The simple answer is, no - landlords can't legally charge you to have the property professionally cleaned.
However, there's much more to the issue than this!
If you are planning to move out of your rented property soon and need advice on whether to use professional cleaning services, this guide will tell you all you need to know.
The tenant fees act was introduced to prevent landlords from enforcing particular charges, mostly relating to administration. It also capped tenancy deposits at 5 weeks (6 weeks for properties with an annual rental of more than £50,000) and set holding deposits at a maximum of one week.
In addition, this act scrapped the legal right to charge tenants cleaning costs when the tenancy ended. As of 1 June 2020, letting agents and landlords can't legally charge a tenant for professional cleaning services at the end of their contract.
Previous to this, many tenancy agreements included a check-out fee for cleaning costs that also covered the use of an independent inventory clerk. This is no longer the case.
This law applies to student accommodation as well as an assured shorthold tenancy agreement. Note: this only applies to properties in England.
However, a tenancy agreement now includes a clause whereby you are expected to leave the property in the same condition as when your tenancy began. And that means it has to be spotlessly clean, in most cases. If the tenant fails to do this, the landlord can arrange for a professional cleaning service to perform a deep clean and withhold the fee from the tenant's deposit.
Your tenancy agreement is an extremely important document, and it pays to read it carefully! If you are unsure about anything, ask your landlord or letting agent about it before you sign the agreement. And even after you sign, keep it in a safe place and refer to it once in a while as a reminder of what is expected of you.
Your tenancy agreement includes a reference to caring for the property and the state it should be left in when you leave, and it's best to familiarise yourself with these terms.
Prior to moving into a rental property, it's wise to perform an inspection together with your letting agent or landlord. Make a checklist of everything - it's likely that you'll be given an inventory, and if not, you should ask for one. Note down any scuffs, scratches or damage, no matter how small or insignificant it seems!
Take photographs as evidence, too. That way, you can't be held responsible for these issues at the end of your tenancy. If a landlord wishes you to leave the property in the same condition, then they must ensure that it is perfect when you arrive.
If possible, you might want to arrange to be present when the landlord performs the final inspection. This allows you to discuss any issues there and then, and gives you the opportunity to discuss matters amicably.
Any decent and trustworthy letting agent or landlord will allow for fair wear and tear on the property - after all, you have got to live there! Even so, it's up to you to be honest and open about damage or heavy staining.
All reputable end-of-tenancy cleaning services include the following tasks:
Some cleaning companies include an exterior service. They will clean the outside of the windows*, clear and clean blocked gutters, clean patios or decking, and tidy up the garden. Always be sure to double-check exactly what is included when you book your cleaning session.
*Many cleaning companies won't clean the outside of windows on upper levels, as they won't have access to safety equipment for working at height. Always check this with the company!
It depends on the size of the property, your location* and the company you choose. It also depends on how much work will be required to get the property clean! Some professional cleaning services charge by the room, and others by the hour.
*As always, prices in London (and the southeast in general) tend to be higher
The average end-of-tenancy cleaning service will cost around £300 for a two-bedroom with one bathroom, and this includes all of the aspects listed above. A small studio flat typically costs around £95 and this goes up to around £400 for large properties with four or five bedrooms.
Considering the amount of work that goes into an end-of-tenancy cleaning job, this is pretty reasonable.
Under the terms of the contract, the tenant is expected to leave the property in the same state as when they moved in. But, by law, they don't have to use a professional cleaning company.
Even so, if you undertake the end-of-tenancy cleaning by yourself, there's a good chance that you won't meet the landlord's expectations - see below for more details.
So, hiring professional cleaners makes sense, and it's essential that you pick a reputable company, like the Cleanup Team. While there are excellent independent cleaners out there, they usually tend to perform general domestic cleaning.
A proper end-of-tenancy cleaning service will deep clean the place to a professional standard.
No, the letting agent or landlord can't force you to use any particular company, but they can recommend one or two.
