A concerning new report has revealed that buy-to-let landlords are facing increasing problems with dirty properties at the conclusion of tenancy agreements.
The investigation, conducted by online letting agent PropertyLetByUs, has uncovered the items most frequently left in a poor condition by outgoing tenants.
Mucky ovens were discovered to be extremely common, with 56% of agents reporting that they had faced this issue. Next came dirty carpets and flooring (25%), grimy showers (21%), smelly sinks (19%), full fridges and freezers (18%) and grubby baths (14%).
Shockingly, 70% of landlords said that their rental properties were returned to them in a poor condition after their tenants had moved out.
Over half of cases dealt with by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme are associated with cleaning. In fact, disputes over cleaning are now at their greatest level since the beginning of the scheme. This in turn means many investors are claiming more on their landlord insurance.
Lack of respect
PropertyLetByUs.com suggests that tenants have little or no respect for their rental home.
Jane Morris, the firm’s managing director, said: ‘unfortunately tenants fail to treat a rented property like they would if it was their own home. Many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition as when they moved into the property and we have seen many properties left in a filthy state.’
‘The main problems are dirty ovens and fridges; stains and marks on carpeting and flooring; bathrooms which have not been cleaned for months; and pet hair and excrement on floors, furniture and soft furnishings. At a recent check out, the property was left in a very poor condition. No cleaning had taken place during the tenancy and the ovens, carpets and the bathrooms were filthy. Unwanted furniture was the left in the house and strewn across the garden,’ she continued.
Morris went on to claim that, ‘some tenants claim that cleaning issues are just normal wear and tear and are shocked when they find out that it will cost around £50-£70 to have the oven professionally cleaned and anything between £100-£150 to clean carpets and floorcoverings. The simple answer is that if an area or item was clean at check-in it should be left clean at check-out. If any dust or crumbs are present then this is clearly not clean.’
‘It’s vital that landlords carry out mid-term inspections so they can flag up any cleaning issues, as well as a thorough check-in and check-out, so they have the right proof of condition at the start and end of a new tenancy agreement. At the check-out, the tenants should be made aware of the areas requiring cleaning and the potential costs involved,’ Morris concluded.
Importance of inventories
The rise in landlords being left with dirty properties come check-out time underlines the importance of inventories. Landlords must produce a detailed inventory at the beginning of all new tenancy agreements, with photographs of all rooms in the house.
This will not only let landlords cross-examine during regular inspections, but will also be imperative should any dispute occur. Buy-to-let landlords should ensure that their tenants are given a copy of an inventory, which they have signed, before entering into an agreement.