What To Do When Your Tenant Has Left A Mess

Tenants leaving a mess

It’s every landlord’s nightmare – cleaning apartments when previous tenants leave the property dirty. You want to get the next tenant in as quickly as possible, but what do landlords need to do to ensure the property is spick and span as fast as possible? We’ll walk you through the steps in this guide. 


What should my first steps be in cleaning after my tenant leaves? 

If the tenant has departed and has no intention of returning, your first move should be to assess the damage. If there’s damage to the walls and the flooring (such as carpets or wooden flooring), that will need to be documented so you can claim against the deposit for the cost to remedy it. 

If it’s just a case of rubbish and dirt being left behind, take pictures to document it but start planning what you will need to rectify the problem. To make a good case for the deposit arbitration, you’ll need decent photos from before and after the tenant lived there as proof. 

Then it is a matter of choosing whether you will do the cleaning yourself, or if you’ll get expert house move cleaners in to do it for you. Let’s look at those options in detail. 


To clean or not to clean, that is the question

Cleaning it up yourself  

It’s definitely possible to clean the house up yourself, and how long move in cleaning will take will depend on the property, but let’s take an average two-bedroom, semi-detached property as an example. Assuming you spend a minimum of an hour per room and an additional half-hour per hallway and staircase, that’s a total of five and a half hours all-in-all. And that’s an estimate at the lower end, where not much needs doing. 

If there is caked-on dirt and the carpet needs washing, it can easily stretch into two or even three hours for a single person to do one room. This can turn into two or three working days lost to cleaning the house. And there is also the matter of purchasing cleaning supplies and even hiring specialist equipment such as steamers and carpet cleaners. 

If you’re confident that you can do the job yourself, here is a simple guide to most effectively clean a room from top to bottom.

  1. Clear the floor of any rubbish or debris, anything that could be a tripping hazard, and dispose of it. 
  2. Take down any curtains or blinds and place them aside.
  3. Move all of the furniture in the room (if applicable) to a different room or to the centre of the room to get it away from the walls. 
  4. Use a duster or a broom to brush away any cobwebs on the ceiling, especially in corners. 
  5. Wash down the walls and doors – sugar soap is perfect for this. 
  6. Thoroughly clean and dust light fittings and light switches, as well as door handles. 
  7. Wipe down the skirting boards and radiators, checking for rubbish behind the radiators too. 
  8. Clean and dust the furniture. If you’re supplying settees or sofas, you’ll probably need a special attachment for your carpet cleaner or a different appliance. 
  9. Vacuum and clean the carpets around the edge of the room, or vacuum and mop the floors. 
  10. Move the furniture back into position or just to the periphery of the room. 
  11. Vacuum and clean the carpets, or vacuum and mop the floors. 

Hiring a clean-up crew 

Hiring a professional cleaning company for your end of tenancy cleaning does cost money initially, but as they typically work in teams and already have the equipment and supplies needed to do the job, they likely work out cheaper in the long run. 

Many companies offer cleaning services, though some are better than others. Keep an eye out for testimonials from other customers on the company website. 

Give your cleaning company a list of instructions for what you want them to do, or if there are any significant problems (such as stains on the carpet) that you would like them to focus on. This ensures your satisfaction and means they can bring all the specialist equipment and products they’ll need to do the job. 

Remember, don’t worry!  

Whatever state your property has been left in, it can be remedied. With the careful application of knowledge and some time (and elbow grease!), your property will be sparkling. 


Can I claim against my tenant’s deposit?

The short answer is no, you can’t. The Tenants Fees Act 2019 stipulates what you can and cannot charge a tenant for, and while you can apply to deduct from the deposit for cleaning costs, you cannot charge additional funds for cleaning, and you cannot ask them to pay additional fees for cleaning. 


Why hire End of Tenancy London?

At End of Tenancy Cleaning London, we have a great team of highly skilled professionals who are happy to help – even at short notice. 

  • Our prices start at just £90
  • We get 5 Star reviews from our valued customers 
  • We have a deposit return guarantee 

Our friendly team are always on-hand to answer any questions you might have over the phone, or you can simply request a quote online.