Landlord Blog: Renting to Wayne and Waynetta

Published: 16/05/2014

They say you never really know someone until you live with them, that’s when you see what they’re really like – their habits, their quirks and their cleanliness. This is something a landlord also discovers, often too late when a tenant is checking out of a property. While it’s difficult to prevent such a situation from happening, there are ways to minimise the financial repercussions as Rob Denman highlights:

“Now I’m a realist – I know there will be a certain amount of wear and tear to deal with when a tenant vacates a property, particularly if they’ve lived there for some time. I’m also not expecting tenants to be ‘Monica Gellers’, so clean-obsessed that even the thought of shoes left kicked off on the living room would cause a sleepless night.

“However latest figures show the issue of cleanliness is definitely one that needs to be addressed by landlords.

“According to Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) the most common cause of tenancy deposit disputes is about cleaning, now at 56 per cent. However the problem isn’t necessarily caused by a tenant’s poor hygiene but of a landlord’s lack of communication regarding their expectations of how a property should be left.

“This should be outlined in the tenancy agreement and include examples of substandard cleanliness such as greasy ovens, dirty fridges, stains and marks on carpets, limescale and pet hair. In short when a tenant leaves the property there should be no sign that they had lived there. You may even wish to specify tenants have to pay to have the property professionally cleaned.

“Having a watertight tenancy agreement is step one but obviously this doesn’t guarantee tenants will adhere to it. That is why it must be supported by a thorough inventory; without proof of its prior condition, a landlord can kiss goodbye to retaining any of the tenant’s deposit and therefore end up forking out for the cleaning and repair costs themselves.

“I know many landlords use free tenancy agreements taken off the web. While these are fit for purpose they are basic and are unlikely to cover points such as cleaning conditions in any real detail. Landlords may wish to consider this when tenants are moving in and have a bespoke tenancy agreement drafted, particularly if they give you even a sniff of doubt surrounding their hygiene!

Rob DenmanRob Denman is a solicitor and Head of GW LET (Landlord Empowerment Team), specialising in such landlord legal issues as rent arrears, tenant eviction and tenancy deposit disputes. In his spare time Rob enjoys watching football and running. He is currently training for his second half marathon.

Content correct at time of publication

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