From the Landlord Law Blog
Here is a question to the blog clinic from Tony (not his real name) who is a landlord.
My home has been rented to a couple and been managed by a local estate agent specialising in lettings. The hose was spotless (cleaned by myself and wife) and remarked on by the letting agent and tenants when they began the tenancy.
The Tenants have now moved out and left the house in a dirty condition,, the letting agent met with the tenants on leaving, for key hand over and inspection – the tenants finally agreed on walking through the property with the managing agent that it did need a professional clean to restore to its previous condition.
After leaving the tenants now dispute that the house needs cleaning and have asked for their bond back without any reduction (A professional cleaning quote has been submitted to them by my letting agent which they dispute. Am I likely to succeed with this, taking it to the arbitration service on disputes?
Naturally, the tenants will not want to pay – they may need the deposit money urgently!
Cleaning costs are frequently awarded by adjudicators on disputes but whether they award this will really depend on the quality of your evidence. For example
- Do you have an inventory which states that the property was in a clean condition at check-in, which was signed as agreed by the tenants?
- Do you have evidence of the dirty condition of the property on check-out, for example, photographs and the evidence of your agent?
One reason why landlords often use independent inventory clerks is that they will evidence the difference between the cleanliness of the property at the start and end of the tenancy which will entitle you to an award for cleaning costs.
But if you are able to provide the adjudicator with sufficient evidence, they are very likely to find in your favour.
However, it is your job to prove the claim, not the tenant’s job to prove that they left the property clean. They only need to do this if they are disputing your evidence. But if you don’t have any evidence – they will win the case by default.