In this issue of the Adjudication Digest, we look at a claim for professional cleaning which was raised by the landlord.

The Adjudication Digest takes a recent decision by a TDS Adjudicator and sets out the reasoning behind the decision. The aim of these Digest reports is to help tenants, landlords and agents better understand how we make our adjudication decisions. The names of the those involved have been removed and this is only a brief summary of the dispute.

Amount of deposit in dispute:     £220.00

Awards made:

To tenant     £160.00

To landlord     £60.00

To agent     £0.00

The landlord wished to claim £220.00 from the tenant’s deposit for cleaning. The tenant’s representative had suggested an offer of £60.00 as it was considered that the tenancy was so short – less than four weeks – that the property could not have warranted a full professional clean. 

The check-in report recorded that the property had been professionally cleaned at the start of the tenancy with some minor oversights identified.

The check-out report also identified that the property had been professionally cleaned. The evidence showed that the professional cleaning had taken place before the check-out of the property. This was because the tenant had not arranged for a professional clean on exit from the property and the landlord had a new tenant moving in the following day, the day of the check-out. The landlord therefore urgently arranged for a professional clean to be carried out, in readiness for the new tenant moving in. An invoice in support of the claim was provided, addressed to the landlord’s agent.

So what are the key points here?

The Adjudicator found in this case that without being supplied with a record of the end of tenancy state of the property prior to the professional cleaning having been carried out, it was not possible to reach a conclusion as to how the property was left when the tenant vacated. In view of this it was not possible to confirm whether or not a claim of £220.00 for cleaning was justified.

Without sufficient evidence of the state of the property at the end of the tenancy, it was not possible to conclude there had been a breach of the tenant’s cleaning obligations under the tenancy agreement. The Adjudicator was unable to justify an award of the full amount claimed but considered the sum offered by the tenant’s representative to be reasonable in that they acknowledged despite the unusually short tenancy, some cleaning was required.

This case highlights the importance of the timing of carrying out check-out reports and contractor’s works.

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