Can I sell my buy-to-let with tenants in place?

One of the biggest perks about renting a property is the flexibility, with standard tenancy agreements of 6 or 12 months giving both the tenant and landlord the ability to alter their plans in the short term, should there be a change in circumstances.

Not every renter, however, is in the habit of chopping and changing where they live. There is a growing demand for longer tenancy lengths, with some landlords already offering tenures of two and three years. In fact, the Government would like three-year tenancy models to become the standard so renters can feel secure enough to put down roots.

While signing tenants up for more than 12 months sounds like a good way to guarantee rental income, what happens if the landlord needs to sell their property? And what’s the approach for those with tenants signed up for a year? We look at how landlords can regain possession of a property, sell a buy-to-let property with tenants in place and, crucially, the timings and circumstances landlords need to be mindful of.

Selling with an assured short-term tenancy (AST)

Landlords can’t decide to just sell up overnight, unless their property is in vacant possession (ie, empty). Fixed-term tenants on an AST have the right to stay in their property until their tenancy ends and even then, they will need to be issued a Section 21 notice as an official way of being asked to leave. Therefore, agreeing to a term beyond 12 months needs careful consideration.

Landlords wanting to regain possession of their property also have to follow a set procedure and timeline set out by the Government. If the tenants are on a fixed-term agreement, a Section 21 notice cannot be issued during the first four months of the tenancy or before the fixed term has ended. A Section 21 notice can, however, be served at any time if the tenancy is on a rolling periodic basis with no fixed end date. If tenants want to stay on after their fixed period is over, a rolling tenancy is a good option for landlords wanting to keep their selling options open. In both cases, tenants usually receive two months’ notice of an intention to regain possession but check with us first as Covid has altered some tenants’ rights.

It is sometimes possible to regain a rental property with a view to selling before the fixed period ends but there has to be special circumstances – usually instances where the tenant has broken the terms of their tenancy agreement or the law, enabling a Section 8 notice to be served. In these extreme cases, possession can be as quick as two to four weeks.

Using break clauses

Inserting a break clause into a tenancy agreement may allow landlords to end a contract early. For instance, if the fixed period is for 12 or 24 months with a 6 month break clause, the landlord can start the process to regain their property after 6 months. If you’re starting a buy-to-let journey, ask us about adding a break clause to your tenancy agreement for maximum flexibility.

If introduced, it is hoped the Government’s three-year tenancy agreements will contain a mandatory 6 month break clause, with extra options for landlords to regain their property if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ and provided a minimum of two months’ notice.

Selling a property with tenants in place

If the tenants are happy where they are living and the landlord doesn’t want to go through the eviction notice process – or needs to sell before a fixed term ends – it is possible to sell the buy-to-let with tenants in place. It is highly likely that the buyer will be a fellow landlord looking for ready-made rental income.

Sitting tenants

It’s worth noting that sitting tenants (sometimes referred to as tenants in situ) are renters who entered into a tenancy before 1989 and have stayed in the same property throughout. This tenant group has extra rights on top of AST renters who have only been in a property for 10 months, for instance. Sitting tenants retain the right to reside in a property that’s being sold under the Rent Act 1977, so landlords in these cases will need expert lettings guidance.

If you are a buy-to-let landlord and are considering your position in the market, talk to us about your options.

Tips for tenants: creating a portable garden

We don’t need to reiterate how important outside space is and searches for properties to rent with gardens or balconies continue to grow. Having somewhere to sit outside, entertain and even grow your own produce is the end goal for many but getting to that point involves an investment of both time and money.

If you’re living in a rented property, it can be galling to think all your hard work digging, planting, pruning and perfecting has to be left behind when you move to a new property but that doesn’t have to be the case. It is possible to create a totally portable garden that can give you just as much pleasure in your next property.

Here’s our guide to creating a garden that’s good to go:-

Pots and planters: flowerbeds are the backbone of many gardens but they don’t pack up and fit on the back of a removal van. Pots, however, can be moved from property to property and will last for years. Opt for lightweight plastic or faux stone planters and half fill with recycled polystyrene to keep the weight down further, making them easier to move.

