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Who's responsibility is it to clean and switch energy meters?

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Author Topic: Who's responsibility is it to clean and switch energy meters?  (Read 148 times)
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« on: February 13, 2020, 08:37:14 PM »

Hi everyone,

Me and my partner are newish landlords (2 years) and so far we had great tenants and had good understanding with them. Only issue we had is we are renting a 2 bed flat and we had tenants movements (ie one tenants stays, the other one moves out and being replaced etc).
We now got to a point that even though one of the tenants is staying (and a new tenants moves into the other bedroom) we are signing a brand new lease.

The new tenants that's moving in seems to be a bit less relaxed than our previous tenants and has a list of requests / demands. Most of them are fine, but a couple are debatable so I was wondering in terms of the law / the way things normally works, who's responsibility is to:

1. Change pay as you go key meters to standard meters.
New tenant would prefer normal meters as bills would be cheaper, but is it our responsibility as landlords to do the legwork? As far as I remember from me being a tenant its the tenants responsibility. Also, can they choose whatever supplier they want? the company they are suggesting is one we've never heard of.

2. Cleaning.
New tenants wrote to us she would expect the flat to be professionally cleaned before moving in. First, that would be a difficult task as only one person is moving out so the kitchen, living room, bathroom and one of the bedrooms will be full of stuff. Also, as far as I remember, it is the tenants responsibility to leave the place clean when they leave. So what do we do in this case when only one person moves out?

Many thanks in advance,

Tuli
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2020, 10:47:50 AM »

Have you signed anything yet? My first response would be to look for another tenant,you are getting a warning of what is to come.The tenants can choose to change utilities,I just insist that they keep me updated if they do.One of my rentals has a pre-paid meter put in without my knowledge years ago.It would put me off,but now that people can top -up online they don't seem to care.It is quite expensive and aggravating to get them removed.The tenant should accept the flat as presented.With someone else in situ you can't achieve spotless cleaning.I would expect them to pay if they want a different meter. Good luck with this one!
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 11:13:25 AM »

I think only some Utility Companies charge for changing a pre-payment meter to a credit meter... the incoming Tenant has the right idea, who would want to pay more for the same energy? However, I would expect responsibility for doing this to fall on the Tenant, as it's the Tenant that the Utility Company will need to credit check in order to allow a credit meter to be re-installed. I don't think the Tenant is being unreasonable in asking for a 'normal' meter to be present... there are good reasons for this, I would put the problem onto their shoulders for reasons such as: 1) you're the person who wants it doing, 2) you're responsible for the bills and 3) the Utility Company you choose will need to credit check you, not me the Landlord. A Tenant has the right to change Utility Supplier... again, they do it - and it doesn't matter if you've never heard of them. I'd never heard of Goole, but I once went there... and it existed for a long time... doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it (there is).

Professional cleaning is a term only. Does the incoming Tenant mean someone has been paid, or that it's done to a professional standard? Regardless, politely decline - give with one hand, keep with the other.

Seems the bigger companies do it for free, some others may not... let the Tenant choose:

https://www.moneysupermarket.com/money-made-easy/how-to-switch-from-a-prepayment-energy-meter/
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 11:14:57 AM by Hippogriff »
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2020, 02:47:36 PM »

Out of interest was the property professionally cleaned at the beginning of the current tenancy? If yes, then the current tenants need to clean the property to a professional standard themselves.

Getting a full clean while tenants are already present is a pain.  If you pay now then the tenants would need to pay for a full professional clean themselves at the end. 

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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2020, 04:27:05 PM »

Thanks everyone for your responses!

I will do as suggested regarding the meters.

As for the cleaning, I cleaned the place myself REALLY well when we bought the place and before the original set of tenants moved in. It was spotless.
Since then, it was always just one person staying and the other moving (like now) so the place was never empty and cleaning was never discussed.
So I feel like it would be unfair to ask the current tenants (one staying and one leaving) to pay for a clean, also, I don't feel like we should be paying for it either.
And yes, getting a deep clean for a place full of stuff is impossible!
Not sure what to do about that one still.

We've already signed the lease and I am definitely having doubt we did the right thing accepting the new person...

Thanks again for your help.

