Do tenants have to pay for professional cleaning?

Have you ever been asked to get your rented home professionally cleaned when it wasn’t needed?

Under the new laws the Government is trying to prevent landlords from being able to ask renters for professional cleaning unless it’s really needed. But the way they’ve written it in the law, it’s still not clear when professional cleaning can be asked for.

The government is proposing that the new standard rental agreement should include this:

The landlord must not require the renter to arrange professional cleaning unless this is needed to restore the premises to the condition they were in at the start of the tenancy – allowing for fair wear and tear. The need for professional cleaning will be considered at the end of the tenancy.

If professional cleaning is necessary:

  • the renter must have all or part of the premises professionally cleaned, or
  • the renter must pay the cost of having all or part of the rented premises professionally cleaned.


But we think this wording doesn’t really work and that it’s going to end up causing arguments between the landlords and tenants about when cleaning is needed. We’re also worried that some tenants might think they don’t have a choice if the landlord tells them professional cleaning is needed.

Reasonably clean

We’d like this wording to change to make it really clear that renters only need to leave a property reasonably clean when they move out.

‘Professional’ cleaning

We’d also like it to be really clear what ‘professional’ cleaning is, because we don’t think that it should include anything a tenant can do themselves. For example, if the carpets needed to be cleaned to leave the property reasonably clean, tenants can hire the machines and do it themselves. It doesn’t need to be done by a professional.

Who decides?

And we’d like tenants to know that if landlords ask for professional cleaning and tenants don’t think that it’s needed, they do not automatically have to agree. They can let the landlord take it to VCAT for a decision where the tenant can attend and have their say.


What you can do

If you think you should be able to leave your rented home reasonably clean instead of being asked to pay for professional cleaning, write a quick submission to tell the Victorian Government to include this in the standard agreement before it becomes law. You can make an anonymous submission if you do not want your personal details published. Please make a note of this in your submission.

You only have until Wednesday 18 December 2019 to change this.