Most landlord-tenant relationships are affable enough in the main. Certainly, there are things that landlords do that annoy their tenants and vice versa. Normally, tenants complain about maintenance not being carried out, and landlords will invariably point to late rent payments.
One landlord survey carried out in the UK in 2019 showed over 50% of respondents had disputes with their tenants. Although 35% of landlords said they had issues with tenants once or less per year, they were always over the same problems.
The most normal landlord complaints with tenants were over non-payment of rent, damages, subletting, and cleanliness. But, what power does a landlord have over a tenant when it comes to cleaning? Could you be forced to hire professional cleaning services?
What are your contractual requirements as a tenant?
When you rent a property you should be given a contract with a defined set of rules, along with an inventory listing every item in the home as well as a brief description of their condition.
As a tenant, you will be contractually obliged to look after the property, report any damage, be considerate neighbors, and clean the home. Your contract will probably include some rule about you leaving the property in a condition that is ready for the next tenants to move into.
Because of this, many tenants opt to use a move out cleaning service to meet the landlord’s standards and hopefully facilitate goodwill and an easy transition. But, do you have to use these services?
Can Your Landlord Force You To Use Professional Cleaners?
Over 50% of all rental disputes are about cleaning, with the blame being put on both sides. Landlords are expected to present tenants with a clean home, and the latter should maintain this standard until they leave.
Whether your landlord can make you pay for cleaning services is another matter though. The answer depends on what you have agreed to.
When can a landlord make you use professional cleaners?
If your lease agreement stipulates professional cleaning services be used when you leave then you will need to follow this as you signed the contract. Generally, this is used in different ways. For example, a landlord may insist that the cooker and carpets are professionally cleaned when your tenancy ends, but nothing else.
One of the steps to becoming a landlord is comprehending the importance of cleanliness. Therefore, your landlord might ask you to agree to hire a professional company of their choice to provide a thorough check-out clean.
If you have signed a contract that states the use of professional cleaning services, then your landlord has every right to enforce this.
When can’t they?
If you haven’t signed anything pertaining to professional cleaning services then you cannot be forced to use them. Many tenants would prefer to carry out their end-of-tenancy cleaning themselves to save money.
However, there are reasons for tenants to hire professional cleaners. The Happy House Cleaning company warns tenants that if they want their deposits returned it’s often a good idea to use an end-of-tenancy service to meet the landlord’s standards.
In what situation might you end up paying for professional cleaners?
Regardless of what your contract states, your landlord might still charge you for professional cleaning when you leave. This is largely where the disputes manifest.
Landlords can keep your security deposit or a chunk of it under certain circumstances. These include property damage, unpaid rent and utility bills, and you guessed it, cleaning costs.
If you leave the home unclean and not ready to be leased again then the landlord can deduct cash from your security deposit to pay for cleaning. But, these deductions have to be accounted for and must be reasonable. Normal wear and tear cannot be charged for, and security deposits are held in trust until the dispute is resolved.
Are there benefits to you hiring professional cleaners anyway?
As a tenant, you may benefit from hiring a professional cleaner once or twice during your rental period. If your landlord has allowed you to have pets in the home, or you have children then professional carpet cleaning is a wise idea.
And if you would like to see your security deposit returned without complaint then a cleaning service could help. The difference between tenant cleaning and professionals is that the latter understand where the most overlooked places to clean are such as under the fridge.
While you cannot be forced to spend money on professional cleaning by your landlord unless contractually obliged, it may still be worthwhile.
If you weigh up the time it will take you to clean your home, the cost, and the inconvenience, then it may be beneficial to use an end-of-tenancy clean to secure your deposit’s return. Especially as you could see deductions anyway for cleaning costs if your work isn’t up to scratch.