So, what is ‘reasonable’? This term is hard to define but can be seen as what a reasonable person would agree as being generally clean. We find the members who oversee tribunal hearings have differing opinions when presented with a cleaning dispute and also differing moods, so there can be varying degrees of what ‘reasonable’ can be when trying to win a cleaning claim against a tenant.
It is important to understand that there is sometimes a gap where money needs to be spent to bring a property back to a right standard. For example, if we are presented a ‘sterile clean’ property at the start of the first tenancy, and each tenancy has tenants leaving it ‘reasonably clean’, despite our best efforts sometimes we need to spend the landlord’s money to get a property back to very high cleaning standard again, closing the gap between very clean and reasonably clean. We can push with a tenant the best we can however in some cases this isn’t possible.
We believe this is simply part of having to put money back into the property just like with repairs and maintenance and to ensure the property is kept in the highest standard possible to attract and retain the right tenant!
What are the common things tenants usually forget about?
Most tenants do a fabulous job preparing their homes for routine inspections; however, things can be missed. A few areas that seemed to be missed quite often include:
- Dust build-up on light fittings, skirting boards and exhaust fans.
- Cobwebs (particularly to external areas).
- Walls, shower screens and ovens should be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent a much bigger job at the end of the tenancy.
Carpet cleaning is sometimes required prior to the end of a tenancy especially if accidental spills have occurred. If the carpet is cleaned straight away rather than leaving it until the end of the tenancy, there is a far greater chance of not ending up with a bond deduction for damage at the end of the tenancy.