Landlords are frequently failing to return rental bonds in full due to cleaning bills.
Landlords are frequently failing to return rental bonds in full due to cleaning bills.

Landlords shaft renters with dirty trick

Landlords and property managers are shafting millions from NSW tenants by citing inadequately cleaned properties as an excuse to not return rental bonds in full, according to a house cleaning service.

A survey by online cleaning marketplace UrbanYou showed one in five NSW renters had lost part of their bond to a landlord who claimed their properties weren't cleaned properly before being vacated, with the average loss at $1224.

With 821,830 rentals bonds currently lodged in the state, the company estimated total rental bond losses could be as high as $191 million.

Landlords in the Sydney CBD, Liverpool, Tamarama and Bondi were the least likely to return rental bonds in full, according to additional data from NSW Fair Trading.

Other suburbs where renters had frequent bond disputes were Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Parramatta, Westmead, Potts Point and Woolloomooloo.

UrbanYou co-founder Elke Keeley said that while some renters were failing to clean their rentals properly many were being called out for trivial missteps such as tile mould or a stain on the carpet.

"We realised this was a growing problem among customers when it comes to end of lease," Ms Keeley said.

Tenants often overlook certain parts of the home when cleaning it before a handover.
Tenants often overlook certain parts of the home when cleaning it before a handover.

"Sometimes customers leave it too late and don't have time to clean properly, but more often than not, it is landlords looking for an excuse to hold onto some of the bond."

Some tenants were only getting their bonds returned in full after hiring professional cleaning companies at the end of their lease, Ms Keeley said.

Tenants often overlook certain parts of the home when cleaning it before a handover.
Tenants often overlook certain parts of the home when cleaning it before a handover.

Tenants could mitigate the risk of an unreturned bond by remembering to clean often overlooked parts of a home, Ms Keeley said.

These included oven and stove tops, walls and light switches, as well as toilets.

UrbanYou also recommended thoroughly cleaning carpets, removing mould from bathroom tiles and surfaces and scouring cupboards and drawers.

"In our experience, the majority of these things are quickly resolved and don't warrant the hefty fines being passed down to consumers via rental bond disputes," Ms Keeley said.


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