Sellers who leave rubbish and don’t clean their homes on hand over days now face 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 lying around, often greet new owners, according to a leading law firm.

Under a ‘clean and tidy’ clause, a sum of money is held over until after completion to ensure all the seller’s possessions, including 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 have been assuming 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 taking action intended to recover costs under £10,000.

In my experience, I’ve found the vast majority of sellers display care and consideration upon leaving, going to great lengths to leave a place spick, span and completely clear of clutter. I’ve been taken aback many a time with the level of thoughtfulness shown when not only is the property left in Showhouse order, there’s a ‘Welcome to Your New Home’ card, together with wine and chocolates waiting on the worktop. There’s hope yet!

Chris Willey is an Independent Property Appraiser and welcomes sale related enquiries on Taunton 01823 412661