Secrets to waste reduction in the office!

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When it comes to waste reduction, the challenge must be overcome both at home or in the office. In an office setting, waste usually comes in the form of paper. There are some useful hacks when it comes to effective waste management, which not everyone is aware of. So, in the spirit of starting 2017 with one eye on sustainability, here are some awesome secrets to help with your waste reduction and waste management in the office:

  • Engage Employees, Clients and Communities – Probably the hardest tip to follow through on but if you want to be successful with your waste reduction strategy, you’ll need to cast the vision and ensure the buy in of your team. You might need to carry out training on waste management, take suggestions from your employees, clients and the community at large and then involve them in creating incentives for waste reduction. Your social media page and signage at the office should share information on your efforts and where possible, have a take-back program and implement recycling. You should also consider providing water bottles and mugs that are reusable.
  • Recycling with Other Businesses – A really effective approach to waste reduction is by sharing equipment with other businesses close to you. If you have recyclables, you can sell them off as one. It may be possible to work together to host a recycling event for e-waste (discarded electronic appliances) as well!
  • Commercial Interchange Participation – Did you know that you’re able to exchange materials that you don’t want or may have in excess, for other things that you do need. You will find a wide variety of materials here, some that may be at no cost, while others will be available for a small fee. Either way, you will be recycling some of the things you no longer use including old computers and other electronics.
  • Donations – If you have old office supplies and old furniture, you should consider donating them. Non-profit organisations would benefit as well as cooperatives that would make use of craft supplies, binders, stationary, electronics and more.
  • Reduce the Use of Paper – One of the best efforts at waste reduction is to use the “print on both sides” feature on your computer. Ensure that this is the default setting. Additionally, try to fit more words per page by changing the margins to 0.75 instead of 1.25.
  • Audit your Waste – The motto for productive waste management is reduce, reuse and recycle. Start the waste reduction process by making sure you know just what it is that gets thrown away so that you can have an idea where you need to cut back on.
  • Minimise Lunch Waste – Ask staff to consider eating in by bringing their own packed lunch (in a re-usable lunchbox) vs. ordering out or picking lunch up and eating at their desks.
  • Email Newsletters – Instead of circulating paper newsletters, create a regular mail shoot and send out email newsletters. You’ll be saving trees and reducing advertising spend at the same time! You will definitely be contributing to waste reduction and the environment will thank you for it.

Sustainable business operations are becoming more common place and everybody needs to play their part  in saving the environment. You can start with effective waste reduction and waste management and by getting the message across to your employees you can amplify the impact. As staff learn they will form good habits and spread the information on recycling, waste reduction and waste management to their friends, family members and more!

If you have any questions about effective waste reduction and waste management for your office, call The Organised Cleaning Company on 020 74584433 and talk to one of our team today!

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How to clean your rental property…

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When it’s time to move from your rental property, it’s important to make sure that you leave the place nice and clean so you can a) get your deposit back in full; and b) get a good referral from your landlord or letting agency.

Over 50% of Londoners rent their homes rather then own them so we thought it would be useful to share some top 10 tips on how to clean your renal property to make sure that you get your deposit back when it’s time to move on:

1. Go snap happy on arrival

A simple but essential task when you first move in – take pictures of everything and keep a digital record. Check these photos against the inventory provided by your letting agency or landlord and check these match before confirming.

2. Get a house cleaner!

Unless you have the time to regularly clean your home, on a weekly or fortnightly basis, it would be worth the investment to hire a regular cleaner. This will ensure that your home is kept clean to a respectable standard – and that you will not be hit with an overwhelming cleaning job when you are ready to move. Dusting, mopping and vacuuming on a weekly basis will help reduce the stress when cleaning your rental property, and might save you from having to hire professional end of tenancy cleaners at the end of your tenancy!

3. Clean your oven, fridge and windows each month

Keeping up to date with cleaning your fridge, oven and indoor windows will also help you save time when it comes to the end of your tenancy. A regular defrost of the fridge/freezer, regular cleaning of windows and a wiping out the oven every so often will help keep things more manageable when it’s time to clean your rental property.

4. Monitor wear & tear

Undergoing a monthly check of the condition of your rental property  will help you keep track of the wear and tear your home has undergone since moving in. Taking photos, and keeping a digital record of these images with dates will also allow you to plan ahead – and help you organise these repairs and notify the letting agent and inventory clerk in advance of your move out date.

