How Much Can A Landlord Charge For Cleaning?

Household cleaning products.

When it’s time for your tenant to pack up and move out, you might wonder, “Can I make them pay for a deep clean?” Buckle up because we’ll dive into tenant cleanliness and landlord rights, including aspects governed by the Tenant Fees Act 2019!

As a seasoned landlord, I’ve seen it all – from sparkling clean apartments that look showroom-ready to… well, let’s say, some challenges. But hey, that’s part of the job, right?

So, back to the question at hand. How much can a landlord charge for cleaning?

The amount a landlord may charge for cleaning will depend on the property’s cleanliness when a tenant vacates. Providing they supply evidence that the property was not left in a clean condition and a receipt, landlords can claim money against a tenant’s deposit for a professional cleaning service.

Yes, you can indeed charge your tenant for cleaning, but there are a few things you need to consider first. This article will serve as your trusty compass, guiding you through the dos and don’ts of cleaning charges.

It is reasonable to expect a certain level of cleanliness when a tenant vacates a rental property, factoring in fair wear and tear. If your rental agreement is ending, and you wonder if you can charge your tenant for cleaning, this article will give you the necessary answers. 

Cleaning fees are among the most common claims landlords make from tenant deposits.

The burden of proof lies with the landlord or property manager, so they must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the property was not clean. For example, providing photographs, check-in and check-out inspection reports, and a cleaning receipt or quote. In that case, landlords can claim money against a tenant’s deposit for a professional clean.

Cleanliness is subjective, and what might be clean to one person isn’t clean to another. But landlords must ensure their rental property is clean and in good condition before a new tenant moves in.

The best way for tenants to avoid cleaning fees is to leave the rental unit at the same standard as at the start of the tenancy agreement. In addition, tenants and landlords can protect themselves by taking photographs of the state of the property at the beginning of the tenancy.

A person holding a camera and taking a picture of a living room to determine how much a landlord can charge for cleaning.

However, sometimes, it can be challenging to show how clean an item or room is in a picture, so written descriptions are essential. In addition, this can be valuable evidence should any disputes arise at the end of the tenancy agreement.

Cleaning can be expensive, so the more tenants do themselves, the less likely they will be charged or receive lower cleaning fees.

It can be a good idea to focus on places that require the most cleaning, such as bathrooms, kitchens and flooring. However, if the property is rented as a fully furnished property, this can add extra difficulty to cleaning.

The costs charged for professionally cleaning a property can vary greatly, depending on some of the following factors:

  • The extent of cleaning required – Is it all rooms? Does it require rubbish removal?
  • What needs cleaning – Does it require any specialist equipment or cleaning fluids?
  • Property size – If carpets need cleaning in every room, a 6-bed house will cost more than a 2-bed house.
  • The property’s location – Generally, prices can be higher in London and the South East. 

Can a Landlord Make a Tenant Pay for an End of Tenancy Clean?

Yes, a landlord can make a tenant pay a cleaning fee at the end of a tenancy, but only if the tenant did not leave the property in the same state (or better) as when they first moved in. A landlord cannot charge for a professional cleaning service if the property is left to the same standard.

Some tenancy agreements ask for professional cleaning at the end of the contract; however, since the introduction of the Tenancy Fees Act 2019, this could be considered unreasonable if it isn’t necessary.

At the start of a tenant’s lease agreement, they may have paid a deposit equivalent to 1 – 5 weeks’ rent to their new landlord. Legally, this should be stored in a Government-backed scheme.

Landlords can only charge for cleaning services through deductions from the deposit. Because of the Tenancy Fees Act 2019, landlords cannot make tenants pay money above the deposit. If they do, landlords could be liable to a £5,000 fine.

Suppose the cleaning fee exceeds the deposit taken at the start of the tenancy. In that case, landlords can, in theory, seek the extra charges via a court order.

However, this would be a costly business for the landlord. So, they are advised to weigh the legal costs against the extra charges above the tenant’s deposit before taking legal action.

Can A Landlord Keep The Deposit For a Professional Clean?

