Ask TDS: "What is the difference between professional and domestic cleaning?"

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a government approved scheme for the protection of tenancy deposits; we offer both insured and custodial protection. We also provide fair adjudication disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect. This article has been written in response to a tenant’s query: “What is the difference between professional and domestic cleaning?”

 

When it comes to cleaning, one person’s view of cleanliness can differ from another, regardless of whether they are a landlord, tenant or owner occupier. It is important that tenants be aware that cleaning is not subject to fair wear and tear, meaning that the property should be as clean upon return as it was at the start of the tenancy.

 What does cleaning to a professional standard entail?

Cleaning to a professional standard, while hard to define exactly, generally means cleaning to a high standard. Imagine wiping every surface including covered spaces such as under sofas, or behind doors while wearing white gloves.

Professional cleaning will also cover the cleaning of items such as the extractor fan grilles, dusting light bulbs and cleaning the windows.

Here are some of the tasks you might be expected to complete if cleaning to a professional standard:

  • Empty all trash and replace trash bags
  • Remove cobwebs, dust baseboards
  • Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures
  • Clean window sills and wipe down doors
  • Dust all furniture including bottoms and sides
  • Clean all glass surfaces including smudges on windows
  • Clean and disinfect bathrooms (dust light bulbs and wipe down cabinets)
  • Sweep, Vacuum, Mop all floors
  • Clean kitchen (including inside microwave, top of refrigerator)
  • Defrost fridge/freezer and deep clean the oven, hob and extractor
  • Wipe down kitchen cabinet facings
  • Polish all glass surfaces and stainless steel in kitchen

While this may seem like a long list, professional cleaning services can be expensive so tenants could save themselves from a cleaning charge if they spend the time and effort to clean as thoroughly as they can.

 What will the landlord do if I clean, but not to a professional standard?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this, as it depends on the state of the property at the start and end of the tenancy, what is in the tenancy agreement and a lot of other factors. For simplicity’s sake, let’s make a few assumptions. First, assume that it states in the tenancy agreement that the property must be cleaned to a professional standard and that the property was noted as ‘cleaned to a professional standard’ in the check-in report. Let’s also assume that while the property is clean on the check-out report, there are areas that weren’t cleaned to a professional standard – e.g. the oven wasn’t cleaned and the shower had the early signs of mould in the grout.

In this case, the landlord would be able to make a good case for a compensatory amount to be deducted from the tenant’s deposit. This is why it is incredibly important for you to be aware of the cleaning standard of the property at the start of the tenancy and ensure this is noted in the check-in report.

You might find this article regarding when a landlord can charge a tenant for cleaning a useful resource.


While a domestic level of cleaning is fine during the tenancy, a deeper, more professional standard of cleaning would usually be necessary for the end of a tenancy. Do you have a question you would like TDS to answer? Tweet us using the hashtag #AskTDS.

 


Posted by Zoe Knighton on 31 March 2017

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