5. Invest in wooden floor cleaner

If you have wooden floors in your rental, it is important to vacuum, mop and also to apply a wooden floor cleaner every so often. If you have an open plan home, it may also be wise to invest in doormats at each and every entrance, with a rug to cover the exposed areas. This will reduce the chance of scuff marks, scratches and dents.

6. Scrub all kitchen appliances

It may seem to be common knowledge, but it is important to keep all appliances provided by the tenant/landlord in the same condition that you found them. As mentioned, it is important to keep on top of appliances like the oven and the fridge, but the smaller items must not be overlooked. A weekly clean of the toaster, microwave and kettle both inside and outside, will help you keep on top of this.

7. Stay on top of limescale

Limescale can be a pain, especially as it often occurs in hard to reach places – like the inside of coffeemakers and kettles – as well as on faucets and bathtubs, leaving an annoying chalky white substance behind. The best way to ensure you get your deposit back when leaving your rental property is to remove all limescale on a regular basis. Limescale, if uncleaned, leaves a mineral build up that can cause damage, and make soap scum and other dirt harder to remove. This is why it is important to keep an eye on appliances, tubs and faucets – and regularly remove any build up.

8. Regular carpet cleaning

You don’t need to hire a carpet cleaner, but the purchase of a spray on carpet cleaner that can be left for ten minutes and then vacuumed is essential. This does not need to be done each week, monthly will suffice, however it is important to do this regularly as it will make a big difference to how your carpet looks at the end of your tenancy. For deeper stains, especially on lighter carpets, it would be advisable hire a professional carpet cleaning company and have a quarterly or 6 month carpet clean to ensure good maintenance.

9. Property maintenance

If you have hung any artwork in the home, whether with nails or blu tac, remove these 2-3 weeks before your lease finishes. You will then have time to clean the walls, fill in any holes and repaint if necessary. Before you begin the process, always check with your landlord/letting agency that they are happy for you to repaint. There will be no bigger disappointment than having to pay for an entire repaint of the property, when you were only trying to help with a normal wear & tear.

Moving home can be a stressful time, so to make sure you don’t have the added stress of a deduction from your deposit – keep on top of your home cleaning and flow this guide on how to clean your rental property!

If you’re moving home in London and want to hire a professional end of tenancy cleaning company to take care of your clean, contact ProClean Team on 020 8742 1808 or email info@procleanteamltd.co.uk

As you’re online, why not follow The Organised Cleaning Company on Facebook and Twitter for more useful cleaning nuggets!

How to carry out an End of Tenancy Clean…

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Before you get started on the task of end of tenancy cleaning their are a couple of things you should do first:
  1. The main thing to do first is to decide who is going to be doing the actual cleaning work;
  2. If you have decided to do the end of tenancy cleaning yourself, it is probably a good idea to go around the entire property with a pen and pad and make a comprehensive list of all the items that require cleaning. By taking this approach their is less likelihood that any items or surfaces will be missed out and consequently picked up by your landlord or their managing agents when the property inventory check is carried out.
  3. Once you have gone around and are satisfied that you have a list of works that covers everything, the next step is to ensure you have all the required cleaning materials and equipment for the job. What will happen if you are not fully prepared is ie. that when it comes to removal of limescale from the taps and shower head or removal of burnt on grease from the oven, without the right products you will spend hours scrubbing to no avail.
  4. Before you actually schedule your work, you will want to make sure all the kitchen cabinets are cleared and also the fridge and that any other items are cleared off the surfaces. This will make the cleaning work much easier than if you try to move things as you go along. Once you are confident that you have all the cleaning products required you should be ready to start cleaning. 

If you want a tip from a professional London cleaning company on end of tenancy cleaning, the best one we can offer, is to tackle the hardest areas first. These are normally the kitchen and bathrooms as these take the most effort and time. Try to get these areas done first while you are fresh and have plenty of energy, you do not want to be tackling the heaviest cleaning tasks when you are getting tired. The bedrooms and living spaces should be lighter work so leave them to last.

Most landlords and their managing agents these days will expect the property to be cleaned to a professional standard. Failure to reach the standard will almost certainly result in financial penalties for the excess work that is specified, or the agents may well appoint their own cleaning firm to re-clean the whole property. This can be costly for the vacating tenant because management fees may well be added to the cleaning firms cost for the agents time. It will also render your own efforts a waste of time as you will be liable to meet the full cleaning costs.

