long term tenants & standards of their house-keeping/hygeine

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I used to let to Uni students[designated HMO's]. Most stayed about or a year, at the end of which the house was steam cleaned & scrubbed which returned the house to the absolute pristine & fully dressed condition of the previous July. First to view applied for Tenancy as house/rooms were 'best in class'. Quarterly checklist formal inspections ensured the house was kept to the hygiene standards as described & stated in the Contract which echo the 27 Risk Assessments found in current legislation. If any neglect discovered on the inspections might/could/would lead to fire hazards, growth of black mould, or malfunction of a item of equipment, then that was an issue flagged up to tenants & followed through assiduously only as agreed. The penalties/action being exactly as the Contract described. The tenants always get the message 1st time..storm,norm,perform.. an acceptable/realistic compromise is arrived at & to underline risks that could re-appear & bite the ankle, issues are formally shared & recorded. Historically this has been efficient & very effective. No problems there.

Three years ago I changed tack letting to YWP's on the same 'joint & several' Contract. Mainly to reduce the heavy refurb summer workload plus a sound opportunity to 'house' my ex grad students who were now indeed C. Tax paying YWP's. Settled, long-term households of 3 or 4 ambitious working professionals who were well known to me & I & my principles known to them. Some movement of course as they relocated job- wise, yet very easy to find suitable replacements in a highly decent, safe,well-prepped house. All A ok... well, here's where I'd appreciate experienced view points from other HMO[designated] shared house landlords.

My bottom line re hygiene is known..no problem. It's linked to Risk Assessments. The houses are now 'long-term homes' & a difference in cleaning expectations has arisen resulting in some wanting the status quo...eg being told quarterly if 'neglect' is out of hand. Some however want a real home where a cleaning rota urges/encourages folk NOT to slob about. Sometimes it's just down to lack of available free time!
My Contract demands that 'tenants work together' to maintain a risk- free, hygienic home & the 'home-bird', or 'nesting' tenants are now asking for my support in achieving acceptable standards of hygiene in the shared areas & that I adopt a more pro-active intervention strategy as opposed to the fire-fighting, basic fault-finding checklist of quarterly inspections.

I've made 'can't overstep my role to micro-manage' noises thus far & if the issue escalates I intend to INVITE them to hire a maid service..OR, devise/implement their very own cleaning rota acceptable to ALL occupants & leave it AT THAT. They have to 'storm, norm & then perform for themselves as any group or team need to do, in the work place,or as sharers of space as renters.
I realise this is a lightweight issue compared to the usual landlord problems. Just wondered if other landlords have a bead on this.
Many thanks in advance for insightful comments.
01/10/2015 13:24

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