Cleaning is the number one dispute between tenants and their landlords when it comes to reclaiming their deposit upon leaving a property, says the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme says that the proportion of disputes arising over cleanliness grew from 49% five-year's ago to 56% last year and they are now at the highest since the deposit scheme was created in 2007.
The AIIC says that the main cleaning issues they come across include dirty ovens which may cost up to £80 to have professionally cleaned and this cost is a source of ‘amazement’ to tenants. The build-up of grease in the kitchen and on surfaces is also a problem
Tenants hide damage to property
There's also a problem with marked and stained carpets with some tenants attempting to hide damage under furniture and rugs.
Landlords are also concerned about the build-up of cobwebs and thick dust, particularly on ceilings, and with the build-up of limescale to bathroom and kitchen fittings.
The AIIC's chair, Pat Barber, said: “There is a sharp rise in properties requiring professional cleaning when tenants check-out. This is a growing problem and there's a general lack of respect from tenants for property.”
She added that some tenants also claimed that cleaning issues were simply 'wear and tear' and she pointed out that tenants should leave a property as they found it.
Landlords need a thorough inventory at check-in
Ms Barber added: “It is vital that agents and landlords prepare a proper inventory and then carry out a thorough check-in and check-out which provides proof of condition for the start and end of a tenancy agreement.”
When new tenants are checked into a property, the landlord should point out the areas that need cleaning and of the potential costs of hiring in professional cleaners. It should also be reiterated that the property should be returned in the same state of cleanliness as when the tenant moved in.
Buy to let landlords commit to portfolio
Meanwhile, research has revealed that increasing numbers of buy to let landlords are committing to developing their portfolio in the long term.
Precise Mortgages says that 35% of landlords questioned said their investment was a long-term investment strategy and that 27% are planning to keep their buy to let property portfolio beyond retirement.
In addition, 18% of landlords are planning to increase their portfolio by one or two properties a year with 7% is aiming to add five properties each year.
The firm points out that recent changes to the UK’s pensions legislation means that a new generation of buy to let investors will become attracted to the sector for retirement and financial planning reasons.
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