Some short backstory: Me and my partner moved into a rental flat (England) which was very unclean. We took a lot of time cleaning it ourselves, whilst exchanging many emails with the rental agency. The tenancy agreement clearly states that the property would be clean to a professional standard upon moving in, so we asked for financial compensation in lieu of a professional clean.

Eventually the agency agreed to compensation, but with the stipulation that the property be returned to them in the condition of being "professionally cleaned". This is a divergence from the tenancy agreement which states that the property should be returned in the condition we found it in.

My question concerns the enforceability of this new stipulation, given that "professionally clean" is so vague as to imply that a single speck of dirt could require money being subtracted from the end of tenancy deposit, and this agency is known for being exploitative when it comes to deposit negotiations. We are very hesitant to accept this clause for this reason, but we still feel we are owed compensation. The latest is that we have counter offered to accept the compensation without this clause.

Our next step if our complaint breaks down would be to take this issue to The Property Ombudsman.

1 Answer 1


If you agreed to it, it’s an enforceable amendment to the contract

As I understand the offer made to you, in return for a sum of money you would accept the landlord’s breach in not having the property clean to the standard specified in the lease and you would promise to meet that same standard on departure. That has all the elements required of a contract and is enforceable. If you don’t think it’s a good deal, reject it and sue for damages for the breach, but once you accept it, you’re bound to it.

The landlord cannot require you to use professionally cleaners but they can “request the same level of cleanliness and hygiene as it was documented at the start of the tenancy, detailed in the inventory report.” Normally that would mean that you have to return it in state you received it, but if you subsequently contracted a different state (e.g, professionally clean), it would mean that state.

“Professionally clean” is not a vague term - it means the state that a reasonable person would expect a team of professional house cleaners to deliver. This is not the same standard as you would expect of professional commercial cleaners or hospital cleaners. A “speck of dirt” would not make it not “professionally clean”. A straightforward way to deal with expectations is to prepare an inventory report (including photos) and agree that on return, it will look like that.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .