Q. Our property was spotless when we let it but was in a very dirty state when the tenants left. At the checkout meeting they agreed that cleaning was appropriate, but they are now disputing that they should pay for it. Are we likely to succeed if we take this to arbitration?
A, Probably but it will depend on your evidence.
- Do you have a check-in report which stated that the property was in a clean state which the tenants signed as agreed?
- Do you have a check-out report which records the dirty state of the property and which is also signed by the tenants?
- Do you have any other evidence such as clear photographs, video or statement from an independent witness (such as your agent or an inventory clerk)?
One reason why landlords often use independent inventory clerks is that they will evidence the difference between the cleanliness of the property at the start and end of the tenancy which will entitle you to an award for cleaning costs. But if you are able to provide the adjudicator with sufficient evidence, they are very likely to find in your favour.
However, it is your job to prove the claim, not the tenant’s job to prove that they left the property clean. They only need to do this if they are disputing your evidence. But if you don’t have any evidence – they will win the case by default.