Cleaning efforts "left a lot to be desired"

Lisa asks:
(updated on Friday, September 20th 2013)

We have a four-year-old rental property where the tenants have just vacated. We had the property professionally cleaned from top to bottom including the walls and ceilings before these tenants moved in. Their vacating cleaning efforts have left a lot to be desired. There are gouge marks scattered in various places and traces of mould on the walls (including a hole in the entrance wall) and fly poo on the ceilings. There are also stains on the carpet in most of the rooms. The bathroom tiles were left with mould and the shower door left uncleaned. My question is if we again get the house professionally cleaned including the carpet, walls and the ceilings, can we recoup the full cost of the cleaning from the tenants bond? Also because of the hole/gouges in the walls we have to get the whole wall painted because if we just 'spot' fix, the paint will not match the rest of the walls. Can we also charge an extra days rent as we can't relet the property until all repairs are done. Thanks.

Our Experts Answer:

Tenants are responsible for leaving the premises in a reasonably clean and tidy condition, and are also responsible for any damage they or their invited guests cause carelessly or intentionally during the tenancy. I suggest you discuss your concerns with your tenant(s) in the first instance to try and reach an agreement regarding the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy, and the amount that you consider is fair and reasonable. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the tenant(s), you may wish to apply to the Tenancy Tribunal to have the matter resolved. In this situation (and to ensure the best likelihood of a successful outcome), where costs for compensation are sought (e.g. for the time to carry out the repairs/cleaning), you should clearly outline the costs you are seeking and include copies of any documentation that will assist in verifying the costs you are seeking, for the Tribunal to consider. In making a judgement an adjudicator will take into account the age and condition of the premises, depreciated value, and the cause and extent of the damage. To discuss your situation further, or for further information regarding costs a tenant is responsible for, you can visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website (, or phone 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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