Letting agent trying to deduct for professional cleaning

(69 Posts)
ShoeEatingMonster Wed 03-Aug-16 15:30:05

We gave the keys to our rental flat back on Sat (technically didn't have to be out until the Sunday) We've been in our new place since the start of the month so it's been empty to allow us to clean.
Anyway, the letting agents did their inventory check out on Tuesday and we've just had an email through stating that the landlady has asked for professional cleaners to be brought in to deal with the issues in the report (see below) and that if we're happy to take it out of the deposit to let them know. I'm not going to quibble over what I think are very minor issues some of which aren't even us but my issue is that they haven't said how much they what to deduct. The carpets have all been professionally cleaned as per the tenancy agreement. The report is loooooong but I've copied and pasted to show their wording:

**The detailed report is as follows:
Entrance Hall:

The floor would benefit from mopping to remove prints from footwear.

Lounge:

The walls are very slightly scuffed at low level.

The skirting boards are a little dusty, especially beneath the radiators.

The white curtains are of slightly soiled appearance with a number of very small dot marks in a line on one curtain.

Bathroom:

The sanitary ware (especially behind the WC) could be slightly cleaner.

The mirrored door to the cabinet could be slightly cleaner.

There are some oval deposits/marks on the tiled window sill, probably from the bottom of plastic soap bottles etc.

Bedroom One:

The drawers are a little dusty within and some human hair is present.

The mirror to the dressing table could be slightly cleaner. There are four small sticky marks to the top left corner where a sticker may have been applied and removed.

One of the bulbs in the recess above the bed is not working.

There is a sizable darkish mark just to the front right of the dressing table. This seems not to have been removable during the cleaning process. Some other slight marks were noted.

Bedroom Two:

A further bulb in the four spot fitting has failed, making two in total. The fitting is a little dusty.

Kitchen:

A screw appears to have been added to the wall above the radiator.

Only three of the four window lock keys were present (they all appear to be the same profile so the loss of one has little/no impact).

The sides of the dishwasher door that are not subject to the washing action could be cleaner.

The glass door to the oven could be cleaner.

The top of the extractor hood is a little greasy and dusty.

A round glass wall clock appears to have been left together with three GU10 type light bulbs in a box.

There are some light liquid spill marks to some of the cupboard doors.

The external wooden door to the integrated washing machine is not aligned correctly. The hinges appear to have been changed at some point.

The skirting boards are a little dusty in places.

The vinyl flooring has light debris in some of the corners.**

We left that flat having cleaned it from top to bottom. I'd agree with the stain on the carpet and oven door which I couldn't shift but deny the rest. Especially footprints in the hall. The carpet cleaner was in before the checkout and presumably it was him the left the footprints cos they weren't there when we left. He also didn't put the alarm on which is being blamed on us!

I've emailed and asked for an exact breakdown of what they want to deduct. There is no set standard for cleanliness in the tenancy agreement it just says deposit can be used to cover cleaning costs. Considering it says at the beginning of the report that the flat is a generally clean state and they say things 'could be cleaner' surely that's subjective?
If he comes back with a set price we can agree on we'll pay to avoid the hassle but if not I will fight them. I am not agreeing to pay an unspecified amount for a job I don't believe needs doing. Any advice?

wowfudge Wed 03-Aug-16 15:44:41

When does the inventory you were given when you moved in state about all the points that are being raised at check out?

Are there photos of the condition?

Sounds to me as though you should dispute everything via the deposit scheme your deposit is registered with.

Scrumptiousbears Wed 03-Aug-16 15:47:56

When did you actually clean? Was it a whilst ago therefore dust has resettled or made worse but the carpet man?

The process is the LL via the estate agent should tell you how much of the deposit they want to take. If you agree then grate, the deposit gets returned minus the amount agreed.

If you don't agree to all of it you can counter that and explain your reasons and over an alternative. Eg were all the bulbs working when you got there? If not you don't have to leave them, if they were then buy replacement bulbs etc.

Was the property professionally cleaned before you got it? By this I mean did the LL clean it or did a company go in?

Ultimately if you cannot come to an agreement the next step is applying to the deposit holding company who will look at the LL report, estate agents inventory and your rely and make a final decision. However if the place was not professionally cleaned to begin with then they will not authorise a professional clean in return, at best they will allocate a compensation figure to cover the LL to do it themselves.

andintothefire Wed 03-Aug-16 15:50:46

I would probably offer to pay for about three hours of professional cleaning for everything other than carpets which have already been done - it doesn't sound as though the issues merit more than that. It will probably cost you about £50 - £60 including cleaning material. I know it's annoying when you have cleaned the house, but professional cleaners do a more thorough job, and generally I would probably expect to move into a flat that had been professionally cleaned (and to pay for that when moving out).

