How to avoid carpet cleaning disputes – guidelines for landlords and tenants Pt 2

This is the second part of an article that looks at the common issue of carpet cleaning (the first part was here)

8. Terms such as ‘professional cleaning’ and ‘cleaned to a professional standard’ are ambiguous terms for which there is no legal or standard definition. Use of the word ‘professional’ suggests the tenant must pay for cleaning. Given that tenants are capable of cleaning to the same standard as some ‘professional’ cleaners consider how meaningful these terms are. Consider also the cases where the tenant cleans carpets as a profession or the tenant owns their own carpet cleaning equipment – several of our tenants are professional cleaners who own and manage their own cleaning businesses!

9. It is unreasonable to expect the carpets to be professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy if they are returned in a condition the same as if they were professionally cleaned.

10. If you expect a tenant to have carpets professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy, you would need to be able to show that they were professionally cleaned at the start.

11. In everyday use carpets collect dirt in the form of food particles, household dust, dust mites, dirt and grit from footwear, perspiration, dead skin and hair to name just a few. A vacuum cleaner alone will not remove all dirt collected in a carpet and will not ‘clean’ carpets to as clean a condition as they were at the start of the tenancy. Is it fair for occupiers (tenants or owner/occupiers) to expect the next occupier of a property to inherit their dirt? We would suggest not so always advocate carpets are ‘cleaned’ at the end of each period of occupation.

12. The Competition and Markets Authority consider end of tenancy cleaning charges to be unfair if they are vague or unclear on what basis the money is being demanded, or the extent of the cleaning involved. Reference: Section 4.4 of Guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements here

13. If the dispute over cleaning goes through to the Alternative Deposit Resolution Service (ADR) an adjudicator will make a decision on how the disputed deposit amount is to be distributed between the parties based on the evidence submitted. Comparative evidence is required to establish the condition of the carpet at the beginning and end of the tenancy and should be both conclusive and robust.

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