The Dispute Service tenancy deposit scheme (or TDS – the scheme under which a tenant’s deposit is held) says:
‘We look for evidence that the property was less clean at the end of the tenancy than the start’.
This is the reason why we take pictures at the start and the end of each tenancy to act as evidence of the condition at the Check In and the Check Out stages. If you or the tenant raises a dispute about cleaning in relation to the return of deposit, the TDS will look at the photo evidence, along with the written inventory of items and their condition.
At Julie Twist Properties, we have set Check In and Check Out forms that we use to ensure that every property is treated in the same way when it comes to cleanliness. When your tenants move out, they will be provided with a checklist, informing them of the items that we expect to be clean on exit – including things they might forget, like spaces under beds and outside areas.
It’s important to remember that tenants won’t be charged for things that are considered ‘fair wear and tear’. So if the walls are discoloured, for example, because the decorating has not been done in years, then you cannot expect the tenants to pay for cleaning or repainting. This is based on the fact that the TDS would not award money to the landlord in such a circumstance.
However, you can expect your tenants to foot the bill to bring the property back up to the standard of cleanliness that was present at the beginning of the tenancy. We expect properties to be cleaned to a professional standard – if the cleaning is not up to scratch, then money will be taken from the tenant’s deposit to rectify the situation. Tenants are advised that their definition of ‘clean’ may differ from ours and that they should expect that some areas that need a professional touch – in particular, tough spots such as carpets, ovens and grouting. We will ensure that the property is spotless, ready for the next tenant!