Comment: The ‘tenant tax’ we shouldn’t be intimidated into paying

Dirty work: end of tenancy cleans don't come cheap. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dirty work: end of tenancy cleans don't come cheap. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Oh, the joys of moving house! The elation of having completed a purchase/secured a desired tenancy lasts all of about five seconds before the next round of misery begins.

Much like getting married, there’s a hidden ‘tax’ on moving house, particularly if you’re leaving a rental property.

I mean, how much would you expect to pay to have a very small three bedroom/one bathroom house throughly cleaned?

According to one of the companies recommended by our letting agent, £400. Yes, this includes oven and carpet cleaning, but still! For the clean on its own? About £250.

Given that the going rate for a regular clean in St Albans is around £15 per hour, they’re basically saying that more than 16 hours of work is needed to bring our tiny house up to scratch. Madness - and a right rip off.

But the threat of not getting your deposit back looms large.

The agency’s check out checklist warns that, while we’re under no obligation to use one of their approved cleaners, if the house fails to meet their required standards and another company is called in, we’ll be facing a £75 minimum charge.

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But when I peruse their checklist and see the demand that we ‘remove marks off walls’ I can’t help but feel huffy - because no wall in this house was untouched by marks when we moved in.

The inventory prepped before our arrival flags this, with multiple references to ‘rubs and scuffs’ and ‘patchy paintwork’.

I’m not sure where the ‘grey mould spots’ around the windows and ‘dust to glass externally’ stand alongside the order to ‘clean windows inside and out, including any traces of mould’.

And while we’d expect to ‘remove any stains from carpets’, the inventory notes that one was already covered in ‘faded spot stains throughout’ on our arrival.

I don’t know about you, but £400 to make a place look better than it did before I moved in isn’t a price I’m willing to pay.