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Landlord Oven Clean Dilemma

One of the biggest issues that landlords face when tenants move out is the oven clean.

Why is the landlord oven clean such an issue?

The answer is simple. Landlords remember providing their tenant with a new immaculately presented oven in their buy-to-let property. Wasn’t the oven just out of the box and still had the packing paper and the instructions with it? So what is this grease encrusted blackened piece of mangled metal? What happened and surely this transformation of a landlords oven goes beyond fair wear and tear? I’ve posted before about how unrecognisable my tenanted cooker became.

How do you clean your tenants oven?

Landlords can embrace the cleaning of the oven once the tenants have handed back their property. This is a generous act and also borne out of self interest to ensure that the incoming tenants have a decent oven and property to inhabit. If you are going to have a go at cleaning the oven then there is no shortage of guidance out there. Clearly the easy bit of cleaning any oven is the outside and giving the outside a bit of a clean with a basic cleaning solution to take away the grease followed by a little bit of buffing.

The inside of the oven is where the real challenge for a landlord lies. Some people maintain that it is possible to clean an oven without any high strength cleaning chemicals with just a little bit of vinegar baking soda and a hell of a lot of elbow grease.  Good luck!

The other alternative to a professional oven clean is for the landlord to do it themselves. It’s not difficult or impossible for you to get your oven back to a pretty high state of cleanliness. There is a lot of advice out there on the internet and those landlords who want some tips of the DIY oven cleaning tips could do much worse than reading the Good Housekeeping guide involving oven cleaner, plastic gloves and a 10 step guide.

Why tenants view the oven clean differently to landlords?

Tenants unlike landlords are likely to think that having a weekly roast dinner is all part of having your own place. Fine. But what they tend to forget is that you need to clean up after your roasting the hog every week. The oven clean is a bit like garden maintenance; it’s something that most tenants will neglect and leave for the landlord to sort when they move out. So when the landlord gets back the property, instead of getting the shiny gleaming piece of modern cooking technology they had left, they return to a blackened, crud encrusted box that looks as if it has a small incendiary device has exploded in it.

The big question is, at what point does fair wear and tear become damage, and warrants the landlord to withhold a tenants deposit.

If landlord does decide to hold a tenancy deposit they will need to evidence the change of condition of the oven between the start of the tenancy at ‘check in’, and the end of the tenancy at ‘check out’. A strong pointer is a receipt for a new oven, proving to any arbitrator that the oven was ‘brand new’ on check in. Failing this, evidence (receipt ) for a professional oven clean should be enough for the arbitrator to be convinced that a retention of the tenants deposit for a professional clean is justified. Without this a landlord could be on a sticky wicket.

What do landlords do about the oven clean?

These day I don’t even have time to scratch my own nose. If being busy means you are successful, I’m stratorspheric! So I must admit my days of rolling up my sleeves and getting cleaning are generally done. I’m not adverse to it, don’t get me wrong, but time really doesn’t make it viable for me anymore. I can say that I have only engaged the services of a professional oven cleaning operation a couple of time and both times I’ve used my local ovenu.

My experiences were very good. I know they are a franchise, but on price and service I really can’t complain. I know that there are numerous local oven cleaning services also out there.

Whichever service you choose, the key advantage of having a professional oven clean is it provides proof of the clean state of the oven for any disputed tenancy deposits.

More on cleaning of a tenanted property:

Disputes on tenancy deposits over cleaning

What is fair wear on tear?

Getting my rental deposit back

2 Comments

More of a question, I put in a new oven two and a half years ago. I now have a bill for a new lamp and lamp fitting due to corrosion. The tenant views this as my responsibility, I feel this is the tenant not looking after the new appliance. I’ve never encountered this in an oven of my own.

Three ways of looking at this Samantha:
1. It is unusual that the light fitting would corrode so quickly. This could be down to defective fitting or quality issue with the oven in which case it might be something you need to take up with the manufacturer.
2. It might be down to a defective or over zealous cleaning regime by the tenant. To much cleaning might actually cause the unit to rust!
3. I don’t know how much your tenant is paying you in rent for the year and the cost of replacing the lamp might cost maybe £50-60. I’m guessing a tiny fraction of the rent received. If you see it as going above and beyond your responsibilities and part of your ‘tenant care package’ it’s a small price to pay on retaining a happy tenant and when you do go ahead and replace it make sure your actions are done generously and not begrudgingly to get maximum effect.

There is no right answer as is often the case when being a landlord. Personally, whilst annoying I would see it as a tax deductable cost to your rental business and focus on all that lovely rent that hopefully you will be receiving for many more years.
Chris

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