Landlords cannot just keep the deposit for cleaning. They must prove that the property has been left worse than when it was first occupied and then request the cleaning costs from the tenancy deposit protection scheme.

Cleaning fees are considered one of the most common reasons landlords deduct money from tenants’ deposits.

It is important to note that a landlord must return the remaining deposit within ten days.

This even applies if the tenant disputes part or all of the deposit deductions. So, for example, if the deposit amount is £1,000 and the landlord wants to deduct £250 for cleaning fees, £750 should be returned to the tenant within ten days.

Dispute services are offered through the Government-backed Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme and should be resolved within six weeks.

Still, in reality, many are decided before this. However, as stated above, landlords can only charge a tenant for cleaning fees above the deposit amount if they approach a small claims court. Therefore, it may also be worth seeking legal advice if you consider claiming through the courts.

It is important to remember that landlords cannot profit from cleaning fees. For example, suppose a professional cleaning service charges £200 to clean the property at the end of the rental agreement. In that case, the landlord cannot charge the tenant more than £200.

Also, remember that the deposit can be used to claim any unpaid rent, unpaid bills and the cost of repairs for any property damage.

However, allegations considered damage caused by normal usage or reasonable wear and tear will be rejected.

Can A Landlord Charge For Carpet Cleaning?

A landlord can charge for carpet cleaning, but landlords have no automatic right to charge their tenants. The burden of proof lies with the landlord to prove that the carpets have been left in a worse condition than when the tenant first moved in, accounting for everyday life’s normal wear and tear.

It is important to remember that landlords cannot charge tenants for works that would improve their property. This is known as betterment. This applies to carpets, one of the biggest victims of ordinary wear and tear.

Suppose carpets have been in a property for a long time and need replacing. It is unlikely to be appropriate for a landlord to charge their former tenant for carpet cleaning or funding new carpets.

However, suppose there are significant stains, such as red wine spills on a cream carpet. In that case, landlords could reasonably claim extra cleaning fees from the tenant’s deposit.

To help avoid cleaning fees, it could be worthwhile for the tenant to attempt to clean the stains before the end of the lease term.

Can A Landlord Charge For Cleaning An Oven?

Landlords can charge for cleaning an oven. However, this only applies if the oven is left in worse condition. If the oven were professionally cleaned or new at the start of the tenancy, the tenant would be expected to leave it in a similar state whilst allowing for everyday wear and tear.

There is always a lot to do when vacating a residential property, and oven cleaning may be towards the bottom of your list.

Still, giving it a clean to avoid any deductions from your deposit is vital.

Many oven cleaning products are available in supermarkets and online retailers (Amazon). A bit of time and elbow grease could save you a big part of your refundable deposit.

Lady cleaning the inside of an oven.

You can protect against unfair additional cleaning fees by taking pictures and notes when you first move into the property. Any cleaning issues should be referred to the new landlord or letting agent, preferably in a written statement.

For example, if the grill or oven shelves have yet to be cleaned and were covered in grease when you first moved in, it would not be reasonable for a landlord to charge cleaning fees if they are in the same condition during the move-out inspection.

Related Articles

Can You Tell Your Tenant How Clean To Keep Their Home?

Is a Tenant Expected to Clean Windows on Move Out?

How Much Can A Landlord Charge For Damages?


The cost of professional cleaning can vary widely, depending on the extent of the cleaning needed, the items involved, the property’s size, and its location.

Landlords should not make a profit from cleaning fees.

A tenant’s deposit can cover cleaning expenses and returning the property to its original condition. However, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to prove this. The standard for cleanliness can differ, but landlords must maintain a reasonable level, considering fair wear and tear.

When moving out, tenants should aim to restore the property to its initial condition, considering normal wear and tear. Tenants can reduce the risk of fees by cleaning themselves, particularly in high-traffic areas like bathrooms and kitchens.

It is important to note that the tenant is not responsible for upgrading or improving the property; they are only responsible for returning it to its original state.

Andy Walker

Andy Walker is a property investor and landlord with over 20 years of experience, providing free education to help others start or improve their Buy-To-Let business.

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