T
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 04:31:53 PM »

A scale of cleaning doesn't exist. It's entirely subjective. One person's messy is another person's clean. And another person's spotless is another person's could do with a run-around. There's no 1 to 100% scale of clean. So it is impossible to say how well you did, or anyone. Asking for professional cleaning can mean to a professional level of cleanliness... I guess that means to a standard that someone who would do this for a living would do it to? I therefore always take it as that... but, of course, it cannot strictly mean that someone has paid for any cleaning to be done... as we all know, some people are good at their jobs and some people aren't. Some people care and some people don't. So a person with OCD (oh, how I loved my Tenant with OCD!) will likely have higher 'standards' than a professional Cleaner who is working on a fixed price... and better results... all subjectively, of course.
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2020, 05:25:48 PM »

Thanks Hippogriff. I agree everyone has different standards.
The flat is not as clean as it was when we first rented it, as it had been lived in for a couple of years now (tenants are clean and tidy but it is not spotless as it was when we first rented it out).

Is it reasonable of the new tenant to request a professional clean at this point as she is joining in an existing tenant? (note they did sign a new lease)
If so, is it something us the landlords need to pay for or would we need to bill the previous tenants (including the one who is staying!)
Also, is it even possible to hire a professional if the place is full of their stuff?

Thanks

T
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2020, 08:18:29 PM »

A full professional clean should take place when tenants' items are not in the property.  Midway through a tenancy isn't really possible.

Is this an AST and did you get an inventory done?  What is happening with the deposit? 
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2020, 10:23:43 PM »

Yes it is an AST and we’ve done an inventory.
I took the deposit from the new tenant, once the older tenant moved out I will release the full deposit from the protection scene and start a new one for the existing tenant that’s staying and the new one moving in.
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2020, 10:42:22 AM »

Given the set-up that you have,people in an out while others still live there,having a deep clean does not make sense.I can foresee trouble arising between your tenants,and you will be setting yourself up to be the arbiter if you say "This is how the place should be kept".
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2020, 12:39:38 PM »

Thanks everyone for your input so far!
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« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2020, 02:29:20 PM »

Thanks everyone for your input so far!


I would say if you expect the place to be professionally cleaned at the end of a tenancy, then it should be professionally cleaned before the start of a tenancy. Was this the agreement with the previous tenant?

how much does it really cost for a cleaner/or your own time - 2 hours / £25 for a cleaner? I would consider doing it if the proviso is that this new tenant does the same when they leave (and you can take it out of their deposit if it is not done before their departure).

Also, for my 2 pennies worth - totally understand them wanting a non-prepay meter - i would insist on that also if i was moving in somewhere.
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« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2020, 03:14:19 PM »

Thanks everyone for your input so far!


I would say if you expect the place to be professionally cleaned at the end of a tenancy, then it should be professionally cleaned before the start of a tenancy. Was this the agreement with the previous tenant?

how much does it really cost for a cleaner/or your own time - 2 hours / £25 for a cleaner? I would consider doing it if the proviso is that this new tenant does the same when they leave (and you can take it out of their deposit if it is not done before their departure).

Also, for my 2 pennies worth - totally understand them wanting a non-prepay meter - i would insist on that also if i was moving in somewhere.
Problem with a professional clean is this requires a full clean of all the appliances and sanitary wear.  If the oven, fridge freezer, extractor fan, dishwasher, washing machine and microwave all requires a lot of cleaning this takes considerably more than 2 hours.

I am an inventory clerk and have seen 2 cleaners attend a property for an entire day to get it up to standard.

If properties are going to be rented quickly then it can be worth it for a landlord.  The landlord gets a full clean at the beginning of one tenancy then the tenant gets the property fully cleaned at the end of the tenancy.  If the next tenant moves in quickly then the clean has already been done and the cycle continues.

But a professional clean can be seen as an unnecessary expense.

If tenants are already present then getting a full clean done is probably a pain that isn't worth doing. As a gesture of goodwill getting a domestic clean  for the currently vacant bedroom and ensuite (if there is one) can be done but i wouldn't go further than that.
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« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2020, 04:02:01 PM »

Part of the OP's questions here are, I think, geared towards whether their own bad vibes about this incoming Tenant are echoed by others. To be fair, it's a mix of responses on the issues used as examples.
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2020, 12:17:33 PM »

Thanks. I was mainly looking to hear what other landlords felt about these issues due to our lack of experience.
So far the tenants have been easy going and so were we (gave them discounts a few times, didn't raise the rent etc). Also I lived in rented accommodation for 15 years and never asked my landlords for anything apart if something broke. So I was surprised to get an email with so many requests especially after the lease was signed.

I told them we are happy for them to replace the meters but did not 'volunteer' to take it upon ourselves to do the legwork. Also explained that the flat was clean to begin with and that's how we are expecting to get it back so it would be up to them to sort it out between themselves. If more questions arise I will suggest a gesture of goodwill to get a domestic cleaner for the communal areas like someone suggested here.

Thanks again everyone!
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