Free Notice to Tenant to Clean Template

Sometimes the most stressful parts of renting your property out come from things that are left up to interpretation. All tenants have a right to a fit and habitable living environment, and landlords have a right to tenants that don’t “commit waste,” the American Bar Association’s way of saying that tenants are expected to keep a property clean and free of permanent or unreasonable damage. Everyone has a different version of clean, so how do you ensure that your renters will keep your property up to your standards?

What to Look For

Technically, landlords can’t go around telling tenants how and when to clean. You need a valid reason to confront them. If you suspect that the tenant is violating health or fire codes, or causing damage to themselves, the property, or other people, then you should investigate immediately. Schedule a unit inspection, giving proper notice to the tenant, and investigate. (Keep in mind that certain states, like California, prohibit landlords from conducting general inspections.) Here are some indications of an issue that should be addressed:

  • Hoarding
  • Mold
  • Animal feces
  • Excessive garbage
  • Rodents, roaches, or other pests
  • Overwhelming, unpleasant odors
  • Spoiled food or piles of dirty dishes
  • Sticky surfaces and strange substances
  • Junk that blocks entryways or air vents

Document Untidy Tenants

If you get stuck with a messy tenant and you’re able to document the issue, it would be in your best interest to do so. Your first reason for documenting the issue should be to inquire about the mess if they don’t clean it up of their own free will. But if things get out of hand and you find yourself stuck with an uninhabitable rental or a demand letter from the local municipality, you’ll also have evidence to hold the tenants accountable.

If your state and local laws allow you to charge the tenant for professional cleaning services, you’ll have to provide proof to back up the charge. If you can’t charge the tenant for the mess they left behind, pictures and videos will help make your case for withholding the security deposit to clean up the premises.

Talk to the Tenant

Every circumstance is different. If you have reason to believe that a tenant’s cleanliness (or lack thereof) is causing harm, you need to talk to them. In the instance of hoarding, it is important to review the Fair Housing Act. Hoarding is considered a mental disorder and a disability. Therefore, you are not allowed to evict a tenant because of hoarding, as it would be discrimination. However, there are other reasons for evicting a hoarding tenant, such as lease or fire code violations.

 

These resources are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Landlords and Tenants are encouraged to seek specific legal advice for any of the issues as found in this blog.

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