Alarming Trend: End of Tenancy Deposits Disputes Over Cleaning On the Rise!

We’ve been providing our specialised end of tenancy cleaning service in London and helping thousands of customers get back their security deposits for more than 14 years. However, we’ve noticed an alarming pattern over the last few weeks. People have been hiring professional cleaning help and still get deductions from their security deposits because of insufficient hygiene. We contacted a few letting agents we know in person because of our long experience in the field and discussed this issue with them. We hope that the things we’ve learned might help you make the best choice when hiring end of tenancy cleaners and get your money back in full.

Read also: Hassle-Free Tenant’s Moving Guide

How to Prevent Getting Deductions From Your Security Deposit

First of all, we want to stress that all sides suffer in one way or another when a tenant doesn’t get their deposit in full because of cleaning omissions. If there are some issues with the hygiene of a property, the landlord or agency has to call another cleaner because they can’t rent it out. Cleaners are also frustrated because they’ve invested a lot of time and effort and want to satisfy the clients. And, of course, you – the tenant – lose money, which is more than unpleasant – we all know changing housing is not a cheap endeavour! With that being said, you can take a few steps to ensure you won’t get any deductions from your end of tenancy deposit. Here’s what you can do regarding the situation and the other participants.  

You, the Tenant 

Many things can cause a part or even the entire deposit to be withheld, from missing furniture to permanent damage. However, disputes over the home’s cleanliness are still among the top reasons tenants do not take back the full amount of their security deposit. To make sure that the home will be cleaned to the professional standard required by the real estate agency, it is not enough to just hire end of tenancy cleaners. You, as a tenant, must provide the property in a condition suitable for professional cleaning. That means when the cleaners arrive, you’ve moved out of the rental with all your luggage. The property should have only the furniture and fittings you rented it with and nothing else so that the experts can move freely and do their job. Also, you must ensure no one enters or uses the property after the professional end of tenancy cleaning until the final inspection, including movers, handymen, and even you. This is the only way to guarantee the rental will remain cleaned up to a professional standard with no remarks from the inspectors. 

Letting Agents / Landlords

Some letting agencies do not allow cleaners to return to the property if the inventory report notes any omissions. Please check with your agents what is their policy. Suppose they don’t allow the cleaning crew to return. In that case, we at Cleaner Cleaner usually offer our clients an alternative solution. We encourage them to organise the inventory inspection at 12:00 pm if they have selected a morning cleaning slot or at 4:00 pm if they have selected an afternoon cleaning slot. This way, the inventory clerk turns up towards the end of the move out cleaning service. If they spot any omissions, our team can correct them on the spot, avoiding the unnecessary hassle and helping our clients get their deposits back.

Read also: What is Professional End of Tenancy Cleaning

Inventory Clerks 

They are a third party in the process of handover the rented property. These are inspectors from an independent company, and they don’t work for the letting agent or the landlord. And sometimes, these inspectors are pretty rigid in their reports. They list some minor issues as omissions, making it more difficult for you to get back your deposit in full. Well, you can’t be mad at them because finding the tiniest specks of dust is why they get paid. There’s no sure way to predict their behaviour. However, you can take some precautions before the end of tenancy cleaning. Ask the letting company to give you a list of things that need to be done professionally, so you can communicate the requirements with your end of tenancy cleaners. In most cases, they hand the same inventory to the inspector. That way, if there are any disputes, you have the ground to argue that you have fulfilled your obligations as a tenant.

Check also: Professional vs. domestic cleaning at the end of a tenancy

Cleaning Companies 

Make sure that you hire a truly professional company for the end of tenancy cleaning of your property! Many people opt for the lowest price of the service when hiring move-out cleaners. However, the lowest price often means the lowest quality of the job. Needless to say, when working with a questionable company, the risk of getting money deducted from your security deposit due to hygiene issues is high. And sometimes, even if they do provide a decent quality of a service, it comes with an unpleasant surprise. Some companies put up a “fixed price” for the end of tenancy cleaning, for example, 150£ for a one-bedroom apartment. That sounds like a deal, right? However, move-out cleaning isn’t really a fixed service. Every property is different. A one-bedroom flat can have a bedroom and a kitchen, and that’s that, while another may include a study, a utility room, or a big dining room. And if you book cleaners that offer a fixed price, this can go in two directions. They would either clean the property partially, or you will have to pay additional charges for every room and area they consider extra. Always choose the end of tenancy cleaners who ask about many details about the property. That’s the only way to be certain that the price you are presented with is final.

Read also: Do you want “Cheap” or “Best Value” end of tenancy cleaning?

And we might be repeating ourselves here, but also, make sure to find out if your agents have any specific requirements. Then, run them by the cleaners to avoid disappointment and deductions from your security deposit. So, when you are about to move out, take the extra step of researching the end of tenancy cleaning companies in your area. All companies out there offer a cleaning guarantee, so you should consider when doing your research to check the conditions of the said guarantee. Or in other words, a reputable company should explain in which cases they return to clean if any omissions are present. Everyone can overlook something small when cleaning the whole property top to bottom – after all, we are all human. But if we have complaints, we go back and take before and after pictures of those things or places that we missed so that they can be used as proof that the job was done. Unlike some questionable professionals, we will provide you with evidence that we have kept our word to return and clean the property up to the promised standard.

So, with all being said, we will try to put it shortly: 

  • Know the letting agency’s requirements
  • Make sure the inspection is set no more than 24 hours after the professional end of tenancy cleaning
  • Research your move-out cleaners very well

If all these conditions are met, there shouldn’t be any reason for deductions from your deposit.