The Deposit Protection Scheme reports that over half of deposit disputes are because of inadequate end of tenancy cleaning. Unfortunately, winning back the full tenancy deposit can require more time and energy than you may have anticipated.

If you’re getting ready to hand over a property you’ve been renting, you need to ask yourself one question before moving out: how clean is clean?

This guide offers expert tips and advice that will help you ensure your property passes the final inspection. If you want to receive the full deposit amount, avoid disputes, and get good references from your landlord, you’ve come to the right place!

What Is End of Tenancy Cleaning?

Landlords expect to see the same standard of cleanliness as when you first moved into their property. This is known as end of lease cleaning.

If your landlord notices a general lack of hygiene, it’s within their rights to hire a professional cleaning company and charge you for it.

In order to benchmark the cleanliness of your property, you need to create a detailed property inventory check during check-in and check-out.

Have the landlord sign the check-in inventory report. If the check-out inventory is comparable to the check-in one, your deposit will be released in full.

end of lease cleaning tips

End of Tenancy DIY Cleaning

If you want to do the cleaning on your own, you must make sure your property is free of:

  • Stains, dirt, dust, and hair
  • Moulds and pest infestations
  • Smudges, spills, and fingermarks
  • Rust and limescale
  • Garbage, leftovers, and food deposits

Before you start cleaning, make sure you ask the landlord for their inspection checklist. Give yourself at least a week to clean and make sure all damages have been repaired.

Here are the most important items your landlord is going to check:


Check the oven for grime or food deposits. It’s usually the first thing landlords check. Do the same with racks, switches, handles, and any other surface.

Make sure you’ve emptied all the shelves and cupboards. Double-check to make sure no crumbs are left inside.

Clean the fridge thoroughly and make sure there’s no bad odour inside. Do the same with any other appliance. If you can, clean the back of the appliances as well.

Living Room and Bedroom(s)

Living rooms and bedrooms are less about stains and grime and more about dust. Make sure you empty all the shelves, cabinets, and cupboards before vacuuming. The living room usually takes the longest time because it contains the most items.

Make sure the bed sheets are clean. Empty the wardrobes and drawers, then vacuum them thoroughly.


Bathrooms are all about scrubbing. Scrub the mirrors, toilet, sink, and floor. Make sure there aren’t any plumbing issues.

Windows and Walls

Clean the windows from the outside and inside. Use a window cleaner and replace any panes with cracks in them.

Your walls shouldn’t have any marks or scuffs on them. Try to fill the nail holes with a filler and paint over any scuffs with an emulsion. Don’t forget to get rid of spider webs and moulds.

Curtains and Carpets

A lot of people try to wash their curtains and carpets but end up damaging them. This is why we highly recommend you take them to a specialized cleaner.

vacuum cleaner

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the most common questions we’ve received.

Can landlords demand a professional cleaning service?

Some landlords try to force tenants to hire a professional cleaning company before moving out. They do so by including a clause in the tenancy agreement that specifically asks for a professional clean.

If your tenancy agreement was signed after the 1st of June 2019, this isn’t the case anymore. The Tenant Fees Act 2019 now prohibits clauses that request professional cleaning services or enforce charges for hiring a specific cleaning company.

In short, as long as your property is clean before the handout, your landlord cannot force you to purchase a professional cleaning service.

Can I skip end of tenancy cleaning?

You can, but we strongly advise against it.

If you don’t have the time or energy to do the cleaning yourself, hire an affordable cleaning service to do it for you. There are plenty of fairly priced services that specialize in end of tenancy cleaning.

If you leave the cleaning job to your landlord, you’ll risk losing most, if not all, of your deposit.

Landlords will always prioritize hiring a premium company rather than saving you money. This could rack up hundreds of pounds, and the bill will be discounted from your deposit.

If the landlord hires a cleaning company, make sure you ask for the receipt as proof. The landlord can’t request more than the total cost of the receipt.

How do I deal with unfair deductions?

Some landlords will try to scam you to take as much as they can from your deposit. There are a few ways they can do this:

  • Get a cleaning company to overcharge you for a commission
  • Attempt to do the cleaning themselves and charge you an absurd amount
  • Accuse you of stealing or property damage

If you’re subjected to any unfair treatment, reject anything they offer. Immediately contact the Office of Fair Trade through your government-authorised deposit scheme and prepare the following:

  • Rent payment receipts
  • All utility bills receipts
  • Any receipts for cleaning services or other professional services (repairs, gardening, and so forth.)
  • The tenancy agreement
  • Time-stamped photos of the property right before check-out

empty room

In Conclusion

End of tenancy cleaning is essential if you want to receive the full deposit amount. Set aside some time and go trough the tenant checklist of all the things that need to be attended to.

Remember, if you can’t find the time to do the cleaning yourself, you can hire a professional company to do it for you. Leaving the cleaning job to the landlord puts your whole deposit on the line.

Finally, inventory reports are vital during check-in and check-out. They help you restore the property to a comparable standard of cleanliness, but they’re also imperative in resolving disputes.