Playing dirty? UK tenants have an average of £250 deducted from their deposit for cleaning-related issues

New data has revealed that UK renters are losing a staggering £724 million from their deposit every year, or £250 per tenancy, due to cleaning-related deductions. A survey by SpareRoom found the extent of the issue, with 63 per cent seeing cleaning costs deducted at the end of their tenancy.

The deductions were due to claims that the property had not been sufficiently cleaned after the tenants had moved out, with landlords saying they needed to pay for professional services before the property could welcome new tenants.

While the average deduction was £250, the survey found that 29 per cent had paid over £500 and 16 per cent over £750. It seems renters rarely questioned these payments with only a third, or 34 per cent, contesting them. Of those that did put up a challenge, the success rate was just under half, with 41 per cent reaching an agreement with their landlord to reduce or entirely cancel the costs. Overall, only 17 per cent of renters said they had paid for a professional clean prior to moving out.

“Navigating the moving out process can be a stressful one, for both renters and landlords, and ultimately landlords want to ensure their property is left in a good condition as much as renters want their deposits back,” says Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom Director.

“Although landlords can’t legally demand that tenants pay for professional cleaning, to minimise the risk of cleaning-related deposit deductions, renters should ensure that they’ve conducted a thorough clean either themselves or using a professional service, as well as staying on top of cleaning throughout the tenancy. It can be a tricky road to navigate, but transparent landlord-tenant conversations throughout the process can help to ensure there are no surprise deductions at the end of the road.”

Dishing the dirt

playing dirty? uk tenants have an average of £250 deducted from their deposit for cleaning-related issues

Houses in London (PA Archive)

The research also revealed the areas of the home and everyday appliances that people tended to put off cleaning. Top of the list was the oven. In order toavoid the build up of grease, ovens should be deep-cleaned every three months, but 13 per cent of the renters SpareRoom spoke to admitted they’d never cleaned it.

Next up was the dishwasher, which 31 per cent of renters said they’d never tackled. While a dishwasher does a lot of cleaning for you, it still needs its own refresh. Using a dishwasher cleaner and running a cycle will remove mineral build-up and any detergent residue that has become trapped in the machine.

Windows were also a problem area that aren’t given the attention they deserve. 11 per cent of tenants admitted to never washing their windows. Inevitably, this leads to streaks and dirt building up, especially on busy roads in the capital. A professional window cleaner should be engaged twice a year to give your windows a spruce-up. A bonus is that it will also make your home lighter and brighter.

The fridge was one appliance that British renters did clean regularly. It’s recommended you clean your fridge every few months, but 24 per cent said they actually do a fridge deep clean every week!

Contentious issue

It will come as little surprise to anyone who has rented in a flat share that cleaning is a real bone of contention. Almost three in five renters – that’s 59 per cent – said they’d experienced arguments with flatmates over cleaningresponsibilities. This is despite ‘similar standards of cleanliness’ ranking second in a recent SpareRoom poll of the most important flatmate characteristics.

While 27 per cent of renters say that they’ve created a cleaning rota to decide who cleans what and when, 28 per cent don’t have a system at all and just chip in as and when it’s required.

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