If you surveyed 100 Property Managers, I guarantee one of the most common answers for the biggest bugbear would be the term ‘reasonably clean!' That wording in the Residential Tenancies Act has caused countless disputes between residential rental providers, agents and renters.
What exactly is reasonably clean and what is a fair condition to hand the property to a new renter or back to a rental provider? Although this 'one size fits all' approach was implemented with the best intentions, in reality, there are just too many varying standards to meet everyone’s expectations.
Whilst the new reforms have created some angst, the clarity around professional cleaning, should in fact put to bed some of the ambiguity surrounding the reasonably clean argument.
From the 29th March the following term is prescribed:
From the 29th March 2021 the residential rental provider must not require the renter to arrange professional cleaning or cleaning to a professional standard at the end of the tenancy, unless:
(a) professional cleaning or cleaning to a professional standard was carried out to the rented premises immediately before the start of the tenancy and the renter was advised that professional cleaning or cleaning to a professional standard had been carried out to those premises immediately before the start of the tenancy; or
(b) professional cleaning or cleaning to a professional standard is required to restore the rented premises to the same condition they were in immediately before the start of the tenancy, having regard to the condition report and taking into account fair wear and tear.
For the purposes of section 27C(1)(b) of the Act, the following term is prescribed:
The renter must have all or part of the rented premises professionally cleaned, or pay the cost of having all or part of the rented premises professionally cleaned, if professional cleaning becomes required to restore the premises to the condition they were in immediately before the start of the tenancy, having regard to the condition report and taking into account fair wear and tear.
So what does all of that mean?
Basically, if you have had the property cleaned by a professional (including carpets) and can provide an itemised report showing what has been done, then a renter has a duty/obligation to do the same thing when they vacate.
If you don’t, then ultimately, neither do they, and they can return the premises in a ‘reasonably clean state'.
To ensure that we can raise the standards of cleanliness, reduce the concerns and stress at the time of vacating and establish a level of continuity throughout tenancies, we will be encouraging our landlords (rental providers) to ensure a professional clean is conducted when their next renter vacates. From there, each renter will be required under the Act to do the same, retaining a high standard of handover at every tenancy. Whilst the initial clean requires a financial outlay, it will be classed as tax deductible and will set the tone for every tenancy thereafter