How to clean your rental property…

theorganisedcleaner/how to clean your rental property
Standard

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!

Protect Your Rental Property This Winter

Standard

Winter weather, particularly flooding, can cause real and structural damage to a property. Not only will your tenants be forced out of their home, but you will have to claim on your landlord insurance. You may find that if your actions or inactions caused the issue, you could be liable for some, or all, of the repairs.

If you know that your tenants will be away over the holiday season, it is vital that you protect your property to avoid any winter-related damage.

With this in mind, follow these tips and arrange an inspection with your tenants, before it’s too late!

  1. Check the lagging in your loft

Head up to the loft and check the lagging around the water pipes and cold water storage tank. Even small gaps could let in cold air and freeze the pipes, or even the water in the tank. If there are pipes in the attic, eaves and cupboards, they are typically more exposed and are prone to freezing.

  1. Leave the central heating on permanently

This is something that you should advise your tenants to do – leave the central heating on at a minimum temperature of 15°C to protect against damp and condensation. Fitting thermostatic valves to the radiators will allow you (and your tenants) to set the valves so that the radiator comes on when the temperature falls below a certain level. This enables the heating to be kept on low without having to heat the entire house all of the time.

  1. Lag the pipes

Alongside leaving the central heating on low permanently, lagging the pipes will prevent them freezing.

  1. Check the property when it is empty

If your tenants will be away over Christmas, check the property when they are out. The main cause of a burst pipe is if they have frozen, and if this isn’t noticed early enough, water damage to the fabric of the property could occur due to leaks, causing significant damage.

  1. Seal holes in walls

Wherever a cable or phone line comes through the exterior wall, check to ensure the hole is sufficiently sealed to stop cold air getting in or warm air escaping.

  1. Leave cold taps dripping

If the property will be unoccupied for a period of time, leave at least one cold tap dripping slightly on each floor. Even the slightest of drips can reduce the risk of water freezing significantly inside the pipes, but only leave taps on if you have a cold water storage tank and are not draining down the water system.

  1. Leave cupboard doors open

If the home is going to be empty, it is a good idea to leave any cabinet or cupboard doors open in the kitchen and bathroom, to allow warm air to reach any hidden pipes.

  1. Leave doors open

If your tenants are going away, suggest they leave the doors within the house open, to enable heat to circulate around the property. Also, leaving the loft hatch open will aid this.

  1. Drain the water system

If your tenants will be away for long periods, drain the water system. The water storage tanks (hot and cold) should be drained, as well as the radiators and central heating pipes.

  1. Insulate the overflow pipe from the boiler

Condensing boilers are known for their efficiency, but in the winter, there is a risk of their overflow pipes freezing and causing damage to the property. Avoid this by getting a boiler with a Siphon trap, which releases the water in one amount. Other ways to guard against a frozen overflow pipe is to insulate the pipe or simply shorten it, so there is not as much of the pipe exposed to the outsid.

  1. Check your insurance policy 

Ensure that your landlord insurance covers you for winter-related damage. If there is an emergency that must be repaired before causing further damage to the property, your policy must cover this so that work can be completed as soon as possible. If the home becomes uninhabitable, make sure your policy covers loss of rent so that you don’t miss out on payments.

Happy Christmas!! :):)

How to carry out an End of Tenancy Clean…

Standard
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.

 

Attention Tenants! How to Keep Your Rental Deposits

Standard

Tenancy Deposit Schemes

By law your landlord must put your rental deposit in one of the government-backed tenancy deposit schemes. In England and Wales the schemes are:

There are certain conditions which mean tenants may not receive their deposit back. For example, if a landlord feels that a property has fallen into disrepair due to the tenants actions or lack of care, the price of repairing those damages would be taken from the deposit.

If you treat the property with care you shouldn’t have to worry about losing your deposit. We thought it would be useful to give you some tips to help you keep your rental deposit at the end of your tenancy:

Read your tenancy agreement

Your tenancy agreement may be a bit lengthy but it’s important that you read it. The agreement will lay out explicitly what is and isn’t expected of you while living in the property. For example, some agreements will state that you cannot hang pictures on the walls, or that you must cut the grass regularly. Stick to the agreement and the rules set out by your landlord. If you are unsure about any of the conditions make sure that you discuss these with your Landlord or Letting Agent before signing.

