When looking at what an end-of-tenancy clean is at a property, then it's a good, thorough clean of the property at the end of a lease that a tenant needs to carry out in order to hand back the property to the landlord in a tidy and clean state in order to relet to another tenant.
It's, therefore, something unique between a landlord and tenant.
They're often arranged as a cleaning service and carried out by the tenant as they prepare to hand back their premises.
Still, a landlord can also be involved after any lease ends and carry out something beyond what the tenant did to get it to the proper cleanliness for the next tenant.
You may then have other third parties like managing agents acting on behalf of landlord owners in arranging this.
They also mainly relate to residential properties, whether a small flat or larger house and, however, can relate to commercial building and linked with any more significant issues of repairs and dilapidations.
So, in short, when looking at what is the meaning of an end-of-tenancy clean, it's a tenant handing back the property nice and clean just like they took it.
Why Do I Need an End-of-Tenancy Clean?
Strictly speaking, a landlord can't force a full-on end-of-tenancy clean for residential properties following The Tenant Fees Act 2019, which banned any specific clause in the lease demanding this.
However, the general obligation is still there to keep the building clean and tidy and to hand it back in this way. But that can be done in whatever way the tenant wants, including themselves and family and friends.
Therefore, somewhere in the lease must be the reason for needing an end-of-tenancy clean, and it's worth checking these specific requirements.
Hopefully, there's an inventory or Schedule of Condition taken at the start of the lease which notes any existing problems like stained carpets or damaged items that the tenant wouldn't be expected to change during their tenancy.
The landlord also often holds a rent deposit, which should be in a protected deposit scheme for residential properties. The main reason for landlords not wanting to return all of this at the end is because of an issue of cleaning and them believing the tenant has not done it satisfactorily.
What Does an End-of-Tenancy Clean Include and Consist of?
As well as looking at what is stated explicitly in the lease and any inventory or Schedule of Condition, it is essential to remember the general gist of an end-of-tenancy clean.
Although a complete clean is needed, it allows for fair wear and tear by the tenant, which reflects everyday living and any natural forces such as sunlight coming through the window and fading things.
So, if a tenant has been there for many years, carpets will get naturally worn, or scuff marks may appear on a solid floor. There may also be areas of painted walls or furniture that are fading over time.
Therefore these sorts of things would not be expected to be improved by the tenant with residential properties, although they may do with commercial property liabilities.
In terms of what is practically included in an end-of-tenancy cleaning and what it consists of, it's basically a good form of spring clean.
All surfaces must be wiped appropriately, including removing cobwebs and areas at the ceiling level, skirting boards and picture or dado rails.
Dusting and polishing surfaces and furniture like tables and sideboards are essential, and things like windows, doors, and handles in the kitchen and bathroom areas.
And focus will be needed on taps and fittings with a good scrub and disinfection of these, and items like showers, baths, and toilets may even need built-up limescale and mould removing from them as well.
Plus any things like kettles, toasters, and microwaves.
Also, don't forget other things like emptying and cleaning the bins and making sure the outside areas are swept and tidy and clarify whether you need to bring in any additional cleans, such as window clean, the whole carpet clean, and even an oven clean if it has been left in a bit of a state.
What to Do in an End-of-Tenancy Cleaning Task?
After you've looked at what's included and the right end-of-tenancy clean specification for you, you can then get practical and start arranging this.
Start contacting local cleaning businesses to come in and do this and make sure their quote is as accurate as possible based upon your location, the size of the property, and the extra services like carpet cleaning, and even how far you need to go compared to your lease and actual inventory.
It is then worth an early dialogue with the landlord or tenant to try and come to an agreement of what would be expected before the actual lease end, ideally walking around the building with them and maybe even have a go at an end-of-tenancy clean yourself to see if they're happy with or there are any specific items that you need to address yourself or with a cleaning company afterwards.
What is an End-of-Tenancy Clean for Yourself?
As you go through these above points, the starting point is to check an existing lease inventory and communication from the landlord-tenant or managing agent. Then start making plans of how and when you can carry this out before the lease, which can become more complicated when there are other moving out plans.
It's important to remember that this will all have to be done before you hand the keys back, as you won't be able to get back into the property afterwards.
Then have a dialogue with the landlord to try and come to an agreement on it and finally agree on a specification on what is included in an end-of-tenancy clean and what it consists of, in order to then crack on with yourself or through.