Pick plants wisely: specimen shrubs and mature plants are investment purchases, and there is no guarantee that they will survive or thrive if dug up and replanted in your next garden. Be prudent when choosing plants for your rented property’s garden. If you use markers, bulbs can be dug up, dried out and replanted, or choose plants that set to seed, as these can be collected, stored in a labelled envelope and grown again elsewhere.

Freestanding cooking: while the current trend is for outdoor kitchens, going to the effort of building somewhere to cook in the garden isn’t wise in a rented property – especially as it may break a clause in your tenancy agreement if it is a permanent alteration. Opt for freestanding BBQs and table top pizza ovens that can be enjoyed in any garden.

Lights and lanterns: fairy lights and festoon bulbs add instant atmosphere to any garden but avoid anything that is hard wired or runs off mains electricity. Battery operated and solar powered lights are inexpensive and moveable, or choose lanterns and candles that easily fit in a packing-up box.

Soft furnishings: garden rooms are all over social media and if you’ve joined the trend with waterproof cushions, throws and outdoor rugs, you’ll need a smart way to transport them or risk your soft furnishings taking over the removal van. One solution is to use vacuum storage bags that will reduce the biggest pile of cushions to a more manageable, airtight stack.

Garden furniture: who doesn’t love swinging in an egg chair or lounging on an outdoor sofa but how easy are these items to move? Bulky furniture may ramp up your removal costs, so look out for folding alternatives. Old fashioned collapsible deckchairs and sun loungers are in vogue, while folding bistro sets are both small and lightweight.

If your next move is motivated by outside space – or if you have a property to rent out that has an amazing garden – get in touch today.

Top 5 ‘no-viewing’ tips for tenants

Would you sign a tenancy agreement without a physical visit to the property in question? According to behaviour analysis by Twentyci – a data agency specialising in home moving activity – an increasing number of renters are agreeing to let a new home without going on a viewing.

Twentyci concentrated on rental properties that were being marketed with virtual viewings, and found that two thirds of prospective tenants who had seen a property exclusively using a virtual tour would sign a tenancy agreement without making an in-person visit.

Reasons for signing up without seeing

There are natural peaks in the property market when the supply of homes to rent doesn’t always keep up with demand. During these periods, houses and flats can be let within a matter of days – even hours. Tenants who have missed out previously may find they stand the best chance of success by signing up to a property based on the online listing alone – especially if they are signing a short let agreement.

Tenants relocating from out-of-area and those moving from overseas are also more likely to sign on the dotted line without seeing a property in the flesh, as the distance to travel and speed at which decisions need to be made are not always compatible.

More recently, tenants are exercising caution in the wake of the Covid pandemic when deciding to visit properties. Thankfully, the quality and quantity of visuals aids now available for tenants to review can be enough to come to a decision, especially in a fast moving market.

How to reserve a rental without a viewing

Competition for rental properties can be fierce and the latest ARLA Propertymark report showed that a record number of new tenants registered with letting agency branches in April 2021. In fact, an average of 82 prospective renters joined the waiting list of every office, which is 10 more hopeful tenants per branch than in April 2020.

If you’re worried about missing out – or perhaps you haven’t got time to view a property in person as quickly as required – you can still make an offer on a rental. Here are our top 5 tips for making a decision without a physical viewing:

  1. Review the photos and/or virtual tour: take time to study the pictures that have been taken. Try to look at the photos/footage on a laptop or bigger screen and not just on your mobile ‘phone.
  2. Look at the floorplan: the floorplan will show you the flow of space and arrangement of rooms in a way photos can’t. Elements often missed – doorways, storage cupboards and windows – should be marked.
  3. Examine the measurements: use the measurements provided and compare these to the room sizes where you live now – it’s the best way to truly understand the space that’s on offer without standing in the property.
  4. Use Google Street View to explore: Google’s Street View function is a great way to check out the immediate area without visiting the neighbourhood.
  5. Ask if there’s a video: it may be possible for an agent to take a video of the property for you to view or sometimes, they can FaceTime call you from the property to create a ‘live’ viewing scenario.

