end of tenancy cleaning charge easy cleanersThis recent post in Negotiator highlights the issues that tenants, unfortunately, can have when moving out of a rented property. A landlord/agent automatically charged a cleaning fee to ‘check out’ the property.

This particular case involved the landlord’s agent, Foxtons, in a London apartment. Still, this kind of story happens everywhere, particularly when cleaning large residential blocks around Birmingham city centrecleaning large residential blocks around Birmingham city centre.

Drilling down into the details, there are three lessons to learn on this, all beginning with the letter P:

1. The Principle is wrong

Whilst tenants need to leave their flats or houses in good, clean condition when they hand back the property, the landlord can’t automatically look at taking such a cost from the tenant's deposit if they think they haven't.

First, check the lease, but most will not allow this kind of thing.

However, under the Tenants Fees Act 2019, which this case refers to, landlords are no longer allowed to charge these sorts of charges.

If the landlord does have a genuine case of a professional end-of-tenancy cleaning being needed, then this isn’t the way to deal with it! Instead, they need to request a deduction from the deposits afterwards, with the tenant having a say in this.

This is of course assuming the deposit is under a protected scheme which is now a legal requirements for all short term residential lets.

2. The Process needs refining

This story made a point of using a digital app to manage the check-out process when the tenant moves out, which forced them to pay this fee BEFORE an effective check-out on the app.

Therefore, this might be a simple case of Foxton’s app not getting things in the right order. Even a dirty apartment that does need a clean should not stop the check-out process; rather, it should raise a concern that still needs addressing either before or after the leave date.

It's a great idea to have the technology, but it's worth some common sense and, ideally, face-to-face contact when a tenant is handing back the property.

3. The Payment should be checked

A final point is the payment due, in this case a £240 cost.

That may or may not be correct to reflect the actual cost of cleaning, and we always suggest people seek a bespoke professional end-of-tenancy cleaning quote from a reputable cleaning business to make a fair assessment.

This can then be a fair deduction to make afterwards from the the deposit, as mentioned above, rather than an actual online payment in the the check-out process.

However, one word of advice to tenants seeking help before the lease ends to carry out themselves—when the right prices are satisfactory, then do clarify how and when this actually needs paying, as often this can get missed in the busyness of moving out and cause problems.

Moving out without the cost and hassle

In short, it’s worth being ahead of the game, agreeing, and arranging effective cleaning before moving out of a residential property. This prevents sudden fees from being raised afterwards.

If they are, immediately question rather than assume—and as in this case, hopefully, there is a way to resolve it without having to go to a Tribunal.