The accidental landlord: something nasty lurked under the bed

Victoria Whitlock faces a dust-up as cleaners miss an unmentionable object and set her tenant on the warpath
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Oh I am mortified. A new tenant found something unmentionable left behind by a previous occupant under her bed. She is, not surprisingly, appalled.

I'm annoyed with the cleaners who were supposed to give the flat a deep clean before she moved in. Obviously they didn't bother to shift the bed, but the person I'm really mad at is... me. I should have checked under all the furniture, I should have made sure the flat was totally clean. I feel like a slum lord.

Mind you, the tenant is milking it a bit. She's using her discovery of this unmentionable (I don't know if it was used or wrapped) to argue that the property wasn't thoroughly cleaned before she moved in and, given the evidence, I can't really claim that it was, despite having paid the cleaners for a total of 10 hours.

To try to appease the tenant, I've offered to delete a clause in the agreement that states she must leave the property at the end of the tenancy "cleaned to a professional standard". "Just leave it as you found it," I tell her. "But, er, without the unmentionable." She's still not happy though — clearly her find has made her uneasy.

Now I have the impression she's wandering around the flat trying her best to find fault. So far she's complained that the bathroom extractor fan was full of dust, and I can't believe this, that the top of one door frame and a window seal were grubby. None of these would have bothered her, I suspect, if she hadn't discovered that thing.

It doesn't help that she's the most fastidious tenant I've ever come across. I don't think any of the others have climbed on a chair to inspect the door frames and I doubt any have ever checked under the bed, either.

I wonder if there is a lesson for me here. It was probably a mistake to rush into the re-let without proper inspection. Perhaps if I'd left it a couple of days between the old tenant moving out and the new one moving in, I could have ensured the flat was shipshape again. Apart from avoiding embarrassing oversights, it would have been less stressful.

There are always repairs that need doing at the end of each tenancy. These can take time or cost you more money than necessary.

Recently, I discovered on inspecting the fridge that three of the freezer drawers were cracked, just before a new tenant was moving in. I rushed out to replace the drawers at a cost of £150. If I had thought about it and had the time, I could easily have applied a spot of superglue at a cost of £1.35p a tube.

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