Since the introduction of tenant deposit protection in 2007, cleaning has been the main cause of disputes and the problem is getting worse, according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).
The annual review by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) for 2012-13 highlights the types of disputes that arise at the end of a tenancy. The most common cause of complaint brought by tenants is about cleaning, increasing from 49% in 2009 to 56% in 2013.
Pat Barber, chair of the AIIC, said it is seeing a sharp rise in the number of properties that require professional cleaning services at check-out and it is a growing problem.
"There is a general lack of respect for property by tenants with a change in tenant’s hygiene standards. Many tenants fail to leave their property in the same condition when they leave a property and we have seen many properties left in a filthy state.
“The main problems are dirty ovens and fridges; stains and marks on carpeting and flooring; bathrooms which have not been cleaned for months; and pet hair and excrement on floors, furniture and soft furnishings.”
According to the TDS, many tenants claim that the cleanliness of the property at the start of the tenancy was not clear, or that the tenancy agreement did not make clear what was expected of them.
“At the check-out stage, the tenant should be made aware of the areas requiring cleaning and the potential cost involved. It is important to remember that the tenant is only obliged to return the property in the same state of cleanliness as at the start of the tenancy, after allowing for fair wear and tear,” says Barber.