Ask TDS: "My tradesmen left a mess. Who is liable?"

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 for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits that we protect. This article has been written in response to a landlord’s query: “My tradesman left a mess. Who is liable?”


Damage to a rental property can be a pain to repair, but when it is caused by a tradesman you hired, not your tenant – who is liable?

If the tradesman leaves a mess and the tenant reports it.

When a tradesman is called out, usually someone will be in attendance to ensure that the work is completed to a satisfactory level – whether this is the landlord, tenant or agent it doesn’t matter. When the tradesmen have finished, it is the responsibility of the person supervising to ensure that the tradesmen have cleaned up after themselves.

If the tenant returns to the property to find damaged tiles, or paint dust in the carpet – they must report it to the landlord. The landlord should ensure that the mess is cleaned up, either by insisting the tradesmen returns and cleans the property or sending someone else to clean up. If the problem is damage, such as a broken tile or chipped paint, the landlord may choose not to fix the damage but must not attempt to charge the tenant for these damages at the end of the tenancy.

If the tradesman leaves a mess and the tenant doesn’t report it.

If the tenant returns to the property to find damage, or a mess following a tradesmen visit, but does not inform the landlord of this, then they could find themselves liable for any cleaning or repair costs associated.

This is especially true if they have no way to prove the damage was caused by tradesmen when the end of tenancy check out comes around. Damage or cleaning issues should be reported to the landlord as soon as they are noticed, to avoid the liability being transferred to the tenant.

Who is liable for tradesmen?

Essentially, it is the responsibility of the person hiring the tradesmen to ensure they do a good job and clean up after themselves. If this does not happen, the tenant must report any mess or damage to the landlord in a timely manner otherwise they could find themselves liable.


To avoid confusion, prior to any visit from tradesmen, landlords should remind tenants to promptly report any damage, mess or issues following the visit. Open communication between landlords and tenants can help both parties to enjoy a pleasant and successful tenancy.


Posted by Zoe Knighton on 10 March 2017

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