shocked landlord messy tenant

Landlords, Can you Legally Force your Tenants to Pay Professional Cleaning Costs?

As a landlord its your worst nightmare, you visit your rented property and discover its a complete mess!

It might be the end of tenancy or just a routine visit to check up on things. You walk in and the place is discussing. There is rubbish in every room. The carpets are rancid. The sofa looks like a living organism. The oven is unrecognisable, due to the grease, grime and burnt food baked to the inside.

This will surely cost hundreds, maybe more, to put right. You are going to need a professional carpet cleaning company, an oven cleaning company, a upholstery cleaner and general cleaners to tidy up the rubbish. Ideally you can hire one company to do everything, like us. Anyway regardless of who you are going to need to hire to clear up the mess, you have one question.

Who is going to Pay the Cleaning Costs, the Landlord or the Tennant?

The short answer is the tenant, however its not always that easy. Cleaning costs are the responsibility of the landlord for general usage (wear and tear) in the absence of damage, missing or malfunctioning items. Unless however a complex and detail contract drawn up and signed by all parties. In any case you could well be responsible for the cleaning costs. If you received a deposit from your tenant you could withhold it. Be careful though as this could end up in the courts. If the tenant is able to prove they left the property as they found it the courts will invariably favour their case. This could leave you with even more costs.

Be sure to make it clear at the beginning of the tenancy, a tidy and clean property is the responsibility of the tenant. Put it in writing. Take good quality photographs of the oven, hob, carpets, shower, bath, sinks and toilets. You might require professional cleaning hire. If so you can have photographs to prove your case. If your tenant fails to maintain the same level of cleanliness, you are within your rights to charge for professional cleaning costs, or request the tenant hire a professional cleaning company.


So, your tenant is responsible for cleaning costs if they leave the property with excessive mess, soiling and grime that was not present when they moved in. You cannot however legally force your tenant to pay for professional cleaning in a contract, the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) cover this here.