10 Cleaning Issues That Can Raise Disputes Over Your Tenancy Deposit and How to Avoid Them

When doing the end of tenancy cleaning pay attention to the small details.

When doing the end of tenancy cleaning pay attention to the small details.

We have already explained the importance of hiring professionals who are able to provide you with a detailed checklist of their service. Also, in our article “How to Clean an Apartment Before Moving Out” we have written about which items and areas should be cleaned if you want to pass the final inspection before handling the keys.

Nowadays most landlords and letting agents include an inventory list and photos of the property in the initial contract. If you have these documents it is a good idea to check them, before moving out in order to know what should be included in your end of tenancy cleaning. However, if you don’t have such inventory, it is wise to inform yourself about certain cleaning issues that can cause disputes with your landlord and prevent you from taking your deposit back. Especially if you decide to do the end of tenancy cleaning by yourself.

Every carpet should be deep-cleaned twice a year.

Every carpet should be deep-cleaned twice a year.

Stained Carpet

Unsightly stains and spills on the rugs are among the most common causes of deposit disputes between landlords and tenants. The same applies for dusty and dirty carpets. This is why, if you haven’t deep cleaned the carpets in the last few months, it is a good idea to hire end-of-tenancy cleaners who also provide carpet cleaning service. Even if you did deep-cleaned the carpeting in your rental it is a good idea to inspect it for stains and blemishes before handling the keys for the property.

Read also: What is the best carpet cleaning procedure?

Dirty or Damaged Furnishings

If you have rented a fully furnished property it is crucial that all furnishings are in a pristine condition before the final inspection. There should be no dirt, dust, or stains on the soft furniture. The same applies for human and pet hair. Upholsteries should be deep cleaned and dry before the inventory meeting with the landlord. In order to avoid deposit disputes, check if there are any scratches or missing parts on the wooden and metal parts of the furnishings.

Check also: DIY Sofa Cleaning Tips

Take care for holes and nails in the walls.

Take care for holes and nails in the walls.

Nails, Holes, and Scuff Marks

It is natural to hang down art and pictures on the walls of your home, especially if you have rent it for a longer period of time. However, your landlords can keep your deposit and justify it by the need of repair. So, before moving out remove all nails from the walls, fill the holes, and mark any scuff marks with paint in same colours.

Dirty Windows

Never handle the keys for the rental before you have cleaned the windows thoroughly. Dirty glass, dusty windowsills, fingerprints and smears talk about neglect. Your landlord will surely want to hire a window cleaning company and bill you for that. It is a good idea to vacuum the window and door tracks, wipe the dust of the windowsills, and polish knobs and handles before the final inspection.

Check also: Our ultimate cleaning song playlist!

The cooktops should be perfectly cleaned, too.

The cooktops should be perfectly cleaned, too.

Greasy Oven and Kitchen Appliances

According to recent information, a dirty oven is one of the top reasons landlords keep part of the tenancy deposit. And we can’t blame them. Oven cleaning is a dirty, time-consuming job, especially if the appliance hasn’t been cleaned regularly. Remove grease, oil splashes around the oven, stains and burnt food to ensure taking the full amount of your deposit back.

Grime in the Refrigerator

A dirty refrigerator is an eyesore. But what is more unpleasant is that grime, stains, or spills arise disputes with your landlord or letting agent. The good news is that refrigerators aren’t difficult to clean, especially if you have maintained the appliance hygienic during your tenancy. Throw away old food, wipe clean the inside and outside. With just a little effort you can bring the fridge in an impeccable condition.

The only moldy thing your landlord will be happy with is cheese.

The only mouldy thing your landlord will be happy with is cheese.

Mould and Mildew

London is notorious for its humid weather, so it is quite common to have condensation and even mould at home. However, if you haven’t dealt with this problem before the final inventory inspection of the property you landlord will hold back some of your deposit. If you are moving out in winter or spring, don’t forget to check the rental for mildew and mould. Look behind appliances and furnishing, check the corners of the rooms and the area near the windows.

Broken or Missing Fixtures, Switches, Knobs or Handles

It is easy to miss some detail when you are moving out. However, small issues like broken light switch, or a doorknob that doesn’t work properly can turn into an obstacle for taking back the full amount of your deposit. To avoid disputes and pass successfully the final inspection, go around the house and check if everything is working properly and that there are no missing fixtures. It is cheaper and less bothering to repair and replace these items before you handle the keys for the property.

The bathroom fixtures must shine.

The bathroom fixtures must shine.

Stains and Limescale in the Bathroom

The cleanliness of the bathroom is always a sensitive subject for landlords and letting agents. In order to get your deposit, simple wiping of the floors and polishing bathroom mirrors isn’t enough. Make sure there are no soap and detergent residues under the shower and on the tiles. Toilets and sinks must be scrubbed thoroughly and the trash bin should be empty.

Check our detailed cleaning tips for your bathroom here and here.

Overgrown & Untrimmed Garden

If your rental has a garden it is better to lawn the mow and trim the bushes and trees before the final inventory meeting with the landlord. Otherwise, they could decide to hire a gardening service and pay the bill with your deposit money. Before the final inspection sweep dead leaves and clear the paths, otherwise, the garden will still look neglected.
Before you setting a meeting with the landlord or letting agent, contact them and request their final inspection checklist. This way you can make sure each item they’ve put on the checklist is cleaned.