DIY End Of Tenancy Cleaning Guide for London and UK
The trick to a hassle-free exit from your lease is organising your cleaning regime within a proper time-frame.
Use these tips to make your next end of tenancy cleaning a success.
Tidyups.co.uk is a professional end of tenancy cleaning company offering all aspects of end of tenancy cleaning services in London and across UK – (They do not cover Ireland at the moment). If you need end of tenancy cleaning carried out in your rental property or the property you are moving into, please call: 07506 709450 now
One month before your tenancy ends
- In most cases, your tenancy agreement will include a term that says your carpets and upholstery must be professionally cleaned before you vacate the property. Now is the time to book in a professional carpet cleaner to arrive the day before you hand the keys back to the agent/landlord. Remember to keep a copy of the invoice!
- Your tenancy agreement may also specify that you need to have pest control done on your property (especially if you’ve had pets). As a tenant, you’re responsible for leaving the property pest-free. Use the next few weeks to organise a professional pest control operator to spray your property.
- Does your property have lawns/garden? If so, make sure they’re mowed in the final week of your tenancy. If you don’t own a mower to do this yourself, book a gardener/handyman to mow the lawns for you.
- Cancel your utilities (where and when appropriate).
Take clear and precise pictures of your meter readings both electric, gas and water.
Seven days before your tenancy ends
Clean outside your rental property
- Clean and sweep out your garage, front yard, backyard and if you have a decking or porch.
- Does your floor need de-greasing?
- Remove any leftover cobwebs and spray the outdoor area with insect spray.
- Remove all weeds, cut back your bushes, mow the lawns and spray the area with weed killer (if necessary).
- Do you need to replace any dead plants?
- If you have any leftover rubbish in the backyard, keep an eye out for cigarette butts and bottle tops left around the garden and remove them before you leave.
- Scrub down and pressure / jet wash your patio and driveway and pay special attention to any residual oil spill or tyre marks from your car / van.
Clean inside your rental property
- Remove and wash your light fittings, then dry and replace.
- Check your light globes – are they in working order? Change and replace any globes that have blown.
- Look at your curtains and blinds. Can you spot any dirt, dust or marks? If you have Venetian blinds, it’s a good idea to wipe them clean slat by slat. Some curtains may be able to be washed. If not, vacuuming may help to remove any leftover dirt and dust.
- If you have an air conditioner or ceiling fans, wipe them clean (and the internal filters). Same goes for your smoke alarms. Remove the exhaust fans in the kitchen, toilet and bathroom and then wash and replace.
- Are there any fly spots or inspect spots on your ceilings? Use sugar soap or a mild detergent in a bucket of warm water with a sponge. (But test a small spot first to ensure your paint stays intact).
Three days before your tenancy ends
Clean your windows
- Get your windows in top shape by clearing all the cobwebs outside the house with a cobweb remover or broom.
- Have a look at your window tracks and clear them of dirt and build-up by carefully running a screwdriver along the tracks to release any dirt. Get in there with a vacuum (the narrowest nozzle you have) and then wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- Place a screwdriver under the screen, lift up and slide it to the left or right, before pulling it out and removing the fly screen. Don’t force your screens because they will bend easily. Hose down the fly screen if necessary.
- Handy tip: Flyscreens too tight? Or do you have security screens or second-storey windows? The sliding windows will generally come out from the inside. Just check to see if you need to loosen the screws at the top of the window (but don’t forget to tighten them back up).
How to squeegee a window
- Use a scourer sponge to soap up your window and remove all dirt and build-up. Now the window is all wet and soapy, wipe the top edge with a dry towel to help reduce streaking. Slide your squeegee down the window with a firm, steady pressure.
- After each stroke, dry your squeegee blade and continue until you’re finished. To avoid lines, make sure each stroke is slightly overlapping the last.
- Finally, dry the edges and remove any remaining marks on the windows with a clean towel. Wipe the frame and the window ledge.
- Handy tip: Your internal windows can be cleaned the same way – use less water on your sponge and place a towel under the window to prevent any internal water damage. (You can apply this technique to large mirrors and shower screens too!)
Two days before your lease ends (your final day of cleaning)
Clean your toilets
- It’s time to disinfect and clean all parts of your toilet, together with the fittings, cistern, behind your toilet and the pipes. The best practice is to use a spray disinfectant, paper towel and some disposable gloves (this keeps everything safe and hygienic).
- Clean your wall tiles with the spray disinfectant and a cloth and wash any dirty walls down. Finally, scrub the inside of the bowl with toilet bowl cleaner and a toilet brush.
