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This blog has been written to help you prepare for a house clearance. In it, I will go through all the steps needed to ensure that your clearance runs as smoothly as possible. This includes the people that you’ll need to contact and how the clearance company will work with you.
My name is Tom Pickering. I own a company called Clearance and Cleanup. We are the largest property clearance and waste removal company in Yorkshire. We’ve been established since 2011.
Property clearances are needed for many reasons. If you’re a Landlord you may need to dispose of items that your tenants have left. You may need to clear a property after a bereavement. It could be the property has to be returned it to the council or the housing association. Or it may be so that you can put it on the market to sell. Whatever the reason, the steps you need to take are more or less the same.
The first thing to do is to make a decision on any items you wish to keep. This is especially important if the clearance is following a bereavement as there are often items that you personally will want to keep, give to other family members, donate to charity, or sell. Whilst it can be an emotional experience, I would highly recommend you go through every item in the house to ensure you know exactly what’s there. Often, the important and sentimental items are hidden in drawers or cupboards you may not automatically check. I would always recommend items to be kept are removed from the property before the clearance if at all possible.
The next step is to contact two or three house clearance companies for quotes and to see if you can build a positive relationship with them. You need to ensure you’re working with a company that shares the same values as yourself.
The first thing a company will ask at quote stage is what is to be removed. It’s a great idea to have prepared a list of the large items like beds, wardrobes, white goods, sofas, 3-piece suites, dining room table and chairs, so that you can give them a good idea. The small items like clothes and ornaments can fit into the gaps between the larger items and so don’t need the same level of consideration.
The other requirement they will have at the enquiry stage is an accurate description of the property. Is it a bungalow, a 4thfloor flat, or a 10 bedroomed house? The more information you provide, the more accurate the quote is going to be. You also need to tell them about any access issues linked to the property. Can they park directly outside? Will they need to use a lift? Are there any height restrictions for vehicles?
They will also want the postcode of the property so that they can check that it is in an area that they cover.
So, to recap, the four pieces of information you’ll need for your initial enquire are:
With this information, the companies will be able to give you an accurate price. Some clearance companies will ask to do a site visit. We don’t, unless it’s an unusual job such as a hoarder’s property or a very large clearance.
Details on our company can be found here
Just a word of caution. Most clearance companies are ethical and professional. However, because it’s an industry where there are no qualifications required to set up, it can attract people of a ‘certain nature’. The important thing is to vet the companies you contact by making sure they’ve got a good website, checking that their staff have had CRB checks (checked for criminal convictions), and that you feel you have good rapport with them.
When booking the clearance with your chosen company, I would recommend arranging a morning slot if possible. We like to arrive at a property by 8 am. This ensures that if there are any problems, such as items of furniture that need taking apart or carpets that are difficult to remove, there is enough time. If you book an afternoon clearance and there is problem, the company may have to come back for a second visit, which will mean additional costs and inconvenience for you.
On the day of the clearance I would advise you walk round each room with the person in charge. Discuss anything that needs to remain in the property and whether there are any white goods, such as cookers, which need disconnecting. Make sure your instructions are clear from the beginning, so that nothing gets missed. Quite often properties may have under-stairs cupboards, cupboards hidden behind curtains, or attic rooms. You will know about these rooms, but the clearance company won’t and unless you point them out, they could be missed.
Once they have your instructions, I would advise you leave them to it. Go and have a coffee and ask them to give you a call 30 minutes before they finish so you can get back to the property. Sometimes clients constantly interrupt the work, asking to look at items as they’re removed. This delays the job. However, after saying that, sometimes a client will tell us that there’s an item that they haven’t been able to locate, and they ask us to keep an eye out for it. That is understandable and acceptable so please don’t worry about mentioning it, if that is the case.
Once the job is complete, look around the property again with the clearance company. Check for any damages; make sure you’re happy that everything’s been removed; make sure the property’s been swept through; and then make sure you’re issued with a full waste transfer note which covers you legally to ensure the items are tipped correctly. You will also be issued with an invoice. The information on it should include the company’s VAT and Registered Company Number and their address. Once you are totally happy, you pay.
Advice from the council can be found here
I hope you’ve found that useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.