Landlord Advice

Landlord Responsibilities: Do They Have to Clean Between Tenants in the UK?

Cleanliness in rental properties is essential for both landlords and tenants. For the property owners, maintaining a clean property is crucial for attracting new tenants and maintaining a good reputation, whereas, for tenants, a clean rental property is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So, in terms of hygiene, both parties are on the same page, but who is responsible for cleaning?

Do landlords have to clean between tenants in the UK, or is it the tenants who have to clean before moving out? If you are either a tenant or a landlord who wants to know more about the legal responsibilities of move-in/move-out cleaning, then read along!

Do landlords have to clean between tenants in the UK?

Landlords in the UK are not legally obligated to clean between tenant turnover. Tenants, on the other hand, are expected to leave the property in the state it was when they moved in. Failure to do so can result in the tenants losing some or all of their deposit. Tenants are in fact responsible for cleaning the property before leaving, however, they cannot be forced to pay for professional end-of-tenancy cleaning services under the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

On the other hand, if the landlord is not satisfied with how the renter has cleaned the property, they (the landlord) can deduct a certain amount of money from the initial deposit to cover cleaning expenditures. Sometimes, even if the cleaning was done well, landlords might still pay for a move-out or deep cleaning just to make sure their property is in tip-top shape for new tenants.

It’s important to mention that In the UK, there are legal requirements for landlords to ensure that the property is in a clean and habitable condition for new tenants. According to these laws, landlords are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the rental property, thus ensuring that the place is safe and habitable.

So, does your landlord have to clean before you move in? Well, if the property is not up to standards after the last renter, then yes.

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How clean should a rental property be upon move in?

Different people will have different criteria when it comes to what is considered clean and not. Still, the following examples can be considered universal for most people.

  • The property should be free of any debris, dust, and cobwebs. This includes ceilings as well as walls, and floors.
  • The windows, blinds, drapes and curtains should be clean and free of any dust, dirt, or stains.
  • The kitchen should be thoroughly cleaned. This includes countertops, cabinets, the sink, as well as all the following appliances: stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and microwave.
  • The bathroom should be cleaned and sanitised, especially the sink, toilet, shower, and bathtub.
  • Carpets, rugs, and upholstery should be clean and free of any stains, hairs and unpleasant odours.
  • All surfaces, including light switches, doorknobs, and handles, should be wiped down and disinfected. These are always easiest to forget because you’re used to ignoring them.
  • Any trash or debris left by the previous tenants should be thrown out.
  • All rooms should be vacuumed or swept, and the floors mopped.
  • Any closets, drawers, or shelves should be emptied of belongings and cleaned.
  • All property walls should be free of any scuff marks, holes, or damages. If there are any, they should be repaired before the new tenant moves in.
  • All light fixtures should be cleaned, and light bulbs should be in working condition.
  • The HVAC system should be cleaned and its filters replaced, ensuring that it is in good working condition.
  • Any outdoor areas such as patios, decks, or balconies should be swept free of debris.
  • Any appliances that are included in the rental property, such as a washer, dryer, or air conditioner, should be serviced, cleaned and in good working condition.
  • The property should be completely clear of any pests which can cause an infestation.
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Cleaning responsibilities: landlords vs tenants

Both landlords and tenants have cleaning responsibilities of their own. While landlords are responsible for ensuring the property is in a habitable condition and ready for new renters, tenants have the responsibility to maintain a clean and safe living space during their stay. Let’s go into more detail.

Landlord cleaning responsibilities

  • Landlords have a duty to ensure their properties are safe, clean, and in good condition, for tenants to live in.
  • At the end of a tenancy, landlords must carry out a thorough inspection of the property and identify any damage or cleaning that needs to be carried out.
  • If the tenant has left the property in a dirty or damaged state, the landlord may be entitled to deduct the cost of cleaning or repairs from the tenant’s deposit, but only if the damage or cleaning was beyond normal wear and tear.
  • If the landlord fails to maintain the property to an adequate standard, they may be in breach of their legal obligations and could face enforcement action.
  • Landlords must ensure that the rental property meets health and safety standards, including regular testing of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
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Tenant cleaning responsibilities

  • Tenants are expected to leave the property in the same condition as when they moved in. Normal wear and tear are acceptable and expected.
  • Tenants are responsible for repairing or paying for any damage caused by them or their guests during the tenancy, apart from the reasonable wear and tear.
  • Tenants are responsible for keeping the rental property clean and tidy during the tenancy by vacuuming, dusting, and wiping down surfaces.
  • Tenants should report any repairs or maintenance issues to the landlord as soon as possible to avoid causing further damage and to ensure that the property remains in good condition.
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Regardless of who is responsible for what though, the following three areas must always be kept clean by both parties:

  • Carpets: before moving in, landlords should ensure that carpets are professionally cleaned to remove any dirt or allergens that may have accumulated. During the tenancy, tenants should regularly vacuum carpets and use appropriate cleaning products to remove any stains or spills.
  • Appliances: refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines, should be regularly cleaned and maintained to ensure their proper functioning and longevity. Before moving in, landlords must ensure that all appliances are clean and in good working condition. During the tenancy, renters should regularly clean the appliances and report any faults or issues to the landlord for repairs or replacement.
  • Communal spaces: Hallways, stairs, and common rooms, are shared areas of a rental property. Landlords are responsible for cleaning the common areas before the tenant moves in and ensuring that they are clean and safe during the tenancy. Tenants should also take responsibility for keeping communal spaces clean and tidy, which includes disposing of rubbish and reporting any issues to the landlord.
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Exceptions to the rule: When is a landlord not required to clean between tenants?

In situations where the property has been well-maintained and there is no damage or excessive dirtiness caused by previous tenants, the landlord may be tempted no to clean. However, this is rare and even if the previous tenant left the property in good condition, it is still preferable for the landlord to carry out a basic cleaning before the new renter moves in.

Benefits of cleaning between tenants

Cleaning in between tenant turnover is not something landlords have to do just for the sake of following the law. In fact, there are some significant benefits.

  • Attracting new tenants: A clean and well-maintained property is more likely to attract potential tenants. When prospective tenants see a clean property, they are more likely to feel comfortable and willing to sign a tenancy agreement. This can also result in landlords being able to rent out the property more quickly.
  • Maintaining the condition of the property: Regular cleaning between tenants will help maintain the overall condition of the property. This can help prevent wear and tear and damage to the property, as well as any pest or hygiene issues.
  • Avoiding disputes with tenants: If a landlord fails to clean the property between tenants, disputes can arise over who is responsible for the cleaning. This can lead to disagreements and potentially damage the relationship between landlord and tenant. By carrying out a thorough clean before a new tenant moves in, these disputes can be avoided entirely.
  • Reducing costs: Cleaning between tenants can actually save landlords money in the long run. If the property is well-maintained, there is less chance of damage occurring, which can be costly to repair.

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Takeaways

  • Landlords are not obligated by law to be the ones doing the cleaning after the tenant has moved out;
  • Tenants are expected to leave the property in the same state of cleanliness as they have found it;
  • A landlord may decide to hire an end of tenancy cleaning company or do the cleaning themselves if they are not satisfied with how the tenant has performed the cleaning.

Disclaimer: Every piece of information here is meant for informational and educational purposes only. So please, do not use this as a definitive legal basis. Fantastic Services encourages you to seek authority professional counsel before you decide to act upon what you have read. For more information, check our disclaimer.

Image source: Pixelbliss / Shutterstock.com

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