House Clearance Guide
Table of contents
All your questions are answered here, from how much does a house clearance cost, right down to tips on keeping your identity safe from scammers. This guide will give you all the house clearance help you need to ensure that when it comes to clearing a house of its contents, you’ll know what to do, where to find helping hands to get the clearance done quickly and to leave you with a lovely clean house.
We’ve gathered together the most frequently asked questions to create this helpful guide. Here you’ll find answers to help you to organise your plan for a successful clearance.
How Does House Clearance Work in the UK?
In a nutshell, if you want a company to clear a house for you, all you need to do is find a reputable company, local to you, give them all the necessary details and of course the access that they require, and they will do the rest.
The information they will need to make sure that the house clearance runs smoothly is.
- The size of the property to be cleared
- What exactly is to be cleared, i.e., full house or part clearance
- Whether it is a household clearance or commercial
- Are there any access restrictions or time restrictions that they need to be aware of
Once they have all this information, they should be able to give you a quote for the job along with a date that they can do the clearance and how long it is likely to take, based on the information you have provided.
Most companies that offer house clearance, such as ourselves, will send out a minimum of two people per van that is equipped with a tail lift so that heavy and bulky items can be easily loaded and taken away. They will remove all the items that you have asked them to, tidy up the rooms and leave the house clean and tidy.
How Much Does a House Clearance Cost?
The cost of getting someone in to do your house clearance will depend on various parameters.
- How much needs clearing from your property
- What needs to be cleared
- Access to the property, is it easy to get a van close to the property being cleared or is it on the upper floors of a block of flats.
A reputable company will offer you a free, no obligation quote which is transparent with no hidden costs. To get an accurate price make sure that you are clear with your needs in the first instance as this will ensure that you don’t get any nasty surprises.
There are some items that are very likely to add additional costs to the bill, specifically fridges and freezers, so if your clearance includes these items be sure to let the company know beforehand. Be wary of a price that seems too cheap as companies who offer low prices can often just be simply taking your money, never to be seen again, unfortunately it does happen.
Who Pays for a House Clearance After a Death?
Sadly, this is an inevitable problem that many people will have to contend with at some point. If your deceased relative has been living in rented accommodation, then there is likely to be an obligation to return the property to the landlord in a clean and cleared state but who is responsible for paying for this? The answer is, if there is any money in the estate left by the deceased then the cost of clearing the property should be paid for from this. If the deceased has left no money, then it should not fall to relatives to personally fund any clearance.
If you find yourself in this situation you may be tempted to just walk away rather than deal with any of it. However, before you do, it’s worth making sure that there isn’t anything of value, this can be sentimental or financial, that you are not aware of.
Does the Council do House Clearances?
Yes, some councils do offer a clearance service, although this service is not free and may well not be cost effective.
How Much do Councils Charge for House Clearances?
First of all, you’ll need to establish whether your local council offers this and if so then the best thing to do is to ask them for a quote to clear your household items. It’s best not to assume that the council will be your most cost-effective option and it is a good idea to shop around for the company that best suits your needs.
Which Charities do House Clearance?
Whilst not a dedicated house clearance company, several charities do offer house clearance as a service.
The below charities, along with many other local charities will offer a clearance service, either full or partial if you are in the local vicinity of one of their household shops.
British Heart Foundation
The main advantage to using a charity to clear your property is that they will offset some of the cost involved by the value of the items they collect and sell on. The obvious disadvantage is if you do not live near to one of their shops that sell household goods. It is also sometimes a long wait for them to come to you which is sometimes not the most perfect or suitable option.
What do House Clearance Companies Take?
The answer to this is everything that you want them to. When getting in touch be sure to let whoever is doing the clearance know exactly what you want removing. If it is a full clearance don’t forget the attic, garden shed, garage etc. If the clearance includes items such as fridges, freezers etc these can be included but need to be flagged up at the outset as they require specific disposal and are quite possible likely to incur an additional cost.
Does House Clearance Take Everything?