If you are looking for a new rental property and need advice about making a successful offer before someone else beats you to it, get in touch with our lettings team today.

Your first shop when you move out

For many, deciding to make it on your own in the big wide world involves flying the family nest to move into a rented property. While your mind may be preoccupied with houseplants, accessories and the friends you’ll invite over, there are more mundane matters that could catch you out.

If your first night involves a take-away and a bottle of wine that your new neighbours gifted you, you may wake up the next morning to bare cupboards and an awareness of what you took for granted when living in the family home. There was always loo roll, a fridge full of food and a packet of paracetamol when you needed them most.

Moving out to a rented property for the first time? Here’s our guide to your first shop.

Make a list

Lists aren’t just for forgetful people. There will be so much to think about during your first few days of being on your own that an inaugural shop could turn into a disaster if you are not prepared. If you’re feeling stressed at the thought of a supermarket visit, why not register for online shopping and check out a basket of essentials to be delivered directly to your new home?

The obvious

Of course, food will be at the top of your list. Make sure you think about fresh food, frozen food and non-perishables like tins, jars and pasta. Having store cupboard basics will allow you to rustle up something edible even if everything in your fridge goes off.

It’s also wise to shop for the not so obvious items. Here are our recommendations:-

Health & safety

Think about buying a first aid kit – which are available ready-assembled from chemists and stores such as Boots – as well as painkillers, antibacterial hand gel and a pack of plasters. Heat/ice packs are also handy for sprains and injuries.

Unless you are renting a room in a house share, your landlord may not provide a fire extinguisher, so it’s sensible to buy your own. A fire blanket to keep in the kitchen and a fireproof safe for valuables and essential documents are two other considerations. A torch (a wind-up one is most useful), matches and candles may sound like you’re buying for an expedition but they will prove vital during a power cut.

Essential DIY/maintenance items

Minor household tasks are the responsibility of the tenant and you can’t call your landlord out to unblock your sink. You’ll probably find it handy to have a multi-function screwdriver with both flat and Phillips heads, a tape measure, a stock of light bulbs (preferably low energy), a variety of batteries (AA and AAA are most commonly used), a set of steps, fuses for plugs and some sink unblocker.

Spares

A good mantra is always ‘one in use, one in the cupboard’ – this avoids someone running out of washing up liquid as they’re about to tackle a mountain of dishes, or an unplanned dash to the petrol station in your PJs. Make use of ‘buy one, get one free’ offers and stock up on essentials like toothpaste, shower gel, washing powder, loo roll and hand soap to avoid tricky situations.

Odds & ends

It’s always handy to have a small sewing kit with safety pins, spare USB cables and chargers, a dustpan and brush, postal stamps, envelopes, a notepad, pens, sellotape, black bin bags and scissors in your household kit. These may not feel like glamorous purchases but you’ll feel smug the day you come to use them.

If you are planning your first fledgling flight from the family nest and would like to see what rental properties are available in your area, get in touch today.

7 ways to improve your chances of renting with a pet

Whether you have bought a puppy to keep you company now you’re working from home or you have a fondness for rescue cats, there is no doubt that a pet can be the most wonderful companion.

What isn’t always compatible is the need to rent a property and take your pets with you. Attitudes to lets with pets are, however, changing and tenants now stand a greater chance of renting somewhere that welcomes Fido or Felix.

What has changed already

In January 2021, the Government’s Model Tenancy Agreement – a blueprint document that some, but not all, landlords and letting agents use – was changed. Previous wording suggested a blanket ban on pets in lets has been removed and now landlords must provide a good reason why not to let pets stay in a property they rent out.