Your living areas, bedrooms and corridors
- Vacuum your wardrobes and cupboards and wash with warm, soapy water before drying. Remove any personal hooks, posters or sticky tape as well as residue. Any cobwebs or marks on your walls? Consider washing them down with sugar soap or a mild detergent in a bucket. Pay close attention to your light switches.
- To clean your oven, remove all parts (range hood, stove, and knobs if they come off). Soak in hot, soapy water overnight. Scrub with a firm scourer until clean. Clean your oven glass as per oven cleaner directions. Pay special attention to the glass.
- Fridge and Freezer should be emptied, turned off and defrosted and cleaned to the highest standards.
- Dishwasher should be cleaned with hot water either with a dish-washing gel or with soapy cloth.
- Washing Machine seal and sides and front should be cleaned properly. If it is trouble free to take washing machine out and clean it from behind, that is even better.
- Microwave, Toaster and other appliances should be cleaned as well.
- To start your bathroom clean, vacuum your bathroom. This will remove any hair and loose objects before you get started. Wet down your shower with a crème cleanser and a scourer sponge. Pay special attention to the corners, door frame and top of shower until there’s no soap scum, mould or rust stains. Check to make sure your drain is hair free! Rinse your shower with water and squeegee your shower glass.
- Your laundry sink may have a calcium or rust build-up. You can remove this with a crème cleanser and scourer sponge. Check your laundry cupboards, you may need to apply the same process here. Wipe down all tap fittings and surrounding wall tiles. Scrub any final marks off the floor with the crème cleanser.
- Finally, vacuum your entire house. This will make sure it’s ready for the carpet cleaner to arrive tomorrow. Sweep any hard floors and, as a last step, mop. Don’t leave any hair or debris on the floor. Do a final sweep of your patio.
One day before you return your keys
- Your carpets and upholstery should be professionally cleaned today. Once it’s completed, do a final walk-through with this checklist to ensure your property is in the correct handover state to avoid any tenancy disputes with your rental deposit.
Mould in rental properties – who is responsible?
Whether you rent or own your property, it’s not uncommon to encounter a mould issue at some stage during the year if conditions become damp.
Here are some tips to help you avoid inviting mould into your home.
What is mould?
Mould is a fungal growth that thrives on moisture. It can grow in your home during the wetter months when conditions are damp, dark and poorly ventilated. Mould can grow in your bathroom, kitchen, cluttered storage areas, wall and roof spaces and behind furniture.
What health issues can mould cause?
When mould dries out or is disturbed, it releases spores which can cause illness in some people. It can also exacerbate existing health issues. This can include conditions like asthma, respiratory infections, sinus problems, rashes and watery, itchy red eyes.
Mould can also cause unpleasant odours and damage to building materials, contents and structures which may lead to expensive maintenance or management costs.
Where does mould come from?
Preventing mould at home requires a joint effort by you and your landlord. It’s important to stop moisture from entering your home and growing once it’s inside.
A few common culprits of mould include:
- surface water leaking into your property
- rising damp
- rain leaking into your house through the roof or walls
- poor ventilation
- showering, cooking and boiling without proper ventilation (exhaust fans/open windows)
- using clothes dryers and unflued gas heaters without proper ventilation
- indoor plumbing leaks
- indoor liquid spills
- storing large amounts of water-absorbent materials, such as books or cardboard boxes in a damp space
Both the tenant and landlord can be held responsible for damage caused by mould, depending on the circumstances.
The tenant’s responsibility for mould
If you’re renting property in London or anywhere in UK, you must:
- keep your rental property in a reasonable state of cleanliness;
- not intentionally or negligently cause or permit damage; and
- let your landlord or real estate agent know about any damage, as soon as possible.
As a tenant, you may be in breach of your rental or lease agreement if mould develops because you:
- got the carpet wet and failed to treat it or let it dry out properly;
- didn’t aerate the bathroom by using exhaust fans or opening windows;
- left pools of water on the tiles outside the shower and let scum building up; or
- dried clothes indoors and didn’t air the room afterwards.
Has mould caused damage to your premises or belongings? You can ask your state’s Magistrates Court for compensation. Keep in mind that while your landlord could be at fault for causing the damage, you should make every reasonable effort to ensure you don’t suffer any losses.
You’ll need evidence if your matter is going to the Tribunal. Photographs are a great form of evidence. If you have a serious mould issue, take photographs of the problem area and include these in your evidence.
Another way to produce evidence is by using a report from a company that assesses mould contamination. These reports can be pricey, but you need to isolate the cause of the mould and find out how safe your house is to live in, they can be a good idea.
