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Hello,

 

We have just given notice to vacate our property after after being here almost 3 years. We signed a 6 month AST back in 2012 and have been on a rolling contract ever since. About 9 months ago we received a letter informing us that our tenancy was being transferred to new agents as ours were retiring abroad, and have since had several inspections from the new agents, but signed no new contracts or agreements.

 

Our contract with the original agents was quite basic and reflected the state of the property. We asked about paying a higher deposit as we had pets (something we’ve always done before) and having the property professionally cleaned when we leave (also always done before) but were told that it was not necessary, and the contract reflects this as nowhere does it state either. The inventory actually describes the carpets and walls as “grubby, stained and marked.” Under "checking out" it says that we need to leave the property clean and tidy, and ensure items listed in the inventory are returned to their original position. Thats all.

 

We have now received a checklist from the new agents of things to be done prior to vacating, and it includes getting the carpets professionally cleaned and proving so with a receipt. Do we have to do this? We have no contract with this agent, and I appreciate they have high standards, but the previous agents and landlord didn’t and I don’t think it’s fair to expect us to make good marks and stains that were there when we moved in. It hadn’t even been dusted or cleaned when we moved in – it was awful. We will obviously clean from top to bottom and leave it in a much better state than when we moved in.

 

Similarly, we asked for permission to decorate and kept colours neutral as requested – light blue that used to be dark brown, and white that used to be lemon. The checklist asks that we return all walls to their original colour.

 

It also asks that we clean the windows externally – which has never been done by the looks of it!

 

Are we within our rights to question these requests? Or is it a case of, they have our deposit so have got us over a barrel?

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It would be my opinion that if you do not have a contract with this agent, that the original contract stands.

 

I would still think that you would need to have the carpets cleaned and perhaps provide a receipt, especially if you have pets. However, if you had permission to paint the walls and there was not mention of returning them to the original colour on leaving, then I cant see they would be able to penalise you for that.

 

I am not sure about cleaning windows, although I would have thought you would have done that anyway. Mowing the lawn, yes.. but weeding !!

 

I am sure you will receive other comments during the day when people are back from their day jobs.


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Thanks for your reply.

 

I’m not sure why we should have to have the carpets professionally cleaned. This has always been something that we have agreed to in advance with previous letting agents, and we have always moved in to properties that are clean and tidy. It definitely wasn’t done before we moved in and to be honest, the carpet needs replacing - it's gross. How can they ask us to do something that wasn’t agreed to before? What is the point in having a contract if they're just going to make additional demands anyway?

 

I deleted the part in my original post about gardening, because we do do that anyway lol, but it just narks me that we are expected to leave it in a superior condition to when we moved in. Even the wheelie bins were full when we moved in, and yet they’re expecting us to empty ours, even though it isn’t bin week the week we move out!

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I do hear what you are saying, it does seem very unfair. However, they do have your deposit and whilst it might not be lawful that they keep any of it.. it could be a long slog getting it back if you have to take action against them :(


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Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

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Have you put your concerns about what they are expecting in the absence of a contract or agreement, in writing to the agent ?


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Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

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you need to email the agents and describe what you are prepared to do as previously understood from the original agreement and get them to check with LL if acceptable and see where you go from there.

If carpets need replacing, not worth cleaning them!!!

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AST is not a Contract with LA, but with LL (LA may have signed it as LL agent).

After 3 yrs (or even 3 mo) I would expect routine cleaning of carpets and windows, inside & out, to be normal T resp.

However, you can return property in any condition you wish and rely on ADR to determine, from move in/out condition reports, whether any deductions claimed, are 'reasonable'. You can minimise your risk by doing some/all of work suggested.

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Sounds like the new agents are just putting out their standard requests. They may not even have the original inventory. I suggest first step is to write to them with a copy of the original inventory and making the point to them that you should not be asked to leave a property in a better state than it was when you moved in, and the inventory is the evidence of its condition at the beginning of the tenancy. Also send them a copy of your current tenancy agreement pointing out what it says about your obligations at the end of the tenancy. It's quite likely that whoever is dealing with it has no idea you aren't on their standard tenancy agreement. They're just assumed all their tenants are on their normal AST form but you aren't. I doubt that whoever deals with check outs bothers to read the file.

 

Most importantly though, what does the tenancy agreement say? There's usually a whole section on maintenance and cleaning. The agreement we had recently said specifically that the tenant had to keep the interior and the fixtures and fittings "in the same decorative order throughout the tenancy" except for fair wear and tear. It did also say that the tenant had to get the premises professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy so if yours says the same you may have to do it notwithstanding the condition when you moved in. But if it isn't in the tenancy agreement I don't think they can impose it. But as others have said, the legal theory and the practical position may be different.

 

I'd have thought a requirement to clean the windows is reasonable, I wouldn't quibble about that.

 

You never know, when you put your points to them they may just say you don't need to.

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