Landlords warming to the idea of pets in lets

Business insurers Direct Line surveyed current landlords on the matter of lets with pets soon after the Government amended its Model Tenancy Agreement. Nearly half welcomed the revised document, suggesting that there is a softening of attitudes around tenants moving in together with their domestic animals.

Future pet-friendly changes planned

Although still not fully passed, the Dogs and Domestic Animals (Accommodation and Protection) Bill would force letting agents and landlords to remove ‘no pet’ clauses from their in-house tenancy agreements, meaning that all tenancy agreements created could not contain an outright ban on pets.

The new Bill would be a step forward but it’s also worth noting that tenants would have to meet a new set of conditions before moving a pet in. These include: passing a test of responsible ownership, with certification from a vet; proof of an up-to-date vaccination and flea treatment schedule and in the case of dogs, proof of micro chipping and a demonstration that the pet responds to basic training commands.

7 ways to improve your chances of renting with a pet

If you’re searching for a rental property but can’t bear to be parted from your pet, or your current landlord needs convincing on the matter of moving an animal in, you might like to try the following:-

  1. Compile a pet CV: this should detail your pet’s breed, age and veterinary practice, along with the animal’s vaccination record and details of any training it has completed.
  2. Obtain pet references: a short statement from your vet, dog sitter/boarder or trainer may help convince your landlord that you own a well behaved pet. Even better is a reference from a past landlord if they let you have a pet.
  3. Invite a future landlord to meet your pet: if a landlord can see how your pet is cared for, its temperament and in what home environment it’s kept, it may help your cause.
  4. Offer to pay a rent premium: as tenancy deposits are now capped, taking extra money to hold against pet damage is now banned but as a renter, you may want to offer a small amount extra on top of the advertised rent as a substitute.
  5. Commit to professional cleaning: if a landlord is worried about the condition of the property after it has housed a pet, you could offer to pay for a professional deep clean to be conducted at the end of the tenancy – a condition that can be written into the tenancy agreement.
  6. Opt for lets that have been vacant for some time: every landlord dreads an empty property, so the most open-minded may be those who have endured long void periods.
  7. Take out insurance that covers pet damage: landlords will feel more comfortable with pets in their property if you can prove your insurance covers damage caused by chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling. There will be extra bonus points if your policy also includes accidental damage, such as if your dog knocks over the TV, but read the small print as not all pet-friendly policies will cover the same aspects.

Contact us if you’d like your next rental property to be pet friendly or if you’re thinking of moving a pet into where you currently live.

Landlords: how to expand your buy-to-let portfolio in 2021

The intention to invest in property looks as strong as ever and while there are signs that new landlords are hoping to enter the market, there is also mounting evidence to suggest existing investors are looking to grow their buy-to-let portfolios in 2021.

When 900 landlords were questioned about their future plans by one specialist mortgage lender, the results showed 19% of respondents intended to purchase additional buy-to-lets in the coming 12 months.

Those already managing larger portfolios were found to be the keenest to buy extra investment properties, with 31% of those with eleven to nineteen properties harbouring expansion plans. Additionally, 28% of those who manage twenty or more buy-to-lets intend to increase the number of investment properties they have.

Ways to expand your buy-to-let portfolio:

If you are an existing landlord with plans to purchase more buy-to-let properties, you may like to consider the following options:

  • Buy a property with sitting tenants already in place: also known as ‘tenants in situ’, sitting tenants are long–term residents and it’s quite common for a landlord to sell a property with renters as part of the package. Homes with sitting tenants tend to appeal to experienced landlords so if you’ve already got a portfolio, you may like to add a ‘ready made’ let to your collection. As a note of caution, some mortgage lenders will not loan on properties with sitting tenants, so seek financial advice.
  • Remortgage to release equity: if you want to add to your buy-to-let portfolio and have equity in your existing properties, remortgaging can free up cash to use as a deposit on a new investment property. There are specialist lenders who look after portfolio landlords who own 10 properties or more, and they can advise on matters of first and second-charge lending.
  • Take out a loan: if an unmissable opportunity presents itself and you want to add it to your portfolio, a loan may be the quickest way to finance a purchase. Both personal and bridging loans are available but investors will need to scrutinise the interest rates and repayment terms to ensure the numbers stack up.
  • Draw down on your pension: did you know that over 55s can withdraw some or all of their pension pot? You’ll have to weigh up the tax implications and how this may affect your future income but drawing down is one way to access a lump sum of money that can be used as a buy-to-let deposit.
  • Find a property investment partner: if you have some but not all of the money required to make an additional buy-to-let purchase, you might consider finding a friend or family member to join you in your next venture. We can advise you on the purchasing side of any arrangement, such as joint tenancy versus tenancy in common, and a mortgage broker will talk you through joint financing strategies.

