Tenant tips: End of tenancy cleaning DIY KNOW-HOW and Advice

Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Cleaning Tips, Tenants' Corner

Tenant Tips - End of tenancy cleaning KNOW-HOW and AdviceAre you planning to leave your housing?
Is it time to end your lease?

If you do not end your tenancy appropriately,  it might result in your security deposit being heavily reduced due to various deductions claimed by your landlord.
With this piece scatter any doubts in what tenants should, can and must do, in order to receive their full security deposit at the end of a lease.

Invite your landlord for an unofficial inventory inspection.

Once you have an official check-out inventory report there is no going back. If your ex-housing is not in a condition meets the standards set in your tenancy agreement – your security deposit will most likely be deducted

Kindly invite your landlord to a visit anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks prior to you leaving the property. Your goal would be to outline and note down any specific recommendations or repair requirements.

  • Are there any certain areas that would use extra cleaning?
  • Is there any damage that was present prior to you moving in?
  • Will there be repairs/fixes that lay beyond your responsibility as a tenant?

As they say – “It is always better to ask”.

Don’t stress your nerves while trying to figure out on your own if there would be any potential problems with your property, but rather approach your landlord in a polite manner and negotiate things with patience and common sense.

Basic end of tenancy cleaning tips for tenants.

The phrase “end of tenancy cleaning” is often blamed for being misleading, for it is common for minor repairs to be considered as part of ending your lease. To clean up means to take all precautions to reduce the risk of claims and deductions.

Although some tasks might require more adcanced skills, tenants still have a considerable chunk of chorse they could handle themselves:

  • Fix broken or fading light bulbs, power sockets or/and switches.
  • Take care for wall dents via wall putty.
  • Repaint walls if you were previously allowed to redecorate.
  • Wipe and polish furniture till you achieve a welcoming and cosy shine.
  • Wipe and disinfect bathroom utensils – faucets, shower heads, glass and etc.
  • Clean your bathroom from dirt, mildew and marks  – visible the most and tolerable the least.
  • Degrease and scrub your oven. hot plates, hob extractor, and surrounding areas.

This simple repairs will take any experienced handyman anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes per fix. If you lack the know-how and gear you will surely waste more time and effort into preparation, rather than calling out to tenancy professionals. More than 90% of landlords will appreciate tenants being conscientious.

Helping your landlord is the best way to help your deposit refund.

* TIP:
Use almond, chocolate, black tea, coffee or any other clever solution to treat furnishing dents.  

Where limescale accumulates the most?

  • Kettles and coffee makers – The most effective way to put a stop to white flakes dancing in your morning hot beverage is to run your electrical appliances, now and again, filled with a mixture of water and white vinegar or lemon juice (50/50). Then, rinse them thoroughly and they should be limescale-free.
  • Glassware and cookware – The same ingredients, as above, will work great on your lusterless jugs, jars, decanters and cookware. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and soak your tarnished glassware overnight. Rinse well on the following morning. You can bring back the shine to your pots and pans if you fill them with the same mixture and simmer it for about 15 minutes. Then, proceed by washing them as normal with a soft sponge and rinse them well.
  • Washing machines and dishwashers – Mild limescale removal detergents are the standard choice of the homemaker when it comes to cleaning the washing machine and the dishwasher. Still, if you have suddenly gone green and environmentally conscious, use a cup of undiluted lemon juice and run the appliance empty on a regular cycle.
  • Taps, fixtures and fittings – Natural products like soda bicarbonate and lemon can help you clean the specially hard-to-remove white caking from around your taps and sink fixtures. Just make a paste-like mixture and use its abrasive properties to your advantage. Scrub gently the affected bathroom accessories, wipe, rinse and polish with a cloth. For really stubborn encrustations, say, on the faucet aerator, you can dip the spout into a cap, full of lemon juice and leave it overnight by attaching it securely with a tape.
  • Tiled surfaces, sinks, showers and baths – Again, lemon or vinegar (diluted) can be sprayed on the discoloured tile and grout surface, on the sink, shower base or bathtub. Leave the solution to sit for awhile. You can scrub in some soda, too, for better effect and then rinse and wipe the surface.
  • Toilet – If you have run out of your Domestos toilet cleaning gel but you have plenty of Coca-Cola in the fridge, put it to good use and do your teeth a favour. Cola will remove successfully hard water deposits from your toilet bowl if you leave it to work for several hours. The drink contains high levels of phosphoric acid, which is proven to be effective against rust and limescale.

For mor in-depth info on limescale prevention and treatment, check our blog post: “Goodbye to Limescale or How to Prevent It from Settling in Your Home

Move-out cleaning at the end of your lease.

End of tenancy cleaning is what matters in terms of securing your full tenancy deposit refund.

Lack of proper cleaning is the #1 reason for renter-landlord disputes at the end of tenancy. More than 50% of post-tenancy disputes appear to have moved out cleaning involved and more than 40% with damage caused for the whole lease period.

Rearrange your interior so you can properly wipe and clean your entire property. Remove dust and dirt from kitchen worktops and appliances, bathroom utilities, living room interior, i.e. furnishing tops, shelves, skirting or wall decorations (if present), lighting fixtures, doors, handles and etc.

