New stats from the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS) show that cleaning remained the most common cause of a dispute and is continued to rise to 52 per cent in 2011-2012, compared with 49 per cent in 2010-2011. This is followed by damage to the property (45 per cent), redecoration (28 per cent) rent arrears (18 per cent), and gardening (12 per cent).
According to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC), landlords and agents are increasingly faced with dirty properties at the check-out stage. Many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition when they leave a property and are often very surprised when they are told that professional cleaning is required.
Pat Barber, Chair of the AIIC, said: “It is not surprising that cleaning has risen by over 6 per cent in tenant disputes. Many tenants fail to keep their property clean and time and time again we see filthy kitchens and bathrooms at check-out. Tenants rarely treat their rented property in the same way as they would a property they owned themselves. We all know that accidents do happen during a tenancy, but tenants need to realise that they must take financial responsibility for things that are beyond normal wear and tear.
“For example, a recent tenant check out highlighted a very dirty oven, amongst other things. The tenant was amazed when it was pointed out that it would need professional cleaning which would cost around £60. Her response was ‘I had to use it, surely this is normal wear and tear?’. We get the same response often concerning dirty carpets – tenants will state that because a carpet is a light colour it is bound to get dirty? It never crosses their mind that they should clean it themselves and they are strangely indignant when they see how much carpet cleaning companies charge.
“Tenants are often shocked to realise that professional cleaning can cost anything from £10 – £20 per hour depending on the area and type of work required. Some tenants claim that cleaning issues are ‘just normal wear & tear’. The simple answer is that if an area or item was clean at check in it should be left clean at check out. It something can be cleaned then it should be. If any dust or crumbs are present then this is clearly not clean.
“It’s so important for landlords and agents to do a thorough check-in and check-out, so they have the right proof of condition at the start and end of a new tenancy agreement. At the check-out stage, the tenant should be made aware of the areas requiring cleaning and the potential cost involved.”
AIIC has put together the most common cleaning problems at check-out:
- Ovens – cause the most problems. If it was listed as completely clean at check in, it must be left in the same condition. Burn marks to any part of the appliance means it is not clean. Tenants are amazed that professional oven cleaning costs between £50 – £80.
- Stained and marked carpets – this is a very common problem with some tenants trying to hide stains with rugs and furniture. Tenants are also known to cut out the stain and fill the hole with carpet they have cut from a hidden part of the property eg under the bed
- Heavy lime scale to kitchen and bathroom fittings – the response of tenants is often ‘it’s not my fault, this is a hard water area’
- Grease deposits throughout the kitchen, surfaces and cupboards may look clean but will feel sticky to touch.
- Thick dust & cobwebs, particularly around furniture and on the ceilings
The AIIC is a not for profit membership organisation and is committed to excellence and professionalism in the property inventory process. The AIIC works hard to ensure that all landlords, tenants and letting agents understand the importance and benefits of professionally completed property inventories.
For further information on AIIC, please visit www.theaiic.co.uk
The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks was established in 1996
The aim of the AIIC is to ensure that every landlord, tenant and agent in the UK is aware of the importance of the inventory process and the benefits of employing an independent, professional independent inventory clerk.
AIIC independent inventory clerks provide letting agents and landlords with comprehensive inventory documentation, including inventory compilation, check-in procedure, check-out procedure, Tenancy Deposit Schemes and assessment in fair wear and tear.
The AIIC offers membership to current independent inventory clerks and a search facility for agents and landlords to search for local professional independent inventory clerks.
The AIIC also offers industry-leading training courses, open to anyone in the property letting industry, ensuring that proper information and training is available for all members to provide the best possible service.
The AIIC members have all agreed to conduct their business in a professional manner in accordance with the Guidelines to Professional Practice and will abide by the AIIC’s Code of Practice. AIIC members also have Professional Indemnity insurance and Public Liability insurance.
AIIC independent inventory clerks are experts in their field, helping to save landlords, letting agents and tenant’s time, money and hassle by ensuring that government regulations are being adhered to.