If you want to make a claim for items that you’ve lost or had to have cleaned because of the mould, make an itemised list and be sure to include any invoices and receipts.
The landlord’s responsibility for mould
Under tenancy law, property owners acting as the landlord must:
- keep the rental premises in a reasonable state of repair;
- meet building, health and safety requirements; and
- ensure repairs are undertaken in a reasonable period of time.
As a landlord, you could be facing a breach of the rental agreement if mould develops as a result of not attending to maintenance matters reported by the tenant, such as:
- damp walls caused by plumbing issues;
- a broken exhaust fan or wall-mounted heating unit; or
- a leaky roof, broken pipe or flood damage.
The key to keeping your rental property free of mould is common sense. If you’re a tenant, keep your home reasonably clean and stay in touch with your landlord. Tell them in writing as soon as you notice mould in your home that can’t be easily fixed.
If your valuables are being affected by mould, clean them quickly and put them somewhere that they won’t be damaged. For example, you should remove your clothing from a wardrobe where mould is growing.
How to remove mould from your home, flat or business premises
A simple, more gentle way to remove mould from your home is by using white distilled vinegar. To make your solution, pour it into a spray bottle without watering it down. Spray your vinegar onto the mouldy surface in your home and leave it for an hour before wiping it clean with water.
If you’d prefer to go down the chemical route, bleach will kill mould spores on the surface of your affected surfaces – but vinegar is strong enough that it will kill the mould at the roots.
Landlord rights and responsibilities – final inspection
When a tenant vacates your property, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities to avoid disputes and potentially save time and money.
What is a final end of tenancy inspection?
A final end of tenancy and lease inspection is what you carry out once your tenant has ended the tenancy and delivered a vacant property. When this inspection is carried out (either by you or your managing agent and inventory clerk), the property should be compared against the Property Condition Report.
The Property Condition Report is a report that’s carried out prior to your tenant moving into your property. It is a comprehensive document, which details the condition of your property, including any damages that were present prior to the tenant moving in.
If you self-manage your property, make sure you carry out this report very thoroughly. It’s a common area for discrepancies.
Your rights and responsibilities as a landlord
As a landlord, you have to uphold a number of responsibilities. Of course, as with most things in the property management industry, there is state and territory-specific legislation to protect your rights and your tenant’s rights.
You’re entitled to have your property returned to you in a clean and undamaged condition at the end of a tenancy. There is, however, a difference between deliberate damage caused by recklessness and neglect and fair wear and tear. Your tenant is not responsible for fair wear and tear on your property.
Conducting the final inspection
As soon as possible, you or your must:
- Conduct a final inspection of the property;
- Prepare the final condition report describing the condition of the property; and
- Provide a copy of that report to the tenant.
You must give your tenant a reasonable opportunity to attend this final inspection. It’s in the best interests of both you and your tenant to undertake a joint inspection at the time they move out and to arrange for the return of the property keys.
Use your Property Condition Report
At the end of a tenancy or lease, make use of the Property Condition Report you prepared at the beginning. Compare the condition of each item against the original details and discuss any issues like breakages, damages or missing items with the tenant.
Doing this will let you work out what’s outstanding from your tenant, such as:
- rent arrears;
- outstanding water, gas and electricity bills;
- cleaning costs (if the property was not left in a clean condition); or
- damage to the property and contents belonging to you (if applicable).
How to cost repairs
You can hold your tenant liable for any wilful or neglectful damage they cause during their tenancy. However, unless your tenant has caused total havoc on your fixtures or fittings, it can be tough to determine what amount to charge for damages to contents. Generally speaking, if the damage can be reasonably repaired, only the repair costs can be charged.
If the damage is severe (i.e. carpet damage, which could require replacing), your tenant would be liable to pay for replacing the damaged carpet with one of similar quality to the original.
It can, however, be more difficult to assess burn marks or stains that can’t be removed. Consider factors like the age of your property and the size and location of the damage. Where possible, try to negotiate the sum of money that should be deducted from the tenant’s bond as compensation.
Keep everything civil
Where possible, make every effort to agree with your vacating tenant on deductions from the security bond. If you cannot come to an agreement, try to compromise. If this still doesn’t go to plan, the rent disposal will need to be resolved either in small claims court or with TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme).
Return of the keys
At the end of the tenancy, your tenant is responsible for returning all sets of keys provided to them. If they don’t return the keys, you can hold them responsible for the cost of changing the locks or charge them rent until the keys are returned.
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