Clueless when moving in, now worried about moving out

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  • Clueless when moving in, now worried about moving out

    Hi All,

    I moved into a property almost 12 months ago and am due to move out this weekend. When I moved it it was my first rental away from home and I didn't ask the right questions or get enough in writing, and I'm now worried this will have an impact on moving out.

    On the day I moved in a check in + inventory was completed with me. The property was left in terrible condition by the last tenants and hadn't been cleaned or made suitable for living, which is reflected in the inventory + check in as photos were taken by the agent and reflect this.

    The agents sent cleaners round within a few days of me moving in, who did a good job but told the agents they were there for almost twice as long as they were. A new inventory + check in wasn't done and no one from the letting agent came round to check on the new state of the property.

    My tenancy agreement states I have to leave the property in 'the sane state of cleanliness, condition and decoration as it was at the commencement of the Tenancy'. Obviously now the tenancy is coming to an end I've started the task of cleaning and emptying the property but my question is: will I be charged for professional levels of cleaning or am I safe to clean well but not professionally?

    and following from this, if the letting agent try to take my deposit for cleaning fees, do I have grounds to appeal against it based on the check in and inventory report provided on commencement of tenancy despite the additional cleaning provided?

    Many thanks in advance for any replies!

  • jpkeates
    replied
    If they're asking you to pay specifically for cleaning costs, they a) should have incurred those costs and b)those costs must have been needed because of something you did or failed to do and you were entirely responsible for that action or lack of action.

    So (for example) leaving the kitchen roll near the boiler (you sloven, you) is something that you did, shouldn't have done and all the cost associated with removing it is probably due to you.

    Cleaning the floor of (say) the kitchen is not the same, as a) it probably needed doing to let the property anyway, b)some element of the need to clean would arise under fair wear and tear and c) if the floor was in the same condition as when you moved in, the agreement says you are meant / allowed to leave it in that condition. There's no loss ascribable to you to compensate the landlord for.

    If you accept one or two hours of general cleaning, you are accepting you didn't leave the place in the same condition as when you left (and if the cleaning cost £75.00 an hour the charge would be justifiable).
    Which is expensive for a cleaner, but the rates in the agreement are clearly minimums (and it's a daft place to list them, which is another issue entirely).

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  • thedevotchka
    replied
    Hi, many thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I think we've been quite luck with the agreement, all mentions to cleaning reference 'the same state as at the start of the tenancy' which from the check in inventory was poor.

    All mentions of cleaning are:
    The cost of repairing, decorating or cleaning the Property or the Contents so they are to the same standard as at the commencement of the Tenancy (reasonable wear and tear excepted).
    1.28 To keep the interior of the Property and the Contents in the same condition, cleanliness, repair and
    decoration, as at the start of the Tenancy with allowance for fair wear and tear.
    1.45.2 Give up the Property and the Contents in the same state of cleanliness, condition and
    decoration as it was at the commencement of the Tenancy (reasonable wear and tear
    excepted) and pay for the repair or replacement of those items damaged or lost during
    the Tenancy which were the Tenant's responsibility in this Agreement.

    The agreement lists cleaning costs as:
    Cleaning
    General cleaning of any areas of the property is charged at a minimum £25 per hour
    Cleaning of carpets -£65 per room
    Cleaning of furniture - minimum £50
    - We accept 1 or 2 hours of general cleaning but as the discrepancies and check out report make no mention of carpets or furniture needing to be cleaned (there are no carpets in the flat and all the furniture is old and marked already) but feel £150 for 6 hours is excessive for cobwebs and maybe sweeping the floor again.

    I understand that they don't have to provide receipts for cleaning but we would at least like proof that professional cleaners have been hired- fortunately we're in contact with the new tenants so they may be able to help us on that one.

    Again, thanks for your reply, it's much appreciated.

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    The landlord is able to claim compensation for any loss arising during the tenancy excluding fair wear and tear.

    That loss can be (basically) twofold - actual damage that causes something to be worth less than it should have been worth (a broken chair or stained carpet) or the cost of putting something right that otherwise wouldn't have needed doing (like cleaning).
    The two are easy to mix up - because if you've damaged something, there might be a cost to repair it, which sounds like the second kind of claim, but is, in fact, the first kind.

