The importance of end of tenancy cleaning for landlords
The period between tenants is a busy one for a landlord. You need to prepare the property for the next tenant, find the new tenant and sort out all the paperwork. You need to return the former tenant's deposit and credit check and reference check the incoming tenant. All while ensuring the property is empty for as short a period as possible.
If you have one your letting agent can handle most of those tasks. But preparing the property for a new tenant is your responsibility and one of the biggest jobs is ensuring it is clean.
Hang on a minute...
When your previous tenant moved out they will have cleaned the property. You will have inspected it as part of the check out procedure. So surely you won't need to clean again. Right?
Unfortunately the likelihood of you not having to clean is zero. Even if the tenant has done a great job there will still be areas you need to tackle. But most tenants won't do a great job. Just an adequate one. And there is always the chance you have missed something on your check out inspection. It's easy to do.
And then there are the tenants who do a midnight flit or who just leave the property in a mess. In those instances you have to do a deep clean to get the property ready for the next tenant.
Why you need to clean
There are several reasons why you need to ensure the property is spotless.
Easier to let
Even though the demand for accommodation in the private rental sector is always increasing you are still in a competitive market. To attract the level of rent you want and need to make a profit your property needs to stand out. Tenants are a discerning bunch and they won't pay a high rent for a property which isn't clean.
If a tenant views an unclean property they will form the opinion the landlord doesn't care or can't be trusted. Either way you will lose a good tenant. Worse you could attract a tenant who feels that "if the landlord doesn't give a damn why should I?"
Set expectations for the new tenant
We've touched on this above. A tenant presented with a sparkling clean property will know the standards of cleanliness they need to keep too. But if they find dirt and mess why should they care about keeping the place clean? You need to send a message. Keep the property in the state you find it. Speaking of which.
Protect your investment
Possibly the most important reason for end of tenancy cleaning for a landlord is to prepare the property for inventory. We've discussed before the importance of an inventory as a way of protecting your investment. And a deep clean is the best way to prepare the property for an inventory.
In the inventory photos ensure the high standard of cleanliness is evident. Take images of the walls, the carpets and the insides of cupboards. Pay special attention to the interiors of white goods. Take plenty of photos of the inside of the oven and the fridge.
Photos of clean fixtures, fittings and appliances make it much easier to prove your case if there is a dispute further down the line and you withhold part or all of the tenant's deposit.
Where landlords need to clean
We've established the importance of end of tenancy cleaning. Hopefully though the tenant has left the property in good condition and you only need to spruce things up a bit. So where are the areas you need to concentrate on?
The inside of an oven can hide all sorts of horrors. If the oven is in a state it may be cheaper and more convenient to call in a specialist oven cleaner. They do a great job and will get the oven looking like new. Don't forget the extractor fan. It can be a haven for grease.
Give the inside of the fridge a good clean and defrost the freezer. Both can hide nasty surprises. Check and clean the filters on the washing machine and tumble dryer if you provide one.
Give them an extra scrub. Sticky and stubborn stains can hide in kitchen cupboards. They should also be empty. Your new tenant may not appreciate out of date foodstuff as a welcoming gift.
Don't forget to check the loft. Tenants can often throw things up there and forget about them. Sometimes intentionally.
Carpets and flooring
Make sure there are no stains. You will have done this when checking out the previous tenant. But it is easy to overlook small stains. Especially if a canny tenant rearranged the furniture to cover the stain.
Check the bins
Make sure the bins are empty especially if there is going to be a gap between tenants. Give them a clean with a pressure washer and make sure the house number is on each bin.
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