The Tenant Fees Act 2019 outlines which fees are permitted and which fees are prohibited. As such, the legislation prohibits the landlord requiring a tenant to pay for professional cleaning when they vacate the property.
You can find out all you need to know on the Tenant Fees Act here.
This does not negate, however, tenants’ responsibility for cleaning the property before they leave. They will still be responsible for ensuring the property is returned to the landlord in the same condition as when the tenancy started. This is usually laid out in the tenancy agreement and can be contractually enforced.
The landlord can recover costs associated with returning the property to its original condition by claiming against the tenant’s deposit. This includes cleaning.
It’s important to have an inventory agreed at the beginning of the tenancy that accurately records the property’s original condition. Without this, the landlord may have difficulty arguing that their claim is justified.
It is worth noting that fair wear and tear needs to be taken into consideration when assessing the condition of the property. These are defects which occur naturally as part of the tenant's reasonable use of the premises and are treated separately to the cleanliness of the property.
There’s no precise definition of wear and tear, but if the tenants use the property and its contents in a normal, responsible way, then they shouldn’t have to pay for the natural deterioration that happens during the course of the tenancy. For example, a sofa may become worn from tenants sitting on it. The landlord is not able to claim deductions from the tenant’s deposit as a result of fair wear and tear.