    For the first kind of claim, the loss is implicit in the item, and there's no need to actually incur any cost to make a claim (if there's a broken chair, the chair has lost value and the landlord can claim for the lost value whether or not they mend or replace the chair).
    For the second kind of claim, there has to be an actual cost to recover (even if it's only partial) - you can't claim for cleaning that didn't happen (you'd have to try and claim for a loss in value instead).

    I think you can probably dispute the costs (well, you obviously can dispute what you like, but I think you're probably right!).
    If the condition on check out is the same (or better) as when you moved in, there is no loss in value and no need to clean.
    Specifically, you might point out that you aren't responsible for spider activity since you moved out.
    You should probably check your tenancy agreement to see if there's anything in it about specific cleaning - there often is.

    The curtains can't have incurred any cost, and you can't be penalised for leaving them there otherwise.

    I don't see how removal of a kitchen roll from a boiler pipe would incur any cost or cause a reduction in value of the property.
    They'll be charging you for leaving pizza menus on the doormat next.

    You can ask for a breakdown or receipts - but they don't have to provide them (and, likewise, in their absence, you don't have to agree to the deductions).

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  • thedevotchka
    replied
    Me again!
    The LA has come back with a list of discrepancies and a proposed charge of £150 for cleaning and removal of items left in the property by us, the tenants.
    On the discrepancy report are
    'further cleaning needed- cobwebs in bathroom',
    'kitchen roll left by boiler pipes' (which was left by the engineer who came to fix the boiler and who told us to leave them there until he returned)
    'curtains present in front room'. Specific costs of these discrepancies not listed and we've checked with the new tenants, the curtains we left up are still there and were included on the new tenants check in inventory as property of the landlord.
    On the shared driveway 'household waste and animal feces present'- SHARED driveway, we have photographs from the day we moved out that show we cleared this, but we can't control the behavior of local animals or other tenants.

    So my questions are:
    -Can we dispute the £150 for cleaning on the grounds that check in and check out inventories indicate the property is in the same/slightly better condition on check out?
    -Are removal charges for the curtain unreasonable as the items haven't been removed?
    -Are we within our right to request a breakdown of the total amount deducted/ ask for receipts to back up their cleaning bill?

    Many thanks in advance!

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  • mind the gap
    replied
    If the agent has a receipt from a cleaning company only a few days after commencement of tenancy (and possibly a record of communications with T that cleaning was to be done), would that not carry any weight with a deposit dispute adjudicator?

    I do not think, given that the agent did remedy the situation to some extent, that the T can risk leaving the flat as squalid as it was on Day One, even if the contract specifies that.

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  • section21
    replied
    Originally posted by StuartH View Post
    That sounds as though it will be an easy standard to satisfy on departure. What a stupid LL.
    Agreed. You'll be fine.

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  • jpkeates
    replied
    Sounds like a cock up at the start that someone took a sensible approach to, to me.

    The commencement of the tenancy is when you moved in, and the check in condition report will show the proper condition.
    And, as long as it's the same or better, which I imagine it will be, you should be fine.

    There's no such thing as an agreed standard of "professional cleaining" - in theory it means cleaning you've paid for, or cleaning done by someone who does it for a living, neither of which says anything about the quality of the work.

    Any amount can only be taken from your deposit if you agree to it, and the company protecting it will have a dispute resolution service.

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  • StuartH
    replied
    That sounds as though it will be an easy standard to satisfy on departure. What a stupid LL.

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  • thedevotchka
    replied
    The tenancy agreement states 'Give up the property and the contents in the same state of cleanliness, condition and decoration as it was at the commencement of the Tenancy'. It doesn't state anything about professional cleaning. In the inventory most items are listed as 'dirty', 'dusty' or 'poor condition'.

    Thanks

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  • section21
    replied
    Does your tenancy agreement make any reference to professional cleaning?

    Does the inventory make any reference to the standard of cleanliness?

    Leave a comment:

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