General Question

serenade's avatar

Can I ask my tenant to clean the house?

Asked by serenade (3779 points ) March 16th, 2012 from iPhone

I’m doing repairs, and my tenant’s place is pretty gross. They’re a decent enough younger couple with a 3 year old. I’m just wondering what’s kosher with respect to landlord/tenant relations

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14 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

What does the lease say?
Most I have signed required the housing to be a “clean” and “safe”, maintained by the tenant.

john65pennington's avatar

Your ace in the hole will be theirr 3 year old. Is the place suitable for that child?

If you have reason to be in their place and observe these conditions, I would read your lease and make them either abide by it or move.

marinelife's avatar

It probably depends on state law.

Bellatrix's avatar

I would have thought keeping a rented property clean and sanitary would be a reasonable expectation of a tenant. People who rent here usually have regular inspections to make sure they do that. In saying that, I have seen junk/sensational news program coverage of rented houses that were anything but sanitary.

I think it is a fair request.

nikipedia's avatar

When you talk about “gross,” is it “gross” like unsafe, or “gross” like you don’t like looking at it?

whitecarnations's avatar

Because cleanliness is subjective unless it is a hazardous environment as recognized by your state then it doesn’t matter if they have dishes laying around or trash on the floor. When entrances are blocked however then yes you should step up and say something. Otherwise, the damage assessment should be enough when they decide to move.

flo's avatar

But maybe you can give some more details because “pretty gross” is a relative term.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Yes. Typically to do this, I would send a 5-day notice with a letter stating what the sanitary issues are.

serenade's avatar

Aside from the perennial carpet stains and crayoned walls, and stuff everywhere, which isn’t much my concern, there’s food out in the kitchen and living areas and some of it had been out for two weeks. Plus, the house stinks.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Spoiled food attracts rodents.

Judi's avatar

They are probably required to keep it, “habitable.” It really depends on state laws and how bad it is. If the health department or CPS would have a problem then you would be doing them a favor by having a talk with them.
I would send them a letter to document exactly what you want. Talk about the potential hazards to the property (rodents, insects, mold, carpet damage.) Don’t stand in judgement of their parenting or lifestyle, just focus on the protection of your investment. Give them a deadline and, if your state allows, schedule an inspection after the deadline. Put everything in writing.
If they are unable to comply, then you have a decision to make. Will the costs of turning over the apartment be worth the benefit of evicting them?

2davidc8's avatar

If the property is in California, there is a publication titled “California Tenants—A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities”, published by the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Legal Affairs Division, which explains the law in lay terms. Other states probably have similar publications. I would go by what it says there, plus what it stated in the lease, which is your contract with your tenant.

BTW, the California publication can be obtained from:
California Department of Consumer Affairs
1625 North Market Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95834
www.dca.ca.gov

Or you could probably find it in your local public library.

HungryGuy's avatar

Well, with the disclaimer that I’m not a lawyer, and rental law varies by state and country….

Generally, if their apartment is unsanitary or a fire hazard, then it’s probable that you have cause to evict them. If they’re otherwise good tenants who pay the rent on time, you may want to threaten them with eviction and hope they clean up.

If there’s no unsanitary conditions or fire hazard, just a lot of clutter (which could be considered a fire hazard), then it depends on the lease. “Gross” sounds like a very subjective term, though we all know what you mean. So you have to compare the condition of the apartment with the definition’s of “clean” that you specified in the lease.

Also, most likely you specified various penalties for stained carpets, dirty walls, dirty appliances, broken windows, etc. so that if and when they move out, you can apply their deposit to cleaning the apartment.

kristinward's avatar

Depends on what you mean is gross. If it is considered a safety hazard then yes you can request that they clean it up. Like if they have a lot of stuff blocking doors and other walk ways then you could request the clean because its a fire hazard. However this is a rather sticky area , and it can be hard to determine what is dangerous and what isn’t.

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