Yes everything, even the kitchen sink, can be cleared from a house by any reputable company, such as ourselves, who are fully licensed and insured to clear out and dispose of any household items. Any company carrying out this type of service should have a valid waste carrier license which allows them to transport and dispose of unwanted items such as furniture, electrical appliances, waste, clothing and linens etc.
Whilst it may be tempting to go for a cheap clearance offer, it pays to make sure that the company you use is legitimate and not going to simply dump your rubbish around the next corner (fly tipping). This could end up with you getting into trouble and a likely fine if the dumped waste is traced back to you.
Can I Do My Own House Clearance?
There is absolutely no reason why you cannot clear your own property of course, however it can be a daunting task, often made worse by emotional events that leave you feeling unable to cope with the stress.
If you are going down the DIY route, then here are some helpful tips to make your DIY household clearance go smoothly.
Give yourself plenty of time, unless you or your relative have led a very minimalist lifestyle there is likely to be a lot more to do than you first expect and there is nothing worse than a looming deadline to send you into a panic.
The biggest issue you will have, apart from the shear effort, is sorting out the waste for disposal. For environmental reasons you can’t simply bundle everything together and just throw it away. It must be sorted and then taken to the appropriate place for disposal. Your local council recycling centre will help you here, most household items can be disposed of through your local depot provided it has been sorted first.
On the subject of household recycling centres, it is worth noting that most require you to have a permit for a van, which you must get before you can take your rubbish there.
Sort all the items into groups, such as keeps, sell, donate, dispose. Tackle these one at a time and use social media, local charities and auctions, both online and off, to sell or donate items. There’s a thriving market for second-hand goods and anything in good condition should be easy to pass on.
If you need to hire a skip there are a couple of things that you must keep in mind. For instance, there is likely to be a list of items that cannot be disposed of in it. E.g. tins of paint, batteries, electrical items, mattresses etc. Where you place it may also be tricky if you don’t have a suitable driveway as there are regulations that must be adhered to before placing it on the public highway.
How to Keep Safe from Identity Theft During a House Clearance?
There’s likely to be a load of paperwork within any house that you are clearing that has personal data on it. You want to make sure that it is safe from prying eyes so make sure that you know where it is and that it is either removed entirely or placed somewhere only you have access to as you don’t want it to be thrown away somewhere where it may get into the wrong hands. It’s a good idea to destroy any documentation once it is no longer needed.
How to Ensure that you Don’t Get Caught Out by Rogue Traders?
As with any other areas of life there are rogue house clearance companies out there who will take your money and offer you a less than satisfactory experience. At best you could be left out of pocket, at worst you could end up getting in trouble with the law.
Here’s our top tips on avoiding the scammers when it comes to getting a property cleared professionally.
- Make sure that the company you use has the necessary waste carrier licence, is registered with the Environmental Agency, and has the correct insurance to cover them, you, and the general public.
- Don’t pay for a house clearance up front, wait until you are satisfied that everything has been cleared and cleaned and you receive an invoice for the works. This should protect you from rogues who will take your money and then not turn up on the day, leaving you having to find another company to handle the clearance for you. This can be especially stressful if you are on a tight schedule.
- Be wary if the price is too cheap, sometimes cheap is not always best. Are they accountable and have liveried vehicles which clearly states their name and contact details. You may be lucky but there are many rogues out there who will happily load your unwanted items into their van and, instead of disposing of the load responsibly will simply dump it at the first available spot. Why is this your problem you might ask? If the fly tipped rubbish can be traced back to you then you will be held accountable even if you didn’t commit the actual crime.
Don’t Forget to Have a Sensible Plan Ahead of You
Finally, when it comes to sorting out a household clearance, whether it is your own home or that of a relative it makes sense to plan ahead, be as prepared as possible and make sure that you check out any company whose service you are using to clear the house thoroughly.
My approach to this service is to always offer a hassle/stress free service at as fair a price as I can. JS Removals is not the cheapest service, but we have a time proven process/system that does genuinely work and our reviews reflects this, they are 100% genuine, which I James Street, am very proud of. I typically receive 5-10 customers contacting me each week telling me how impressed they are with my company, especially when their stress levels would have naturally been much higher.