New tenants shouldn’t have to clean an old tenant’s mess, but landlords shouldn’t have to clean up after messy tenants. Who is responsible for cleaning a unit?
While landlords are responsible for maintaining a livable space, that doesn’t mean landlords have to play maid when a tenant makes a mess and moves out. However, new tenants also shouldn’t have to be responsible for cleaning up after a messy tenant either. So, is the tenant or landlord responsible for cleaning up a rental unit?
When Is a Landlord Responsible for Cleaning a Rental Unit?
Landlords must keep a unit clean when it falls under their maintenance responsibilities. That means when a tenant moves into a unit, the property must be clean and habitable. However, it is essential to note that the definition of habitable varies based on state and local laws. But what happens when a tenant leaves a unit in complete disarray? Is the landlord responsible?
The landlord is responsible for cleaning the rental unit, although the cost will likely get covered by the previous tenant’s security deposit. But if a tenant has already moved out and is unreachable, it is still the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the unit is clean for the next tenant.
When Is a Tenant Responsible for Cleaning a Unit?
Tenants are responsible for keeping the unit clean and maintained while living on the property. Additionally, they are responsible for minor fixes such as lightbulb changes and everyday tasks such as sweeping, mopping, and organizing. Carpet stains, wall stains, and dirty amenities are the tenant’s responsibility to keep clean. However, a landlord has no say on when they must do this, and a tenant can keep a unit a mess until move-out day. That is unless the landlord stipulates in the lease agreement that they may perform periodic inspections.
How To Prevent Future Disagreements
Move-out inspections can be a landlord’s greatest ally in combating future disagreements by ensuring everyone is on the same page about the state of the property. Additionally, move-in inspections, maintenance checklists, and periodic inspections can be just as valuable for ensuring your property isn’t abused. However, it is crucial to include all these things in your lease agreement. It may be worth having a separate tenant responsibility clause to avoid miscommunication.
Knowing whether a landlord or tenant is responsible for cleaning a unit is critical if you don’t want to waste time and money on needless arguments. However, it’s always essential for landlords and tenants alike to check state and local laws regarding correlating responsibilities.