But definitely don't let them deduct any amount without agreeing it first.

scaryteacher Wed 03-Aug-16 15:50:56

It seems reasonable to me, but then, it has to be perfect, down to the inside of the window frames and tops of doors, when you leave a Married Quarter; and now we rent privately in Belgium, we would be charged through the nose for that lot you've listed.

wowfudge Wed 03-Aug-16 15:54:35

I wouldn't agree to pay anything without reading the original inventory first. 'Could be cleaner' - they're not saying it's dirty are they? Dispute it OP.

19lottie82 Wed 03-Aug-16 16:00:53

You don't HAVE to pay for a professional cleaner (and it doesn't matter what your lease says), but the property must be in the same condition as when you took it on.

If the letting agent wants to dispute that this isn't the case, they must provide photos from before and after your tenancy. In the form of a dual signed inventory and a check out report. Have they?

ShoeEatingMonster Wed 03-Aug-16 18:14:20

I've been hunting and can't find a copy of the initial inventory. I have a feeling we had to sign it and send it back. I will ask for a copy but I suspect it will say everything was clean or not mention the cleanliness at all.
There is no way the place was professionally cleaned before we moved in. If they can produce the receipt saying it was then I'll happily pay. I know they won't wink as the landlord isn't entitled to betterment I think that's the argument we are going to go with.
We've gone above by cleaning the carpets professionally when they were covered in dog hair when we moved in and hadn't been professionally cleaned.
I've emailed him asking for a breakdown of costs. No word yet.
I've got photos I took when we moved out but nothing up close enough to see dust on skirting boards!
To the poster that asked we did most of the cleaning a week before we moved out but came back to do the floors just before we gave the keys back.
We think they might be trying it on. We had a disagreement with this guy when they asked us to give the keys back 3 weeks before the end of out tenancy as they knew we had moved out and LL wanted to decorate ready for the next tenant so they could move in earlier. This would have meant us rushing to clean and we wanted something back in return seeing as she'd be getting double rent ie not having to pay for the carpet cleaner or getting refund of rent. They refused and this particular guy sent a really arsey email outlining all of our contractual agreements blah blah. Anyway we refused to give the keys back early. His email about the deposit was much more friendly in nature and almost more of a suggestion. Knowing this guy if he thought he had one over us his email would have been firmer.
Sorry that was a bit of a ramble blush

ShoeEatingMonster Thu 04-Aug-16 11:20:30

Last night we were cc'd into an email from the landlady listing another 20 things she doesn't think are good enough.

This is not going to end well!

Can anyone point me towards a legal definition of wear and tear? She's complaining about scuff marks on skirting boards which are surely wear and tear?

PageStillNotFound404 Thu 04-Aug-16 11:27:45

This is a good guideline document OP - sets out what a deposit protection ADR considers, and covers the areas of cleaning and wear and tear:

www.depositprotection.com/documents/a-guide-to-tenancy-deposits-disputes-and-damages.pdf

TrivialPursuit Thu 04-Aug-16 11:30:23

They cannot ask for betterment. That means they cannot ask you to have the place professionally cleaned on departure, unless it was professionally cleaned upon arrival (and they can provide the receipts to prove it).

Is your deposit protected?

ShoeEatingMonster Thu 04-Aug-16 11:35:04

Thanks Page I'll take a look

Trivial - yes deposit is protected. Everything says we have to try and sort it mutually through letting agent before raising an official dispute.

Still no itemised list with costs from the letting agent. If they come back with a decent amount we'll accept for a quiet life. If not I will raise a dispute.

TrivialPursuit Thu 04-Aug-16 11:36:47

Just ask for a complete list of all their claims, reminding them that you will not agree to betterment and they should not ask for it.

Then when you get it, go through it point by point. Insist of everything in writing - the agent is paid to be on the LL's side - so only correspond by email as then you have proof of what was said and what was offered.

If you can reach an equitable agreement, then request that your case go to arbitration. The letting agents like to threaten arbitration, hoping the tenant will be intimidated, but actually arbitration usually finds int eh tenant's favour.

