Here is a question to the Blog Clinic from Sally (not her real name) who is a landlord
My Tenant gave me notice. I have been unable to show anybody around property due to the condition of it inside – very dirty.
Can I now charge a couple of days rent while the property is being cleaned and repaired because it is not ina good state to rent out?
Yes and no.
Provided the terms of your tenancy agreement provide for this, you are allowed to charge for the (reasonable) cost of cleaning to put the property back in the position it was at the end of the tenancy. So you need to be able to prove that the property was clean at the start – which means having a decent inventory.
A charge for cleaning is very common though and if the tenants challenged this and you went to adjudication is likely to be granted. However, you cannot charge for lost rent during the period of time it takes you to do the cleaning.
Landlords do not have a God-given right to be able to re-let their properties immediately without any void.
Indeed it is to be expected that there will be a period of time between tenancies when you will do any necessary cleaning, maybe refresh the decorations and perhaps get PAT certificates for your electrical items just to make sure they are all in proper working order.
The duty of a tenant is to leave the property in the same condition it was at the start of the tenancy – but this is subject to fair wear and tear.
So to make a property sparkling and new looking for the next tenants there will inevitably be some work needed to deal with any ‘fair wear and tear’ damage. The longer the tenant has been in occupation, the more wear and tear there is likely to be.