Keeping Your Rental Home Clean

Keeping Your Rental Home Clean

February 27, 2017

Keeping Your Rental Home Clean

When you’re living away from home for the first time, it’s liberating to be able to make your own rules and keep your own home. There’s no-one there to make you clean up your room, or to make you do chores; it’s up to you when and how they get done. The freedom to choose your own schedule is also matched with a responsibility to make sure everything gets taken care of, because just as there’s no-one to make you do a job, there’s also no-one who’ll do it for you.

We know how important it is for tenants to keep their properties in a good condition. Not only does this make it easier and more comfortable to live with your housemates, it also prevents small issues from developing into larger ones; even a small patch of mould can cause problems if it’s not addressed quickly, so it’s important to keep on top of cleaning.

Where Should You Start?

The usual first step for housemates who’ve recently moved in together is to set up some house rules. This is a sensible first move, and it’s important that every tenant feels that they’re contributing equally – the house rules should reflect how everyone feels the property should be kept, not dictated by the first person to think them up. This is because different people have different ideas of what’s required, and while some might think it’s necessary to hoover the floors daily, someone else might be happy with weekly (or monthly, or not at all). Some sort of compromise has to be agreed between all the housemates, so that everyone is content with the same level of cleanliness.

It’s important to bear in mind that from the point of view of your tenancy agreement, the only real stipulation is that the property should be left in the same state it was initially let in, and landlords have no power (or really any incentive) to make you tidy up as long as the property isn’t permanently damaged. This means that as long as your housemates aren’t potentially causing damage to the property, you can’t make them adhere to a certain standard of tidiness – they’re bound by the terms of the tenancy agreement, not by your personal standards.

What Areas Need Cleaning?

Besides your everyday cleaning, such as cleaning the floors, wiping down surfaces and generally tidying up, there are several key areas which you’ll need to consider. There are issues which can potentially cause damage to the property, and if they go untended it’s possible that you’ll lose some of your deposit:

Bathroom: Mould is a constant worry for landlords, and the bathroom is where it’s most often found. Poor ventilation is the number one cause of mould in bathrooms, because it thrives on warm, moist conditions – the hot condensation from showers and baths provides perfect conditions for it. You should keep the extractor fan turned on for several minutes after exiting the shower to help clear the air, leave the door open and if possible open a window. If you spot mould in the room, clean it with a specialised anti-fungal bleach spray after you’ve taken a photo. Let your landlord or letting agency know and provide them with the photo – should the mould return, you’ll want to have evidence that you raised the issue with them quickly rather than letting it develop.

Kitchen: Whenever you’re preparing food, it’s likely that crumbs and morsels will find their way off of the preparation surfaces and onto the floor. Over time, this can build up, and if you’re not careful you run the risk of attracting rodents. Every month or two, you should take a look under your fridge and cooker, and clean up any stray bits and pieces that have fallen behind them.

Bedroom: Stray mugs, spilled coffee, unemptied ashtrays, forgotten pizza boxes . . . all of these can cause lasting damage if they stain the carpets or walls. Have a regular check around under beds and cabinets to check that nothing’s fallen and been forgotten.

Keeping it Clean:

The best advice we can give is to keep your letting agency and landlord informed of any potential issues you experience with the property. Most problems become harder to deal with the longer they’re left, and it’s your responsibility to ensure that the property’s owner is kept up to date. If they fail to act on the information and the problem worsens, you’re not at fault (unless you haven’t properly cleaned the property); they should take the time to ensure that any problems are being addressed.