Are Landlords Responsible For Cleaning Between Tenants?
15:48 06 November 2019
While cleaning between tenants is sometimes unnecessary in the event the unit is left in pristine condition, this is not always the case. It’s a landlord’s responsibility to rent out a property in its best condition, and that often includes deep cleaning it before the new tenant moves in. Unless your contract includes weekly cleaning sessions, you’ll likely want to inspect your property before your current tenant moves out.
Know your responsibilities
A landlord, to the authorities, is one who provides a service to potential consumers. It’s not just a matter of renting out a spare unit as an investment. That said, there are regulations that landlords need to be aware of, which includes repairing obligations, gas leak inspections, and plenty of other safety regulations. While landlords are not obligated by law to clean their units, renting clean property will up your chances with a good tenant who will look after your unit.
Discuss matters with transitioning tenants
If, for any reason, you will not have the time or funds to clean the unit after your tenant vacates, you can either request that your current tenant departs after leaving the property in the condition in which they received it, or make it clear to your new tenant what to expect when they move in. The latter choice, however, might make it challenging for you to rent your property at a profitable price, and it may make your apartment appealing to those who might further damage it.
Inspect your property
The most convenient way to make sure your property is in good condition is to perform an inspection before your tenant moves out. You can discuss this with them or include them in your contract. Inspection should not merely include general cleanliness; you’ll want to check if all appliances are still in good condition or if the furniture in your unit has been infested with pests. You may also want to check for grime on bathtubs and toilets.
Take photographic records
You should always take photographs of the condition of your property before it’s rented out as visual evidence. In the event, any severe damage, which includes extreme cases of uncleanliness, is inflicted on your property and your tenant refuses to pay for the needed costs for repair, you can file a lawsuit by comparing the photographs of the original condition of your property and the condition in which the tenant has left it.
Hire a professional
You can never go wrong with getting the right help. Even the dirtiest units can be sparkling clean if you find the right cleaner for your property. Professional services dedicated to landlords will perform a thorough investigation for you and will even let you know if you need an exterminator. Many of these services also include exterminating. In most cases, it only takes a single day to get your unit to its original condition with minimal effort and at a relatively low-cost.
Deduct costs from security deposits
Upon inspection, if you find that your property is not in the condition in which your tenant received it, you may deduct potential repair and cleaning costs from their deposit. And in the event the costs exceed the security deposit, you may request additional costs from your tenant by law. However, you are not permitted to deduct costs for regular wear and tear, such as moderately dusty surfaces, unwashed dishes, small dents in the walls, or slightly stained paint. If your unit was left somewhat unclean or untidy, this does not make cost deductions eligible.
Consider new patchwork
From time to time, you might have to renovate your property with new paint and patchwork to make it as appealing as when you’ve first rented it out. Even with the deepest cleaning methods, faded paint and loose hinges could lower the value of your unit.
Keep in touch with your new tenant
To prevent this hassle from repeating, you might want to visit your tenant every now and then while you pick up your rent to make sure your unit is being kept in good condition. It doesn’t have to be sneaky, either. You may discuss with your new tenant to perform annual or bi-annual inspections upon contract renewal. If your tenant is not comfortable with the idea, you can simply make it clear to them that general cleanliness is a must.
Do not give a tenant a probation period
While it’s a landlord’s dream-come-true to receive a tenant for a short period of time, during which they can assess whether or not their habits and cleanliness are suitable to the unit, this is against the law. Once tenants sign a contract, the property is legally theirs for a specified period of time, and eviction is not permitted unless any policy in the contract is overridden. Even if they’re not keeping your flat as clean as you’d like it to be.
Consider adding policies to your new contract
Going the extra mile to include a cleanliness policy in your new contract will save you the hassle. It’s sometimes as simple as verbally discussing what is and isn’t allowed in your unit, but a documented policy in your contract will ensure your property is left in the condition your tenant received it. While you cannot evict a tenant based on their personal hygiene, you can discuss with your lawyer how to make existing policies stricter and more all-encompassing.
Skip the step if unnecessary
It’s not uncommon to find a tenant who will look after your unit as if it were their own. Upon inspection, if you find your flat in pristine condition, you can add some final touches yourself and save some money.
Nitpick your new tenant
Upping the rent will not necessarily guarantee you get a better tenant. Surely, checking credit score reports and background checks is necessary, but it sometimes takes a long conversation or a full-blown interview to assess whether your new tenant will keep your property clean and damage-free.
Landlords are not responsible for cleaning their unit between tenants; however, tenants expect to receive their newly-rented flat in its best condition. Talk with your prospective tenants before you sign the contract about your expectations and demands.