There’s nothing worse for a landlord than spending time and money sorting out an old tenant’s clutter and dirt. If a tenant has left a big mess for you to tackle, you may be asking yourself whether or not you can charge them for the cost of getting the place cleaned up.
To answer the question of ‘do tenants have to pay for professional cleaning?’ a fair few things need to be considered. We’ll take a look at them in this post, to help you ensure that the responsibility of cleaning fees is shouldered legally and fairly.
What is the Tenant Fees Act 2019?
The Tenant Fees Act 2019, also known as the Tenant Fees Cleaning Act, is going to be very important when it comes to answering the question of whether tenants have to pay for professional cleaning, so we’d recommend spending some time looking through it.
When it comes to charging your tenants, the act lays out that you can charge tenants for:
Generally, a tenant should pay rent once per month, and the payments should be spread equally throughout the year. Landlords should be transparent about what is and isn’t included with rent payments. Legally, you can ask a tenant to pay their rent in a lump sum, but you must consider whether this is fair and doable for the tenant.
– A refundable tenancy deposit
This is a refundable payment made by the tenant, which can’t be worth more than five weeks’ rent (if the yearly rent is less than 50K). The tenant should have this refunded to them at the end of their lease if the property has been left in good condition, which is where the question of ‘do tenants have to pay for professional cleaning?’ comes in.
While you technically can’t charge a tenant for cleaning fees specifically, you can take a portion from the deposit depending on the severity of the mess left behind.
– A refundable holding deposit
This deposit is taken from a tenant in order to hold or reserve the property while reference checks are completed. The holding deposit cannot be more than one week’s rent.
– Payments to change tenancy
This refers to payments made by the tenant to the landlord so that they can make a reasonable change to the tenancy agreement. This can include allowing pets to live in the property or allowing a business to be run from the property.
– An early tenancy termination payment
A landlord can ask a tenant to pay fees if the tenant chooses to leave the property early. However, the fees shouldn’t amount to more than what the landlord has lost from the tenant leaving. This can include things like re-advertising costs etc.
– Utilities and bills
If not included in the rent, tenants can be expected to pay for utilities, as well as things like television, broadband and council tax. The landlord should be completely transparent about what is and isn’t included in the rent payments.
– Fees for late payment of rent
-A landlord can only ask for a late rent payment fee if the rent has been late for 14 days or more. The penalty fee can’t be worth more than 3% of each day that the rent has been late.
– Fees for lost key/security device
The fee for replacing a key/security device should only cover any cost incurred by the landlord.
Can I deduct it from my tenant’s deposit?
Given that you can only charge tenants for the issues listed above, this means that you won’t be able to charge them for cleaning outright. Instead, you will have to go down the route of deducting from a tenant’s deposit. So the answer to ‘do tenants have to pay for professional cleaning?’ can sometimes be a yes (in a roundabout way!) depending on what kind of damages they’ve made to the home.
To do this, the mess left by the tenant or tenants must be beyond ‘normal wear and tear,’ and instead be classed as ‘damage.’ So, if, for example, your carpet is slightly worn, a tenant cannot be charged for this as it’s something that will occur naturally over time. If the tenant had left a large stain on the carpet, you can take money from the deposit that would cover the cost of getting the stain removed.
Essentially, tenants are responsible for leaving the property as they found it, minus some expected wear and tear. This is why it’s really important for landlords to create an inventory that details the condition of everything inside and outside the property, as this can prevent disputes between you and your tenants if damage occurs. You and your tenants should both agree with and sign this inventory before the tenant moves in.
If you spot a mess that can be classed as tenant damage, you should provide evidence to your tenant of the damage they have caused. You should also explain the cost you have incurred because of it, which should be equal to the amount you take from their deposit.
Examples of a mess that can be classed as damage instead of fair wear and tear include:
- Tears/burns to fabric, floors, countertops etc
- Staining on fabric, floors or countertops etc
- Badly scratched floors or countertops
- Staining on ceilings from bath overflow
- Holes in walls
- Poor, unapproved paintwork
- Unpleasant smells throughout the property, such as urine or pet odours
Why choose End of Tenancy Cleaning Service?
Whether or not your tenant has left a mess, as a landlord, cleaning a lived-in property to the highest standards can be time-consuming, costly, and potentially even risky, especially when numerous cleaning products are being used.
Booking with a professional end of tenancy cleaning company will mean that both you and your new tenant can rest assured that the property will be spic and span, all ready to be moved into. Our fully insured, highly trained team have passed all relevant background checks, and we’ll arrange a free re-clean of your property if you aren’t 100% satisfied with our end of tenancy cleaning service.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, you can get in touch with our friendly team, who would love to hear from you.