Please bear this in mind if you decide to clean yourself, and if you follow the suggestions in this blog you shouldn’t run into these sort of issues.

 

3 things to consider before becoming a landlord…

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With demand for rental property continuing to grow and showing no signs of slowing down, now is a great time to step into the world of lettings. But being a landlord isn’t right for everyone, and there are things you must consider before investing in the private rental sector.

If you are not dedicated to renting out property, you could find yourself losing money and gaining a considerable amount of stress. This is why we have put together a list of three key things you must consider before becoming a landlord:

How much experience do I have?

Those with previous experience in the lettings sector will be better equipped at renting out property. However, everyone has to start somewhere right?! All landlords need good communication skills and financial abilities.

What type of landlord do I want to be? 

The property market is extremely diverse, which means that you can choose to rent out whatever type of accommodation you wish. If you are purchasing your first rental property, it is a good ideal to choose a specialty and stick to it until you are ready to branch out into something new. You may decide that you want to let your property to student tenants, or maybe you’d prefer to cater to families with children. The best way to make the right choice is to look at the type of demand in the area you are thinking of investing in.

How can I be financially secure?

Most people who rent out property want to make some money from it. However, if you mismanage your portfolio, you could find yourself losing money or struggling to make ends meet. In order to ensure that you’re a successful landlord, you must budget very seriously and understand all of the outgoings that you must pay for on a regular basis. It is always important to protect your investment with Landlord Insurance, which will help if you have any issues with a tenancy or suffer property damage.

After considering these three things, you might be ready to enter the world of lettings – good luck!

What you SHOULD know about end of tenancy cleaning!

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As a tenant, you need to be aware of a number of things that need to occur when your tenancy comes to an end. The most common situations when your tenancy will come to an end are as follows:

  • by the written agreement on a fixed date;
  • by your landlord before that date if you are in breach of the agreement; and
  • by yourself before the date of the fixed-term agreement where there is a break clause.

Regardless of the reason, a month’s (or longer) notice is normally required. Once your tenancy is coming to an end, as a tenant you have responsibilities to fulfil which, include:

  • to fix all damages, caused by you, your guests or your pets, having such;
  • to clean the property thoroughly before moving out (you can do it yourself or using a professional cleaning company);
  • to be in the property while the check-out report is prepared or the landlord inspects the property  is inspecting the place;
  • to pay your last months rent;
  • to pay all the utility bills up to the end of your tenancy.

One thing not to get too conceded with is general wear and tear at the property as this falls outside of the remit for matters that need to be rectified at the end of your tenancy.

Pay serious attention to the cleaning!

Data published by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme in 2015 confirms that 54% o all deposit disputes centre around cleaning, so it’s in your best interest to make sure the property is cleaned properly, ideally by a professional cleaning company, to make sure that it his up to standard and to help with the return of your deposit.

Getting your deposit back!

It used to be that paying a security deposit at the outset of your tenancy can be quite stressful as you’re handing over a large chunk of cash without any real guarantee of getting it back when you move out. The introduction of deposit protections schemes has made things a bit easier and more secure for both landlords and tenants with regards to returning deposits and deductions made from deposits.

By law, the landlord is required to pay your deposit into one of three Government approved deposit protection schemes. Generally, a deposit secures the landlord against:

  • unpaid rent;
  • unpaid utility bills;
  • damage caused to the property beyond usual wear and tear; and
  • you have lost or not returned the keys of the property.

Provided you returned the property back in no worse state (wear & tear excepted) than it was at the start of the tenancy and it has been  properly cleaned, you should have no problems getting your deposit back within 10 days of you agreeing with the landlord the amount to be returned. If there are some disagreements between you and your landlord, the Government-backed deposit protection schemes have a set procedure which needs to be followed for disputes, which includes providing evidence and details of costs. You can find out more from our previous post by following this link!

Happy moving!

Can you spot a bad landlord?

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Nothing can ruin your rental experience, quite like a horrible landlord. Even if you get the property of your dreams, the last thing you need is having to deal with a landlord who won’t leave you alone or who refuse to handle property issues once you have moved in.

There are landlords out there that manage their own property directly rather than go through agents or a management company, and it is often in these instances when tenants may need to put up with problems such as bad DIYs, unreliable contractors or sudden rent increases.

