The issue of tenants not cleaning their homes properly is still a problem in deposit disputes, with a 50% rise in complaints over the past five years, according to the Tenanty Deposit Scheme (TDS).
In a recent report, the TDS says that cleaning has stubbornly remained in first position and accounts for 58% of the cases they deal with. Indeed, last year the proportion of cleaning disputes rose again and is now running at its highest since the scheme began.
After cleaning issues, the next most common cause of disputes is for tenants causing damage to property. Redecoration issues, problems with gardening, and rent arrears also make up the top five list for deposit disputes.
Letting agents and landlords are increasingly being faced with tenants leaving dirty properties, says Imfuna Let.
Tenants often surprised by cleaning deductions
The firm's chief executive, Jax Kneppers, said: “Many tenants are often surprised to be told that professional cleaning will be required after they fail to leave their property at checkout in the same condition when they moved in.
“Some claim that cleaning is normal 'wear and tear' but if an item or area was clean when they moved in it should be clean when they move out.” He added that the most common issues for cleaning are for marked and stained carpets, dirty ovens, and heavy limescale on bathroom and kitchen fittings.
There are also common problems with grease deposits in the kitchen, dirty cupboards and surfaces, and cobwebs and thick dust around furniture and ceilings. Mr Kneppers also warned that landlords wanting to make a deduction from the tenant’s deposit for their cleaning costs should record thoroughly the property's cleanliness when the tenancy began.
Landlord confidence is low
Meanwhile, a new survey has revealed that landlord confidence is low, and it's mainly down to the changes to tax relief which will affect profitability of rental property. Indeed, 59% of landlords questioned said that their own profitability will be affected and, according to BDRC Continental, landlords’ confidence is now at its lowest since the last quarter of 2006.
A director at BDRC, Mark Long, said: “Private landlords are concerned about the Budget's impact as tax relief for landlords with private rental properties was reduced.”
Landlords increasingly considering creating limited companies
The firm's research also reveals that one in three landlords are considering creating a limited company to run their business, and 70% have used buy-to-let mortgages to build their portfolio and now have 6.3 loans, on average, with an outstanding amount of £723,000.
Though landlords may not be confident about their prospects for profitability, they do report that tenant demand is still growing, with 39% reporting strong demand for rented homes in their area.
It's also noteworthy that despite the changes to tax relief, 72% of landlords believe that investing and renting property still delivers better returns than other investments do.