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Penalties for sluvenly sellers

Clean up or cough up!

Sellers who leave rubbish and don’t clean their homes on hand over days now risk paying compensation. Solicitors are using ‘clean and tidy’ clauses in contracts to ensure properties are handed over in a fit state.

Fridges brimming with rotten food, piles of rubbish piled in cupboards, loft spaces and garages, even dog faeces regularly greet new owners, according to a leading law firm. In one case a buyer arrived to find the pyjama-clad seller sitting on the sofa, eating his lunch and watching TV – he mistakenly believed he had a week to move out after completion!

Under a ‘clean and tidy’ clause, a sum of money is held over until after completion to ensure the seller’s possessions, including all clutter and rubbish, have been removed and the property is in an acceptable state. Not only can other people’s items be unpleasant or inconvenient to deal with, their removal can prove costly.

Too many thoughtless and inconsiderate sellers assume that simply moving out on completion, with their furniture and personal possessions is adequate and see no problem leaving rubbish behind, when it should of course, unless a special agreement has been made, be left completely empty and hygienically clean. If the seller refuses to remove items or pay for their removal after completion, buyers can go to the small claims court to try to recover costs under £10,000.

In our experience, we find the vast majority of sellers display care and consideration upon vacation, going to great lengths to leave a place spick, span and completely clear of clutter. We are often taken aback with the level of kindness shown when not only is the property left in show house order, there’s a ‘Welcome to your new home’ card, together with wine and chocolates waiting on the worktop. 

By Chris Willey

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