How to Pass Your End Of Tenancy Cleaning? – Useful Tips from A Property Agent
End of lease cleaning can be a grey area at times, especially when you are renting for the first time.
How so? Confusion arises when you have no idea what the cleaning standards are of the property agent who is going to pass your final clean inspection
You may have heard from friends or families who have had their bond money deducted by property agents when they move out despite having a professional clean.
Q & A with an existing property agent
For this reason itself, we decided to do a Q&A session with Start Lin, who is an experienced property managing agent (Class 1 license).
We think he’d be better able to shed some light on the end of tenancy cleaning and help to clarify any unclear areas for tenants like yourself.
(Note: ‘Q’ refers to question asked, ‘L’ refers to answer from Lin)
Q: Is a professional end of lease cleaning mandatory?
L: By law, the tenants only need to restore the condition of the rental property prior to moving in, but there is no requirement for a professional end of lease cleaning (paid cleaning).
Having said that, if the previous tenant has done a professional exit clean and there is an official tax invoice on file, the agent has the right to request that you have professional cleaners perform your end of lease cleaning. Right to request for a professional clean when you move out.
Q: How clean does tenants have to leave a rental property?
L: According to the FairTrading NSW website, the rental property should be in the same or as close as possible to the same condition as close when the tenants first move in. The best point of reference would be the Property Condition Report you first filled out when you first moved in. The cleanliness level should at least match the photos taken in the report. For instance, no marks on the wall or no stains on the carpet.
Q: Can tenants do their own cleaning ?
L: Yes, of course. In fact, some of the tenants did a fantastic job by themselves. (It would be a plus if their mum helps out! 😉
Q: Can I engage independent cleaning professionals from other sources?
L: Tenants or service seekers tend to search for cleaning service providers via popular online marketplace such as Gumtree, Airtasker, Services and so on.
They do so when looking for cheaper services or alternatives.
Most of the time, tenants will hire cleaners based on the good reviews on the website or the platform itself.
However, this itself doesn’t guarantee the cleaners would be able to deliver the cleanliness level that the property agent is after in an exit clean. It also may not align with the property condition report.
Q: Is it better to use the agent’s nominated cleaners?
L: Yes, this is because these cleaners have worked closely with these agents for a while and they know how to meet the agent’s standard.
Some might say those nominated cleaners charge a higher rate, which is why they would rather opt for other service providers. Ultimately, that’s a decision the tenant has to make after asking themselves these few questions
- Would it be better off to pay $50 extra to hire nominated cleaners and minimize having potential disputes with the agent during the final inspection?
- Or it would be worth saving the $50 and risk having to do a second clean if the agent is not satisfied with the exit clean?
(Tip: As long as the service provider is a legit cleaning company with a proper tax invoice issue for the cleaning services rendered, it’s most likely they would still help you to resolve the cleaning issues should it arise.)
Q: What are often missed areas in an end of lease cleaning?
L: The top 5 areas would be
- Filter net of the range hood
The greasy filter net is quite easy to clean if you have done a regular clean every 6 months or so.
- Stove grates / Cooktop grates
What tenants or cleaners often missed is they didn’t take the stove grates apart and clean them properly. Some cleaners haven’t done a great job cleaning it. For instance, they only wipe the metal frames when the grates are still sticky and greasy when you touch them.
- Stove top burner
Similar issue as item (2) as it wasn’t cleaned properly.
- Sliding doors
Watermarks on the glass sliding doors is one of the common mistakes tenants couldn’t pass their final inspection. This often happens when cleaners or tenants didn’t wipe the watermarks off using a squeegee.
- Lint filter in the dryer
Tenants or cleaners tend to forget to empty the lint filter in the dryer. It’s an easy yet often missed task.
Q: Would filling out the Property Condition Report help to avoid a lot of potential disputes when the tenants move out?
L: Yes, absolutely.
Q: What if my property agent didn’t provide me with a Property Condition Report in the first place?
L: There might be cases where your property agent has forgotten to provide you with a property condition report to fill out.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are free from carrying out your obligations as a tenant, including doing a proper exit clean when you move out.
The absence of a property condition report only means both the agent and yourself have less records to refer to. The property agent can still refer to the previous tenant’s exit report to assess the property when you move out.
(Tips: If you are a new tenant, it is important to remind your property agent to send you a copy of the Property Condition report to fill, if they haven’t sent you any.)
Q: What is a Property Condition Report? When do I need to submit it?
A property condition reports the general condition of the property, room by room, including fixtures and fittings (Starting a tenancy, NSW Fair Trading) (You can find a copy of condition report here)
Before starting a tenancy, the landlord or agent must provide two copies(one copy completed by the agent and the other blank to be completed by the tenant) ,or one electronic copy of the condition report, before a tenant moves into the property or the day the tenant commences their lease.
The tenant has 7 days from the commencement of the lease to return the condition report along with the feedback or comments.
If the tenant fails to do so, the agent can choose to reject what the tenant reports.
Q: From your experience, how many percent of tenants would fill out the Property Condition Report?
L: 50%, that would be 5 out of 10 tenants.
The rest of them will be deemed to accept the property condition report the agent has provided.
Q: Is there a reason why tenants don’t fill out the Property Condition Report, considering it’s a crucial document to protect themselves from any pre damages?
L: Some of the tenants simply couldn’t be bothered to fill out the report or getting too caught up with the house moving, hence forgetting to fill it out.
Q: How many percent of tenants usually pass the final inspection?
L: Around 80%.
Q: How about the 20%?
L: The remaining 20% will usually constitute a dispute where the managing agent will notify the tenants why they didn’t pass the final inspection.
Tenants will be told what needs to be fixed before the bond money can be released to them.
Fear not, the agent does need to give the tenants a chance or two to rectify any issues within a reasonable timeline.
If the tenant fails to do so, that’s when the bond money will get deducted as the agent has to engage someone else to fix those issues.
Q: What’s the difference between ‘fair wear and tear’ and damage?
L: The tenant is not responsible for ‘fair wear and tear’, but tenants are responsible for damages made to the property and bond money might be deducted if those damages are not fixed.
Q: Can you give some examples of ‘fair wear and tear’?
L: The common ‘fair wear and tear’ examples would be scratches found on the corners and edges of the wall or traffic marks on the carpet.
For more examples, you can find them on Fair Trading NSW:
|Fair wear and tear (you are not liable)||Damage (you are liable)|
|Faded curtains or frayed cords||Missing or torn curtains|
|Furniture indentations on carpet||Stains or burn marks on the carpet|
|Scuffed up wooden floors||Badly scratched or gouged wooden floors|
|Worn kitchen benchtop||Burns or cuts in bench top|
|Faded, chipped or cracked paint||Unapproved paint job|
|Water stains on carpet from rain through leaking roof or bad plumbing||Water stains on the carpet caused by overflowing bath or indoor pot plants|
Q: Do you have something to add or wish to share with the tenants?
L: Every managing agent looks at different things, some agents only do a brief final inspection and only care about anything visible to the naked eye.
Some agents are more detail oriented and care about certain specifics. Hence, it’s always good, it’s always too good to check with your agent upfront or simply follow up after the agent has conducted the inspection.
About the Guest Property Agent
Start Lin from Concrete Property is an experienced property agent who currently holds a Class 1 Real estate agent license. With up to 8 years of working experience under his belt, Start has been passionate about helping homeowners with any real estate sales and leasing functions.
Feel free to drop him a message or check out his services via his website, I’m sure he is more than happy to help 😉