Check the inventory

When you move into the property an inventory will be carried out to confirm the state of the property, and list any furniture or appliances that have been included. When you move out, the check-out report will be compared to the initial inventory to make sure that you have left the property in the same state in which you moved in. If you disagree with anything on the inventory make sure you take photographs and discuss this as soon as possible with your Landlord or Letting Agent.

Pay your bills

All utility bills are the tenant’s responsibility unless your tenancy agreement states otherwise. If you don’t keep on top of your bills you may have money deducted from your deposit when you move out – or even have your tenancy terminated early by your Landlord.

Report repairs

Some repairs and general maintenance will be covered by your Landlord, others you will need to sort out and pay for yourself. Always report any issues to your Landlord or Letting Agent at the earliest opportunity.

Keep it clean

If you leave the property in a mess and your Landlord has to hire a professional cleaner you are likely to have the costs deducted from your deposit. To make sure this doesn’t happen keep on top of your housework – keep surfaces, kitchen appliances, bathrooms and carpets clean to avoid a build up of grime.

Take belongings with you

When you move out of the property ensure that you take all possessions with you – including any rubbish and unwanted items. Any costs incurred by the Landlord for removal of items will most likely be deducted from your deposit.

If you have any queries about your deposit always speak to your Landlord or Letting Agent. Any disputes regarding the deposit can be lodged with the relevant tenancy deposit scheme.

Good luck 🙂

5 ways to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning

Standard

A recent survey by npower has revealed that only one in 20 parents know the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and the more than a third of UK homes aren’t fitted with a CO alarm. In order to raise awareness following Carbon Monoxide week (21-25 November), we’ve put together five ways in which you can protect you and your family from the dangers of CO poisoning:

1. Know the most common symptoms

Only 6% of people in the UK can spot the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which means that possible cases can be missed. Dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and confusion, stomach pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing are all symptoms of CO poisoning. If you notice any of these, make sure to seek medical help.

2. Fit CO alarms in your home

The only way to detect a CO leak is with a CO alarm, it’s a simple and relatively cheap way to make sure you’re protecting your family from potential CO leaks.

3. Get your appliances serviced regularly by registered engineers

Whether you’re getting new appliances fitted or you’ve had them for a while, regular services by registered engineers are necessary to ensure that everything is working correctly and any malfunctions that could cause CO leaks are picked up.

4. Make sure your kitchen is fitted with an extractor fan and do not block air vents

It’s really important to make sure all your rooms are properly ventilated, if you have air vents in any of your rooms make sure that items of furniture are not covering them.

5. Ensure your chimneys and flues are swept regularly by qualified sweeps

Blocked flues and chimneys mean that carbon monoxide can’t escape, it’s a good idea to schedule in inspections once a year to make sure they are working correctly.

Why is there damp?!

Standard

Damp and mould can mean big problems for landlords, letting agents and tenants. It can cause stress and even health issues to those affected, and can mean landlords having to spend time and money on rectifying the problems.

We’ve posted a couple of articles surrounding this topic recently (check this link and then this one) and is it is damp season, landlords, agents and tenants all need to play their part on combating damp.

1. The main cause of damp

A common cause is from condensation which occurs when air mixed with water at a warm temperature meets a surface at a cold temperature. These occurrences tend to be in microclimatic areas, such as behind cupboards and in the corner of rooms. Additionally, areas that can be affected include places with poor insulation, cold spots such as concrete beams and a lack of ventilation.

2. What you can do to prevent damp and mould

Knowing how you can stop damp and mould forming is by far the best way to defeat it.

  • Heating is also important because it lowers the opportunities for condensation to settle. Make sure your advise your tenant to turn the radiators on regularly.
  • Make sure that your property is insulated so it counters the usual, cold conditions in which condensation can grow. You might want to consider increasing the level of insulation in your property (EWI, cavity fill, double glazing) to improve insulation.
  • Ventilation is key. Keep trickle vents on windows open and try to keep windows open, especially if the tenant is drying clothes, cooking or showering.

