You may be the king or queen of clean inside your apartment, but what do you do if the common areas in your block don’t meet the same standards of cleanliness?
Neglected communal space is one of the biggest bugbears of apartment owners, as substandard hallways and stairwells can crush the value and desirability of your property and, in extreme circumstances, even become a threat to your health.
The problem is that one man’s clean could still be another man’s dirty, depending on how exacting your standards are, so how can we agree what ‘good enough’ looks like when it comes to communal cleaning? And, what can you do if the performance of your cleaning service provider isn’t up to scratch?
What cleaning responsibilities do condominium administrators have?
Responsibilities can vary from block to block, depending on what is set out in the management contract. Service charges usually cover the cost of cleaning common areas, but it’s always worth checking the small print to see what is included for your block.
Most agreements state that the cleaning and maintenance of the following are the condominium administrator’s responsibility:
Shared Hallways and Lobbies
Once you know what your agreement says, you’re in a better position to check these terms are being met.
What does ‘good’ look like?
The exact cleaning needs of your block will depend on it’s size, design and use. For example, is the hall carpeted or tiled? How many residents use the common spaces? Is there a lot of glass or are there other fixtures that can gather dust and grubby fingerprints? Can people store stuff in the common areas, like bikes or buggies? Are there communal bins in the hallways? And so on.
To ensure the right job is being done to the right standards, it is our experience that the following plan of attack will keep things looking spic-and-span:
1) A Detailed Cleaning Schedule
If your building is being managed properly, a detailed cleaning schedule should have been worked out in advance between the apartment owners and condominium administration company. An initial site visit would take into account all of the specific needs of your building, working out what needs to be cleaned, how and when.
In our experience, this cleaning schedule should also be reviewed regularly to make sure the jobs on the list and the frequency they get done continue to be right for the block and it’s residents.
2) Regular Cleaning
If your block isn’t being cleaned and taken care of regularly it’s very easy for things to get out of hand. What starts off as an annoyance can easily escalate into a health and safety concern. For instance, rubbish left in shared areas for too long can quickly attract insects, and dirty floors and door handles can become a breeding ground for germs. Not good.
Regular cleaning doesn’t necessarily mean the entire block needs bleaching to within an inch of its life every week. There might be some jobs that only need doing once every few weeks or months (for example, window cleaning or a deep clean of carpets). The important thing is that the right jobs get tackled at the right time.
If you’re concerned about the frequency of scrubbing in your block, why not ask your condominium administrator for a copy of the cleaning schedule so you can see what is supposed to be done and when? If you have any concerns, raise them quickly to help prevent little problems escalating into big ones.
3) A Cleaning Record
It’s not always possible to catch sight of staff from the appointed management company if you’re out at work during the day, but that doesn’t mean they’re not doing the job. We always request that our cleaning personnel pin up a visible record sheet that is signed each time an area is cleaned. If there isn’t one in your block, why not ask for one to be put up so cleaning is easier to track?
What should I do if the common areas of my block aren’t being well maintained?
A word to the wise, it’s very likely that under the terms of your agreement you will have an obligation to keep communal areas free from clutter and rubbish. Every resident in the block should be doing the same.
This isn’t just for safety and security reasons, but also so that the cleaners can do their job properly. It’s important that all residents in the block uphold their end of the deal here. If you have any concerns over cleaning, first check that the cleaners could actually access the bits of the building that needed attention.
If communal clutter isn’t an issue and the cleaners simply don’t appear to be doing a good job, you should raise this with your condominium administrator. Bear in mind that there should be a pre-agreed schedule and set of standards that the administrator is supposed to be working to, so it may be helpful to take photos of anything you think looks amiss. This will help your administrator to investigate properly.
Grime building up?
As a resident you have the right to live in a property that is safe and in a good state of repair. A good condominium administrator will jump on your queries quickly, but if your concerns are falling on deaf ears you could consider escalating to the environmental health department. They will take action if they think the problem might result in a health or safety risk to you or others.
(Psst… at Buena Vista, keeping our properties clean is one of our top priorities and we work with a team of exceptional cleaners. If you are concerned that your condominium administrator is lacking the level of shine you’d like and hasn’t responded to your concerns about cleaning, or other block maintenance issues, why not drop us a line or give us a call on +356 7997 7117?)