* TIP:
Don’t postpone but start in advance! Prioritise clearing cleaning issues at least a month prior to you moving out.

* Important note:
Unfortunately, it is common for rogue landlords to prey on unsuspecting tenants who lack the know-how and experience. Beware of shady cleaning company ‘recommendations”, that afterwards turn out to come with up to 33% above standard rate for post-tenancy cleaning in London. The best way is to carry your own independent research for the best end of tenancy cleaning service.

Depending on how busy your schedule is, you can check what end of tenancy cleaning prices in London are companies offering and match rates if you choose to rely on professionals.

Triple-check if your tenancy deposit is properly/really secured

According to LAW, landlords are required to work with one of the three government-approved deposit protection schemes no later than 30 days past you moving in the property. As standalone third-party, each of the three schemes will guarantee your deposit is well protected and in case of disputes will serve as an independent adjudicator.

The 3 government-approved schemes have the sole purpose being the independent voice of reason in case of disputes, by representing both landlords and tenants in a fair and open stand.

This is meant to ensure both side in any tenancy agreement protection from shady attempts of abuse, especially from rogue landlords. Any security deposit has to be properly secured within a fixed period of 30 days after tenants move in.

Don’t blame landlords for impressive deposits (in terms of amount, of course). Never trust one as well. Always make sure to check yourself if your deposit has been taken care of as it should.

Manually research if your housing address is present with one of the authorised schemes:

Your address should be there somewhere. In the unfortunate case, you should immediately contact your landlord and demand for your deposit hack. Tenants can plead for compensations ranging up to 3x times the initial security deposit.

How to handle tenancy deposit disputes?

“A wise man once said nothing” but saying nothing will surely not be in your bestests of interests.

  • Talk to your landlord and always try to negotiate politely. There are many occasions where it is the human factor that plays the crucial role in resolving tenancy disputes.
  • Arm yourself with patience and discuss with your landlord each and any dispute solution. If you can not come to agree, then you can escalate thing further.
  • Contact your deposit protection scheme and plead your case. You will be appointed with a dedicated professional to assist both sides to reach an agreement.
  • It is crucial for you to have all paperwork done to use as grounds to your claim – move in and move out reports (it’s best to have those as a third party service), photos, videos, letters or other forms of written communication (web included) and etc.

Along the road of figuring out who is right and who is wrong, both sides will have the chance to state their point of view, along with proof of course.

* Important note:
The whole process is part of the services of deposit protection schemes. Bare in mind, that it could take up to 2 months for your case to be fully resolved. That’s why tenants should not rely on their deposit in terms of short term finances.

Go through your tenancy agreement as many times as you need to!

Some might say that as a tenant your tenancy agreement is your Bible of renting. While in many cases the holly Book could and might help you, when it comes to leaving your rental property finance harm-free, with housing this is not the case.

Your rental contract should contain all information and details in terms of requirements and conditions for security deposit refunds, for both landlords and tenants. It is the tenancy agreement that explicitly declares how and when your lease will start and end, what landlords rules renters are bound to in terms of inventory condition, along with mandatory chores for tenants all the way from day one to the one prior to moving out.

Chores and responsibilities tenants might be held responsible for, depending on the rental agreement contents:

  • Arranging a service from professional tenancy cleaners;
  • Take care of shared residential areas;
  • Maintain the pleasant looks of small garden areas;
  • Repaint your interior back to how it was the day you moved in;
  • Return furnishing arrangement back where it was at your check in.

Many manage to develop a sustainable and healthy friendship with their landlord, but in terms of law, it is your rental agreement that will be considered as grounds of reason in case of post tenancy disputes.

Why check in and check out inventory reports can have a dramatic effect for your security deposit?

An independent property inventory clerk can end up being your personal savior. Your property inventory reports at both beginning and end of lease will show if there is any damage or other alterations of property condition present for the period of your tenancy.

Your tenancy agreement is where you set your grounds in terms of tenant rights and responsibilities. Any conscientious renter has to be fully aware of its contents.

Don’t trust chance, but rather make that comparison on your own long enough before final date as a tenant in that particular housing. Last moments always hold risks of surprises, so instead of tempting fate, start preparations at least a month prior to you leaving the property.

“Wear and tear is damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal wear or ageing. It is used in a legal context for such areas as warranty contracts from manufacturers, which usually stipulate that damage from wear and tear will not be covered.”  – Definition of “Wear and Tear” @ Wikipedia

While certain types of damage might fit under “fair wear and tear”, the presence of dents, finger marks, cracks and etc are where the many risks of deposit deduction lay. Tenancy repairs a natural part of ending your lease.

* TIP:
It is important to understand that it in favour of your landlord for his/her rental property to be professionally cleaned by hiring end of tenancy cleaners. This means that

* Important note:
Bare in mind, that it is in your landlord’s best of interest to ensure his/hers excellent property condition, by hiring a professional cleaning company at your expense.

Takeaway:

The end of tenancy is stressful both for tenants and landlords. Inexperienced renters are often the subject of abuse and scam attempts from their letting agent or landlord. Compared to the risk of various deductions, This is why the basic end of tenancy cleaning tips and know-how are mandatory for the well-being of renters.