It has, for a long time, been standard practice for many agents to add a clause to the tenancy that says that the property, including carpets, has been professionally cleaned before the start of the tenancy and that the Tenant agrees to arrange for a similar professional clean at the end of the tenancy.

The idea behind this is that once the Landlord has forked out for the original clean then the property would have another professional clean at the end of each tenancy ready for the next let.  In theory the Landlord would not have to pay for another clean.

This has worked in general.  If a property has been reported as not clean at the check-out then the Tenant has usually agreed for the cost of a professional clean to be taken from the deposit.

Unfortunately we have recently had a case where the DPS Adjudicator has not upheld this clause and so I want to make you aware of the circumstances so that you can ensure that you are not giving your Landlords misleading information.  A summary is below:

The tenancy in question was a standard AST with the clause as described above included.

The Agent was seeking to retain £240.00 of the deposit in order to compensate for cleaning (the cost of a full professional clean).

The Tenant agreed to £50.00 but disputed the balance of the claim (£190).

The checkout report showed the property as being in a good clean condition with the following exceptions:

  • dirt to oven door
  • soap powder to washing machine drawer
  • grease to kitchen extractor
  • dirt and marks to sink and drainer
  • lime scale to showerheads
  • dust and cobwebs to bathroom extractors
  • dirty blind in bedroom two
  • staining to bedroom two’s carpet.

The DPS Adjudicator accepted the £50 agreed by the Tenant to be an acceptable amount towards the staining to the bedroom carpet.

They then ruled that the remainder of the cleaning required did not amount to £190 and that “the same could be reasonably rectified to their pre tenancy standard within three hours”and awarded £45.00 “based on a reasonable remuneration rate of £15.00 per hour.”

Basically the largest part of the cost of the professional clean (most of the £190) would have been for carpet cleaning and the Adjudicator ruled that the carpets did not need cleaning.

In summary

We believe that it is good practice for the Landlord to have the property professionally cleaned at the start of the first tenancy and that adding this clause to the AST highlights that the property has been cleaned and makes the Tenant more inclined to look after it and to have it professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy.

When talking to your Landlords on the subject you need to be careful to point out that, whilst this clause generally works in getting the Tenant to have the property professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy, you cannot enforce charging the Tenant the cost of a full professional clean at the end of the tenancy just because they didn’t get it professionally cleaned.  You can only charge them for the cleaning that is actually required.

For example, if the tenant has left the property a little grubby and has not had the carpets cleaned then you can claim for the general cleaning required, but you are unlikely to be able to claim the full cost of a carpet clean unless they are in a really bad state.