that. I dont know if he writes it down in the contract.

        I get my tenants to sign house rules, where I say If the flat is left in an unclean condition, then I will charge for a cleaner, plus my time to attend to give access to the property etc...

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by johnkimon View Post
          Thanks MTG.
          Yes, the tenant is disputing all deductions and (falsely) claiming he cleaned property to spotless state before leaving – though he declined to attend check-out – and yes I have photographic evidence of state of house when he moved in and when he moved out.

          A thorough clean, done to a much better standard than any so-called professional clean, took maybe 20 hours between two people, and I was thinking of charging him at a rate of £7 per hour – barely above minimum wage. I think this is fair. Will this be acceptable to an arbitrator?
          That sounds eminently fair to me. I charge £10 per hour for additional cleaning, although I've never had to defend it with the DPS. Don't forget to add the cost of cleaning materials and energy usage, too.

          I am however in the process of drawing up a Real Cleaning Guide (to be given to tenants as part of their Welcome Pack and emailed to them again as their moving out date draws near). I am fed up of being told that the place has been cleaned 'from top to bottom' and is now 'pristine', only to discover that they've actually just had a quick flick round with a damp cloth. The problem is compounded when they haven't cleaned properly all year - a wet J clothcloth is obviously not going to shift a year' dust and grease from kitchen cupboards, etc. I am aiming to make it as objective a as possible and to estimate how much it will cost them per additional cleaning task if they do not do it to the required standard (or pay someone else to), before the check-out.

          Suggestions welcome!
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for all advice and suggestions. Maybe I'm underselling myself at £7 an hour! What I would say, generally, is that to get in a professional cleaning firm would have cost twice as much and they would not have done as good or as professional a job as I've done – I don't mind cleaning – so it would have been ridiculous if it had turned out that I couldn't charge a tenant for my labour.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by johnkimon View Post
              Thanks for all advice and suggestions. Maybe I'm underselling myself at £7 an hour! What I would say, generally, is that to get in a professional cleaning firm would have cost twice as much and they would not have done as good or as professional a job as I've done – I don't mind cleaning – so it would have been ridiculous if it had turned out that I couldn't charge a tenant for my labour.
              20 hours? unless this place is a relatively large, or you have OCD, I'd of thought that would be disputeable!
              [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

              Comment


                #8
                Hi John,

                My name is Rosemary, I am new to the forum. I run my own property services company - {Link removed}
                The best approach would have been to inform your tenants of your intention to do the cleaning yourself and advised them of the likely costs with all correspondence documented in print via email or them signing as agreement. Subject to them agreeing you do the property clean and the likely costs, and subject to you having all receipts of all services used, when it comes to the deposit dispute, you are more likely to win a case with documented signed proof of agreement in the first instance. With an arbitrator, you need to show that you gave your tenants the opportunity to do the cleaning themselves and failing that, you came to a mutual agreement that you would do the cleaning and they were aware of the likely charges before you went ahead. I trust this is helpful. Regards. Rosemary
                Last edited by Moderator2; 06-07-2011, 09:30 AM. Reason: Link removed

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
                  20 hours? unless this place is a relatively large, or you have OCD, I'd of thought that would be disputeable!
                  No! Absolutely not. 20 hours for a medium sized property sounds bang on to me. We are talking squeaky clean here! Every square inch of the property and its contents gone over with the appropriate type of cleaner/restorative and a lot of elbow grease! If it is not handed back to you squeaky clean, then it does not actually make much difference whether it is filthy or just grubby. It's all to do (again) and that takes time. I am a reasonably quick cleaner but I would allow two-three hours per large room including furniture, windows and carpet. Four hours for a kitchen.

                  We have just returned from getting one of our furnished student houses ready for re-occupation and despite the fact that it did look reasonably clean when we arrived, on closer examination it wasn't. It took us at least 20 hours (including deep cleaning carpets - approx. 1 hour per room) to get it back to the same standard it was at start of tenancy. In past years with less careful tenants it has taken us longer.