This is the definition of betterment taken from ARLA: The landlord should not end up, either financially or materially, in a better position than he was at commencement of the tenancy, or than he would have been at the end of the tenancy having allowed for fair wear and tear.

LifeInJeneral Thu 04-Aug-16 11:47:37

Agree with others, only has to be up to the standard it was when you moved in so unless they can prove it was professionally cleaned prior to moving in you can refuse and take it to dispute resolution but it will take a while to get your deposit back.
Do you have a receipt for floor cleaning? If so.they wkll have to write off any charges for floors as you have proof it has been professionally cleaned.

MephistoMarley Thu 04-Aug-16 11:49:51

How long have you lived there? Scuff marks on the walls are wear and tear unless they are great big smears or gouges.
If it wasn't professionally cleaned when you moved in then you don't pay for it to be done now.

ShoeEatingMonster Thu 04-Aug-16 11:54:47

Lived there two years.

To give you an idea this is one of the rooms that she deeps to have "all walls are heavily scuffed at a low level". I can't see any!

celeste83 Thu 04-Aug-16 12:02:20

Sound quite picky. How much are they wanting to deduct? If you have to pay then i'd ask for invoice from professional cleaners to prove the money was actually spent on that.

ShoeEatingMonster Thu 04-Aug-16 12:05:57

That's the problem celeste. They haven't said how much! The email simply said:

Your Landlord required me to instruct cleaners to attend to the above issues. Cleaners charge £10 per hour subject to a minimum £30 plus materials.

If you agree that the above costs can be deducted from your deposit, the balance can be paid directly into your account. In which case please can you confirm bank details of where you want the money to be paid.

Still waiting for a breakdown of costs! The landlady apparently wants to be there when the cleaners come. DP is convinced that she will string out the cleaning and charge us for it.

YelloDraw Thu 04-Aug-16 12:08:19

I agree with MephistoMarley that scuff marks are wear and tear. That is why LL need to redecoate every [x] years.

Personally I always redecorated between tenants if they had been there 2 years +,

CocktailQueen Thu 04-Aug-16 12:09:53

Sounds extremely picky as and if they're just looking for things to find fault with/an excuse to take some of your deposit.

Agree with others: ask for proof that they had the place professionally cleaned before you moved in. Remind them about the dog hair on carpets, say you had carpets professionally cleaned on moving out but that you have cleaned to the same standard as when you moved in. The onus is on them to prove prior cleaning.

AnotherEmma Thu 04-Aug-16 12:10:24

Some landlords do take the piss when it comes to this kind of thing, unfortunately, and it sounds like yours is one of them. The good news is that the law is on your side. You don't have to pay for professional cleaning unless the landlord can provide inventories and photos from the start and end of the tenancy to prove that you left the place in a considerably worse state than it was when you moved in. If your landlord can't do that, you will get all your deposit back.

I suggest that you tell the agent and landlord that you won't accept any deductions from the deposit. If they insist on making deductions, stop engaging with them and just go through the deposit protection scheme.

If you want more information or advice on this, Shelter are very good:
m.england.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/tenancy_deposits/getting_your_deposit_back

MissClarke86 Thu 04-Aug-16 12:12:03

I HATE agency's for this. Mine did the and, even remarking in a cobweb on a light fitting!

I had a major rant back at them refusing to pay what they requested and in the end they backed down on a lot of it. They WILL try their luck with you.

Also, are they really telling you that they wouldn't have to professionally spruced up before allowing new tenants in anyway? Of course they would, they're just wanting you to make it cheaper for them.

Absolute con artists.

VodkaValiumLattePlease Thu 04-Aug-16 12:13:07

Was the carpet cleaner hired by you or the landlady/estate agent?

AnotherEmma Thu 04-Aug-16 12:14:00

Years ago we moved out of a rented property and the landlord wanted to charge us for professional end of tenancy cleaning, carpet cleaning and stain protection (!)
We disputed the charges as we had cleaned the property very thoroughly ourselves, we even hired a carpet cleaning machine to clean the carpets. We left the place cleaner than it was when we moved in.
It went to the deposit protection scheme and we got the whole deposit back.

ShoeEatingMonster Thu 04-Aug-16 12:17:39

Carpet cleaner was the agent's preferred contractor and was the same price as the others so we went with him. He wanted to go in after we'd handed they keys back. We left the money with the letting agents and got an acknowledgement of leaving it incase they tried to screw us over.

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