If you would like any lettings, property management or buy-to-let purchasing advice, please contact our team today.

Can I move my partner into a rental property?

You’ve moved out of the family home, bagged yourself a lovely flat to rent and have also found yourself a partner. We know it’s only natural to start thinking about living together if your relationship is blossoming but it’s not a case of simply adding another toothbrush to your bathroom when you rent privately. Here’s our advice to tenants who are thinking of moving a partner in with them.

Check your tenancy agreement

If you signed your tenancy agreement on a ‘single occupancy’ basis, the legal document will only allow you to live there as the named tenant. If you move someone else in who is not specified in the agreement, it is classed as subletting. This is usually prohibited and a reason for a landlord to take legal action against a tenant.

So, I can’t move a partner in?

Even if your tenancy agreement is single occupancy, it doesn’t mean living with your partner in the property is off the cards. Your first step will be to contact your letting agent or landlord, telling them that you would like to move someone in.

Ask them for permission first and if agreed, your agent can draw up a new tenancy agreement with both of you as named tenants in what is known as ‘double occupancy’. Be aware, however, that changes to an incumbent tenancy agreement are one of the few things an agent or landlord can still charge a tenant for.

Is that it?

It is highly likely that your partner will have to undergo the same referencing process as you, as the original tenant. If they fail to meet the necessary standards, residency for your partner may be refused. It could also be the case that your landlord will want to make a small rent increase, as an extra person in the property will lead to more wear and tear, and raise the prospect of damage.

If you’re already living with other people and want to move your partner in, an unrelated, extra person living under the same roof may tip the property into the HMO category (a house in multiple occupation). In this case, the landlord may need to apply for a specific HMO licence to operate legally and be required to make changes to the property to meet compliance standards. If this is the case, the landlord may refuse the request.

What happens if I split up with my partner?

If you are each named on the tenancy agreement, both want to move out and are close to the end of the tenancy agreement, you can give ‘notice to quit’ and vacate the property at the end of the rental term. If your tenancy agreement has some time to run, you can ‘surrender your tenancy’ by asking your landlord to terminate the agreement early – but they do not have to agree to this.

You’ll share responsibility for paying the rent and the property’s condition while you’re both named on the tenancy agreement, even if your partner moves out. It’s therefore important to request a change back to a single occupancy agreement if only one person wishes to stay in the property. If whoever stays is not on the tenancy agreement, they may not benefit from full tenant protection.

Need further information?

If you’re in any doubt about the type of tenancy agreement you have signed, or are thinking about moving a partner in, please contact us for advice.

 

Landlords: how to spot signs of subletting

Subletting is when a tenant turns landlord themselves. Instead of living in the property they have signed the tenancy agreement for, they rent out the property to others – either on an entire house basis, room-by-room or even as an Airbnb. Subletting is a way for tenants to make money, as they charge other tenants more than they are paying the landlord to make a profit.

The intention to sublet often goes under the radar as the legitimate tenant will move in friends, use word-of-mouth to attract people or advertise the property/rooms on social media platforms and places such as Gumtree – all of which are hard to track.

Is subletting illegal?

The answer is sometimes. The act of subletting is usually prohibited, as set out in the tenancy agreement, and the landlord’s mortgage may also forbid subletting. Therefore, the landlord is within their rights to take legal action against tenants who sublet.