                  I agree with OP about the variable standards of supposedly 'professional' cleaning companies!
                  'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
                    No! Absolutley not. 20 hours for a medium sized property sounds bang on to me. We are talking squeaky clean here! Every square inch of the property and its contents gone over with the appropriate type of cleaner/restorative and a lot of elbow grease!

                    We have just returned from getting one of our furnished student houses ready for re-occupation and despite the fact that it did look reasonably clean when we arrived, on closer examination, it wasn't. It took us at least 20 hours (including deep cleaning carpets - appropx 1 hour per room) to get it back to the same standard it was at start of tenancy. In past years with less careful tenants it has taken us longer.
                    Fair play, Maybe it's just me and my manly approach to cleaning that makes me think it only takes 20 minutes!!
                    [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by MrJohnnyB View Post
                      Fair play, Maybe it's just me and my manly approach to cleaning that makes me think it only takes 20 minutes!!
                      Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggggghhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhh

                      (That was me screaming primevally!)

                      You sound like our students. The one whose bedroom took us longest to clean had apparently 'blitzed it' on her last morning in the house whilst waiting for her taxi. 15 minutes max!

                      It was the grot under the bed which turned my stomach most....
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                      Comment


                        #12
                        In the OFT's opinion:

                        cleaning charges - a requirement to pay for cleaning at the end of the tenancy may be unfair if it is vague or unclear about the basis on which money will be demanded, or the extent of the cleaning involved. Such a term is more likely to be fair if the amount of the charge is expressly limited to reasonable compensation for a failure to take care of the property (see also our views below on excessive charges)

                        excessive cleaning charges - as a matter of normal practice in short lets, reflecting the common law, tenants are expected to return the property in as good and clean a condition as it was when they received it, with fair wear and tear excepted. We therefore commonly object to terms that could be used to make the tenant pay for the property to be cleaned to a higher standard than it was in at the start of the tenancy, or that require cleaning regardless of whether or not this is necessary for the tenant to comply with their normal obligations with regard to the state of the property


                        I suggest that an obligation to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy would be deemed unfair because in the normal course no one ever has their own homes professionally cleaned.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                          In the OFT's opinion:

                          cleaning charges - a requirement to pay for cleaning at the end of the tenancy may be unfair if it is vague or unclear about the basis on which money will be demanded, or the extent of the cleaning involved. Such a term is more likely to be fair if the amount of the charge is expressly limited to reasonable compensation for a failure to take care of the property (see also our views below on excessive charges)

                          excessive cleaning charges - as a matter of normal practice in short lets, reflecting the common law, tenants are expected to return the property in as good and clean a condition as it was when they received it, with fair wear and tear excepted. We therefore commonly object to terms that could be used to make the tenant pay for the property to be cleaned to a higher standard than it was in at the start of the tenancy, or that require cleaning regardless of whether or not this is necessary for the tenant to comply with their normal obligations with regard to the state of the property


                          I suggest that an obligation to pay for the property to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy would be deemed unfair because in the normal course no one ever has their own homes professionally cleaned.
                          I agree, but it is not unfair or unreasonable to demand that the property be returned in the same state of cleanliness as it was on Day One of the tenancy. If that was demonstrably 'squeaky clean', then one can demand squeaky cleanliness in return. It is up to the tenant how that is to be achieved.
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks a lot, Rosemary. This is very useful. I wish I'd known this before proceeding, particularly about offering the tenant the opportunity to do cleaning him/herself.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by johnkimon View Post
                              Thanks a lot, Rosemary. This is very useful. I wish I'd known this before proceeding, particularly about offering the tenant the opportunity to do cleaning him/herself.
                              I'm sorry, but I disagree about how useful that advice is. It is explicit in any tenancy agreement that the property must be returned in the same state of cleanliness as it was to begin with. If the T fails to deliver it back in that state on the last day of the tenancy it is a waste of time inviting them to make it right at that stage. If they are able to clean properly they would have done it by then and if they are not, you could invite them to do it themselves until Kingdom Come, but it would be a waste of time. Time is money for you. They have had the opportunity to DIY - why give them a second opportunity?
                              'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                              Comment

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