The head of policy for Shelter has come forward with an eye-watering invoice for an end-of-tenancy clean of a property, including some pretty minor details.
When a tenant comes to the end of their tenancy, the inventory of the property is inspected thoroughly to make sure everything is in order for the next tenants to arrive. Along with simple wear and tear, small charges might be added for cleaning bills and deducted from the deposit. This may sound simple, but not for this tenant – they appear to have had the pickiest lettings agent known to humankind!
Eye-watering sums of money
The invoice was uploaded to Twitter by Kate Webb, an activist working at homelessness charity Shelter, and was retweeted 49 times in the first 48 hours. People have been shocked at some of the charges. Among these was a £5 charge for a single lightbulb, £300 for a professional clean, £156 for the inspection itself, and several separate charges for scuff marks on the walls and skirting boards. These were not included in the standard wear and tear for the property.
The invoice has been hugely criticised on the social media platform, mainly because the total bill charged to the poor tenant vacating the property was over £1,000. Many Twitter users have argued that the scuff marks mentioned multiple times on the invoice should be included in the wear and tear guidelines – a charge of £50 was added for these. When asked why she chose to keep the company unnamed, Ms Webb expressed her reluctance to get into a dialogue so early on. A complaint has already been logged; however, it is still early days and naming the company could be risky.
The rental trap
Many people – young people particularly – are at risk of being victims of this kind of practice. Property inventory software from a specialist such as https://inventorybase.co.uk/ can go some way towards preventing surprise bills; however, it is clear that more needs to be done.
It is clear in national guidelines that landlords should not expect to have the property returned in the exact state in which it was left. Reasonable deductions can be made for any damage that falls outside the wear and tear guidelines, but it is unclear whether the company in question has read these.