There’s also a note of caution when it comes to tenants who turn a property into a HMO (a house in multiple occupation, when rooms are rented out to different individuals with shared communal facilities). A recent case saw the original tenant of a four-bedroom house fined over £9,000 and receive a criminal record for subletting, while the property owner/landlord was also fined. Both parties were guilty of breaching housing laws and not obtaining the correct HMO licence.

The property owner who fell foul of subletting was reported to have visited the property ‘occasionally’ in their role of landlord but missed clues that eight people – instead of the sole tenant who signed the agreement – were living in their property. So would you miss the signs of subletting?

Subletting signs you need to recognise

If you are a landlord who suspects subletting in a property you rent out, you need to keep a vigilant eye on the following: –

  • Living areas that have been turned into bedrooms, such as dining rooms and lounges
  • More toothbrushes and towels than required for the number of tenants on the original agreement
  • Makeshift sleeping arrangements and bundles of bed linen on sofas and possibly in outbuildings
  • More domestic waste and recycling than you would expect for the number of tenants on the original agreement
  • If the property is rented as ‘bills included’, heavier use of utilities than during previous lets
  • Signs of increased wear and tear around the property
  • Reports of extra noise, unexplained comings and goings, or anti-social behaviour from neighbours
  • The original tenant refusing access to the property for an inspection
  • Different people frequently arriving with suitcases

Lodgers & holiday lets

Tenants should know that although the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme is perfectly legal, most tenancy agreements will prohibit tenants taking in a lodger, whether for financial gain or not. Holiday lets are another area of concern, especially with the popularity of staycations. An estimated 120,000 properties in the UK are illegally sublet through sites such as Airbnb. Landlords should also note that subletting for illegal activities is just as popular as offering properties to holidaymakers.

Why is subletting an issue for landlords?

Subletting means tenants move into a property without undergoing reference checks – there’s no official record of their past behaviour, their status to rightly reside in the UK or their ability to pay the rent. Even a tenant allowing a friend to sleep on the sofa could be classed as subletting, and can be detrimental to the condition and value of the property, not to mention jeopardise legal compliance.

Professional property lettings: the advantages

Choosing to work with a professional lettings agency is the best way to avoid subletting. A good property manager will ensure any tenancy agreement has a clear no-subletting clause and they will undertake thorough tenant referencing to detect previous bad tenant behaviour.

A lettings agency will make tenants aware of regular planned property inspections – which can act as a subletting deterrent – and if there is any hint of subletting, they can diarise more frequent visits. Don’t forget, a lettings professional will spot the more subtle signs of subletting and may also spot if your buy-to-let appears as ‘to let’ on property portals. If you’re worried about subletting, speak to us today.

 

6 portable garden trends

A quick skim of social media shows we are styling outside spaces in the same way as our home interiors – with colour, furniture and accessories – especially now our gardens are more important than ever.

Thankfully, there is a more temporary route to this summer’s hottest garden trends for those not wanting to make permanent or expensive outdoor improvements – ideal if your current home isn’t your forever home. Here are our top 6 portable garden trends for this summer:-