In the end, the choice is yours. What's more, if you have proof that an end-of-tenancy clean was undertaken (ie. receipts and invoices) then your landlord or letting agent can't deduct money from your tenancy deposit if they are unhappy with the result. The company will be expected to return and complete the job properly, usually for free. And even if there is a charge, you will be exempt as you have kept to your agreement by arranging for the end of tenancy cleaning in the first place.
Either way, it's still essential that you choose a reputable end-of-tenancy cleaning company, like the Cleanup Team. We will always ensure that the work is performed to a professional standard that your landlord will be satisfied with.
You can, but you must be confident of achieving the same standard as a professional cleaning service.
It is the tenant's responsibility to ensure that the property is thoroughly cleaned and left in the same condition as when they first moved in. Should the landlord decide that you haven't met these criteria they will arrange for a professional company to do the job and deduct cleaning costs from your security deposit.
You'll not only have wasted time and effort, but possibly paid out for cleaning supplies and even hiring equipment, all for nothing. And then you'll lose part of your deposit on top of this!
Unless you are absolutely positive that you can clean to the same standards as a professional cleaning service, it's not wise to try.
We now know that your letting agent or landlord cannot charge you for end-of-tenancy cleaning.
However, it is your responsibility to ensure that the property is cleaned thoroughly and to the same standard as when you arrived. If you want to receive your full deposit, it is sensible to consider using professional cleaning services to perform end-of-tenancy cleaning.
Also, if you have enjoyed a positive relationship with your landlord throughout your tenancy, you'll have no problem getting a good reference when you move to another rental property. It would be a shame to spoil this by leaving the place in an unsatisfactory state.
And if your relationship has been far from perfect, you'll only add to the problem by failing to meet the expected standards. As well as deposit deductions, you may well be stuck for a reference!
Disputes over the issue of cleaning account for the majority of cases handled by the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme). The TDS was established in 2007 as a deposit protection service to cover rental properties rented under an assured shorthold tenancy. If there are disputes regarding the tenant's deposit, the deposit protection scheme provides independent adjudication to try and resolve the issue.
Even so, it's best to try to avoid these kinds of disputes if possible! If you need further help or support due to a dispute on legal or technical matters, you can take your case to the Citizens Advice Bureau.
All in all, a professional clean is the best way forward for everyone, as it helps to keep everyone happy.
We understand that you want to keep costs as low as possible and that hiring a company to perform a professional clean will incur expenses that you could do without.
However, there are several ways to reduce the overall costs, get the property looking fantastic and avoid the cleaning fee being deducted from your deposit.
Keep on top of your cleaning regime throughout the tenancy. If you allow dirt to build up it is more difficult to shift and will take longer to remove during a professional clean. Use a degreaser on cooker hoods and splashback to cut down the amount of grease that accumulates.
Invest in a decent vacuum cleaner and make sure you hoover thoroughly on a regular basis.
Deal with mould and limescale as soon as possible, as it becomes hard to fix after a while, and black mould stains can be stubborn!
If you have pets, laminate floors are better for when 'accidents' occur. Laminate flooring is popular anyway, but if your landlord hasn't had these fitted, suggest it to them.
However, if you have fitted carpets, always deal with any accidents immediately and thoroughly. This applies to food or wine stains! Be honest with the landlord and maybe offer to hire a carpet cleaning machine.
Make sure your hoover can deal with pet hair and perhaps set a rule that dogs and cats aren't allowed on sofas and armchairs.
If there are smaller areas that don't need much cleaning, take them off of the list of rooms to be included in the professional clean. This is particularly helpful if you are being charged by the room, but also cuts down the amount of time the cleaners will spend on the premises, so the labour costs will be lower.
Secure at least four quotes, and compare the services provided against the total cleaning bill. Never opt for the cheapest without checking exactly what you are getting for your money.
Hopefully, you now have a good understanding of this issue and realise that a professional clean is the sensible way forward.
The Cleanup Team specialise in end-of-tenancy cleaning and will be happy to handle all of the cleaning involved. Your landlord will be happy with the results, and you will receive your full deposit without having to worry about a cleaning charge.
So, it's a win-win for everybody!
Contact us to discuss any aspects of our cleaning services and to book your end-of-tenancy clean today.