3. How to remove existing mould

If you’re unlucky and you’re currently experiencing mould in your property, don’t panic. There are ways to make it eradicate it.

  • Clean the mould on the walls or windows with a fungicidal wash that’s recognised by a Health and Safety Executive ‘approval number’, and follow all instructions on the bottle.
  • Once you’ve done this, redecorate the affected surface(s) by using a fungicidal paint to help prevent mould from reoccurring.
  • For any mildewed clothes or carpets, make sure that you dry clean and shampoo them respectively.
  • If possible, place insulation to the external walls of your property. Seek professional insulation advice if you’re not sure on how to do this.
  • Finally, improve ventilation by installing fans, installing windows with trickle vents, and by using Passyfier vents.

Don’t let damp and mould damage your property. Getting into good habits as a landlord and tenant will help keep things under control and ensure that remedial costs and the effects of damp are kept to a minimum…

21 End Of Tenancy Cleaning Hacks That Will Surprise You!

Standard

End of tenancy cleaning can be time consuming and the last thing you want to do when moving home. We would alway recommend that you use a professional cleaning company to deal with your end of tenancy clean.  However, if you’re pretty hands on and don’t mind doing it yourself, we thought a few more useful hacks will help you along the way!

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

  • Clean stove burners by putting them in plastic bags overnight with 1/4 cup ammonia. (Wear gloves; do in a well-ventilated area.)
  • Sanitize your garbage disposal during home cleaning by freezing lemon slices and vinegar in an ice-cube tray. Run 2 or 3 cubes through the disposal.
  • Keep your kitchen drain unclogged by pouring boiling water down it weekly.
  • Clean stainless steel appliances by buffing gently with flour on a dampened cloth.
  • For a clean microwave, mix 1 cup of water with chopped lemon. Heat 5 minutes in the microwave. Let cool and wipe the inside.
  • Clean your broiler pan or oven racks by scrubbing with salt.
  • Eliminate dishwasher stains by pouring in lemon drink-mix powder and running an empty cycle.
  • Knock out kitchen-wall grease stains during home cleaning by sprinkling cornstarch on a damp sponge and rubbing the stains.

Bathroom Cleaning Hacks

  • Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet at night. In the morning, swish and flush.
  • Remove lime or calcium on faucets by soaking a towel in vinegar. Wrap it around the area and put cling wrap on the outside. Leave overnight.
  • Remove bathroom soap scum during home cleaning with 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and 5 drops of dishwashing liquid. Scrub with a sponge or brush.

Laundry Room Cleaning Hacks

  • Clean your washer by pouring in a cup of bleach or white vinegar (use more for a top loader) and running a hot-water cycle.
  • Clean in and under your dryer’s lint filter with your vacuum’s wand attachment.
  • Eliminate laundry room smells with 1 cup baking soda plus 2 drops essential oil in an old sock. Hang where the odor is the worst.

Other useful Hacks

  • Wipe ant-infested areas with white vinegar; then sprinkle cinnamon where you saw ants (do a test first to guard against stains).
  • Polish copper with ketchup. Apply liberally, leave for an hour, and wipe away.
  • Clean glass with newspapers instead of paper towels; no lint is left behind.
  • An open box of baking soda removes odors from smelly areas.
  • Clean pet carpet stains by removing pet soil, dissolving a few tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle, spraying the carpet, and blotting with a dry towel.
  • Eradicate water marks on wood by mixing half ashes, half mayonnaise. Apply to the water mark; rub gently with a cloth.

References (for bedtime reading ;))

  • The 11 best life hacks for keeping your kitchen fabulous. (2013, November 8). Huffington Post.
  • Brown, N. (2013, October 29). 30 squeaky-clean laundry hacks. Buzz Feed.
  • Burton, N. (n.d.). Surprising bathroom cleaning hacks. Mom.Me.
  • Cleaning hacks. (n.d.). Lifehacker.
  • Piro, L. (2014, July 10). 10 foods that are surprisingly good cleaners. Good Housekeeping.
  • Valliant, M. (2014, August 15). Cleaning hacks for 12 things you thought would stay dirty forever. Hella Wella.
  • Walsh, J. M. (2015, May 29). 9 genius kitchen cleaning hacks you need to know. My Domaine