  1. Fire pits & chimineas: with recent emphasis on entertaining outside – and the British weather not always delivering tropical temperatures – a source of outside heat has moved up the must-have list. A bonfire isn’t always safe or practical, especially if you’re renting, but the good news is fire pits and chimineas are very much in vogue. These wood-fired portable sources of heat stand on legs and therefore won’t scorch the ground below.
  2. Plant pots: plants can be expensive and if you do choose to fill beds and borders, there is no guarantee anything you dig up and transport will survive in your next garden. The most portable way of adding flora and fauna is to use pots. Opt for a variety of sizes and you’ll be able to grow everything from bulbs and bedding plants to vegetables and even small trees, then simply load the pots onto the removal van when you’re on the move!
  3. Mirrors: if your garden is more of a courtyard or terrace than extensive area, mirrors can bounce around daylight and trick the eye into believing the space is larger than it is – just as you would inside a home. Prop a mirror against a wall for a no-fix solution or securely wall mount for removal at a later date – just ensure you opt for a mirror designed for outdoor use.
  4. Lighting: whether for safety or a sense of theatre, garden lighting is big news this summer. Solar lights are a fantastic, wire-free way of illuminating your garden and can be purchased anywhere, from supermarkets to garden centres. Choose from strings of festoon and fairy lights, spotlights and lanterns – all with the added benefit of being totally portable.
  5. Hot tubs: ‘plug in and play’ hot tubs have become less of a novelty and more of a permanent fixture, thanks to their temporary nature and more modest price point. Even though inflatable tubs feel a quick and easy luxury, they still need an outside power socket and careful daily chemical treatment – plus they use a significant amount of electricity. If you’re a tenant, you’ll need to check in advance with your landlord as to whether a hot tub and an outside power socket are allowed under the terms of your tenancy agreement.
  6. Waterproof textiles: the craze for creating outdoor rooms has led to an explosion of waterproof textiles in the form of cushions and rugs. Although it’s not desirable to leave these accessories out for a regular drenching, they will be shower proof and able to withstand a typical British summer. Opt for good-quality classic designs and a set of waterproof textiles will work in any garden you happen to grace.

If you’d like to see our list of available properties with gardens, please get in touch.

 

Tenancy ending? Start the big spring clean

The big spring clean – is it an activity you undertake every year? While not everyone may perform a thorough clean every 12 months – we’re talking dusting behind radiators, scrubbing skirting boards and removing cobwebs from every corner – there are occasions when a little more attention goes a long way.

A clean break

End of tenancy cleans are of paramount importance for tenants, as it’s reported that rentals left in less than salubrious states are the biggest cause of deposit deductions. The mantra ‘leave your let as you found it’ should be adhered to, especially as the check-out clerk will compare the outgoing condition of the property against how it was documented on the day you moved in – a state of cleanliness usually backed up with photographic evidence in an inventory.

Before you pick up your bucket and bottle of bleach, check your tenancy agreement. Some landlords stipulate within the contract that a professional cleaning company should be instructed to undertake the end of tenancy deep clean, and tenants may be obliged to use a pre-selected firm.

DIY with a little elbow grease

If there is no obligation to use a professional cleaning service, tenants can perform their own end of tenancy deep clean – just don’t underestimate the hours and effort needed as every nook and cranny should receive some attention. If the job feels overwhelming, the tenant can instruct a company to undertake a specific end of tenancy deep clean on their behalf, although be sure to go on personal recommendations when finding a cleaner.

If you want to ensure your self-administered spring clean gives you the best chance of a full deposit refund, refer back to the inventory document and move-in checklist to refresh your memory with regards to marks, stains and areas of grime. If you can’t find these documents, do ask your letting agent for a copy.

You’ve missed a bit

An end of tenancy deep clean needs to be thorough and methodical, so start with a super critical eye. Dusting, polishing, mopping and vacuuming is the very minimum and don’t fall into the trap of concentrating on everything that’s at eye level. All corners, behind tall appliances, high shelves and plug sockets will need attention.

Of particular importance are carpets, ovens and grills, louvered blinds, white goods and bathroom/kitchen areas that may have seen a build-up of dust, limescale or mould. Anything that wasn’t there on move-in day – but is visible at the end – needs cleaning or removing.

In addition, cupboards, wardrobes, storage units and drawers should all be clean and free of everything – down to the last crumb. Plus, don’t forget the windows (inside and out) will need cleaning, and any garden areas/outbuildings must be emptied and tidied.

Marketing a property

In addition to the end of a tenancy, a really good spring clean can work wonders if your property is going on the market soon. A clean and clutter free home will always look better when photographed as well as in the flesh for viewings. Follow the above advice and you won’t be disappointed with the end result.

We’re happy to answer all your property questions, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.