Tenant Left Without Cleaning: What Should Landlords Do?

When the inevitable time comes for your tenants to finally pack their things and leave, they need to ensure the property is left in an appropriate state.

This stage of the landlord and tenant relationship can experience some of its most turbulent times. It’s where disputes can rear their ugly head due to the cleanliness of the property when a tenant is leaving.

To avoid tenant and landlord disputes, both the tenant and the landlord should be aware of what either party are responsible for when it comes to cleaning the property upon the end of the tenancy agreement.

In this post, we will discuss who is responsible as well as other important details for landlords to consider.

Who pays for cleaning when a tenant moves out?

It’s up to the tenants to ensure that the property is cleaned to the same state it was when they first moved into the property. If they do not then the landlord can hold their deposit and use the money to pay for it to be cleaned.

Do tenants have to pay for professional cleaning?

The tenant must leave the property in a clean state, to the same standard it was when they began their tenancy. If the tenant wishes, they can clean the property themselves. Otherwise they will have to pay for a cleaning service.

In the past, landlords were able to include a clause in the tenancy agreement that the tenant must pay for a professional cleaning service to be performed upon the end of their tenancy.

However, the Tenant Fees Act 2019 has since made it illegal for landlords to make tenants pay for professional cleaning. Historically though this was not the case. Landlords could indeed stipulate that tenants carried out end of tenancy cleaning professionally.

If tenants do not leave the property in a clean condition, then some of their deposit may be used to pay for cleaning.

What can landlords charge tenants for?

Landlords can charge their tenants for the following:

Payment of bills

This includes the likes of electric, gas, TV licence and council tax.


The rent amount should be agreed upon at the start of the tenancy agreement with consistent monthly payments occurring at the same amount also.

If your tenant leaves with outstanding rent, then you may be able to deduct the amount owed from their deposit.

Late payment of rent

The late fee cannot cost more than 3% of the Bank of England’s annual percentage rate for each day the rent is not paid.

Changes to the tenancy agreement

Tenants can request to make a change to the tenancy agreement but this can come at a cost. The amount is usually in the region of around £50.  

Termination of the tenancy agreement

This can come at a cost if it is an early termination of a tenancy agreement. The amount is dependent on losses incurred.

Loss of a key

This is usually in the tenancy agreement with the cost clearly stated.

Who is responsible for painting, the landlord or tenant in the UK?

The responsibility for painting generally falls onto the landlord’s shoulders. However, if the tenant has damaged the paint in the property then they should repair it themselves, otherwise they may be charged by the landlord.

The landlord may also include a clause in the tenancy agreement that the property must be returned to its original state – including decoration. In this case, if the tenant has decorated the property to their own design then the tenant should paint the property back to its original colours.

The landlord is always responsible for painting and repairs even if the tenancy agreement states something different.

Does a landlord have to provide receipts for repairs in the UK?

Landlords are obligated by law to keep a record of all their important files and receipts throughout the duration of a tenancy agreement. These receipts are needed depending on individual circumstances.

An example could be when a landlord needs to submit their expenses for the purposes of tax, which includes receipts for property repairs.

Who pays for checkout at the end of tenancy?

At the end of a tenancy, the tenant isn’t usually expected to pay for a checkout appointment, unless another arrangement has been made through the tenancy agreement.

In most cases, it will be up to the landlord to pay for a checkout report to be administered.

Brown Turner Ross: helping landlords dispute cleaning with tenants

When it comes to the subject of cleaning and wear and tear of properties, it can be seen as a grey area for landlords. These disputes can cause a lot of wasted time and money resulting in an overall poor experience for landlords.

We specialise in helping landlords with disputes such as the ones discussed. If you have been affected by any of the information discussed we would be happy to assist you.

Our team is stocked with friendly and professional legal advisors who are equipped with expert knowledge to assist you.

Southport Solicitors

Tel: 0170-454 2002

Fax: 0170-454 3144

11 St George's Place

Lord Street



Liverpool Solicitors

Tel: 0151-236 2233

Fax: 0170-454 3144

The Cotton Exchange Building

Bixteth Street


L3 9LQ