In this three-minute read, we look at ways landlords can prevent losing money in disputes about cleaning.
It’s not just couples who bicker over who did or didn’t scrub the bathroom; landlords and tenants can often find themselves at odds on the thorny issue of cleaning.
In fact, it’s the most common cause of landlord/tenant discord – 42% of end-of-tenancy disputes are about cleaning*.
Here are some tips for Bridgwater landlords on how to avoid losing money on cleaning disputes.
Tenants should leave a property in the same condition it was in at the start of the tenancy – with one proviso. Legally, there’s an expectation that wear and tear will take place due to ‘normal and reasonable’ use. Minor scuffs and marks may irritate you, but don’t confuse ‘fair wear and tear’ with cleanliness – or lack of.
Good check-in and check-out reports include photographs (lots of them, not just a few blurry snapshots taken on the hop) and written detail. For example, if you get the carpets professionally cleaned before a tenant moves in, state this in the check-in report (and keep the invoice). If you get into a dispute, you’ll need evidence to back up your claim.
Keep all invoices for work carried out at your property. Ensure they include a date and a clear breakdown of what was done and materials. Also, keep a record of any appliances or furniture that you purchase and conversations you’ve had with the tenant.
Respond to issues
Tenants have a duty to report issues as soon as they arise. The flip side is that if they highlight a problem, you need to rectify it. For example, if a tenant tells you that the bathroom extractor fan isn’t working and you don’t fix it, you’ll be on shaky ground complaining about mould in the shower.
If a tenant isn’t maintaining your property to the standard you expect, you want to know about it as soon as possible so you can raise concerns. The last thing you want is a nasty surprise – and a massive clean-up bill – at the end of a tenancy.
Build a good rapport
If you treat your tenant with respect, there’s a much greater likelihood that they’ll treat your property with respect. If you do find yourself in a dispute, try to be constructive rather than combative.
For more advice about managing a rental property and avoiding tenant disputes, contact us here at Gibbins Richards.
* Data from The Dispute Service and Decorus for Sage.
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