However, as a tenant you can spare yourself the drama & costs by spotting such owners earlier in the rental process and avoid getting stuck with a dodgy landlord:

1. The landlord is hesitant to give you contact information

If you have troubles getting a hold of your landlord at the very beginning, chances are you will have hard times reaching them later on when you have a maintenance requests. Before you take the plunge and put down the deposit, ensure that the property owner is easily accessible. They should provide you with plenty of ways to get in touch before you sign up a contract. If the only information your potential landlord has given you is a postcode or email address, keep looking.

2. The landlords evades your questions

Pay attention to the landlord’s behaviour while inquiring about the state of the property and the lease. Is the landlord open or more evasive? If the landlord gives you general statements and avoids providing you with specific information, that is a bad sign. A good landlord should be responsive and ready to address all your concerns. They should provide you with a clear plan and timeline for resolving any existing problems. Of course, this is not a guarantee that they will keep up their promise, but it is an encouraging sign.

3. Poorly maintained property

A place that seems to be held together with bobby pins and duct tape reflects not only on the quality of the property, but also on the attitude of the owner. Even if the apartment or house you plan to rent seems immaculate on the inside, consider the look of the area outside as well. Good landlords will keep the outdoors space just as well-maintained as the rented area.

4. Bad reviews from other tenants

If the previous tenants have nothing good to say about the landlord, then move to the next option. Research is important part of the house removals process. Don’t skip it. Check the letting history of your potential landlord. Look out for reviews and opinions from former tenants. Find a way to contact the current tenants if you can.

5. Too-good-to-be-true deal

You found an ideal rental at an unbelievably low price? Maybe you got really lucky or maybe there is something wrong. The odds are it is the second. A landlord that gives you a great deal on a rent that should be much higher is a huge red flag. Even if you are excited about moving house to the new apartment, read carefully the lease. Does it look fishy? Are there any unusual clauses? A bad landlord will try to include additional charges or make you pay for building insurance costs and taxes. If you want peace of mind when protecting your deposit, why not consider using a tenant inventory service?

Good luck 😉

Is condensation a landlord or tenant problem?

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As we head towards winter, condensation and mould caused in residential property can become a bone of contention between landlords & tenants.

In the UK, condensation and mould are a common problem. Rental properties are particularly vulnerable, as many of them are older properties with inadequate heating and ventilation. The problem can vary in severity from a small patch of mould or discoloured wallpaper behind a cupboard in the corner of a room to serious amounts of mould growth across walls, inside wardrobes and on furnishings, carpets and in basements.

Condensation in residential property is caused by warm, moist air generated in areas like kitchens and bathrooms penetrating colder parts of the building. When the air becomes cold, it is unable to hold the extra moisture produced by everyday activities, so some of this moisture appears as small droplets of water – most noticeable on windows or on places where there is little movement of air. If not properly dealt with, this extra ‘dampness’ can lead to mould growth on walls, furniture, window frames and even on clothes.

Condensation can lead to mould, a serious problem for both landlords and tenants because of the health risks associated with mould spores. Mould growth caused by building defects in the rental property are clearly the landlord’s responsibility. It is sometimes caused by inadequacies in the building, but very often the main cause of mould growth is the lifestyle of the occupants – the tenants.

The average tenant will produce condensation through cooking, washing, internal drying, etc. Landlords and agents need to be aware of the potential problems which excessive condensation and mould growth can cause and should take steps to minimise the risks.

We’ve put together some advice that landlords & agents should give tenants to try and keep condensation to a minimum:

  • Dry all windows, windowsills, and any other surfaces that have become wet. Ensure you wring out the cloth thoroughly, do not dry on the radiator!
  • Try to keep the interior temperature of the property at a reasonably constant level
  • If possible, always hang your washing outside. If this is not possible, hang it in the bathroom with the door closed and window slightly open for ventilation. Do not dry washing on radiators as this will add to moisture already in the air.
  • Ensure that all extractor fans are working efficiently. Noisy extractors will encourage tenants leave turned off. (If an extractor cannot hold a postcard to the vent when switched on it is not efficient enough.)
  • If you use a tumble dryer, ensure it is well ventilated to the outside, or that it is the new condensing type.
  • Try to ventilate your kitchen when in use, either by opening a window slightly or using the extractor fan. Try to ventilate both kitchens and bathrooms for at least twenty minutes after use.
  • If your property is prone to condensation then daily use of a de-humidifier unit can be very beneficial. These come in all shapes and sizes, cost very little to run and draw out the excess moisture from the air, helping to keep the condensation under control.