Do Landlords Have To Clean Between Tenants?

Table Of Contents

As a landlord, you will have a lot to deal with in the transition period between tenants. For example, you may have paperwork to tidy up. You will also want to shorten the vacancy time and avoid losing rental income.

Your potential tenants will also expect their new home to be as clean as possible. So therein lies the question: do landlords have to clean between tenants? In this article, you can find out if landlords are responsible for cleaning between tenants and how to take advantage of tenants' security deposit.

The post also discusses landlord responsibilities, tenants' cleaning responsibilities, and some motivations for cleaning your rental property. Finally, some cleaning tips are considered.

Should Landlords Clean Between Tenants?

Generally, landlords are responsible for cleaning their property before a new tenant moves in. This is one way you can ensure the unit is safe and habitable. However, you may charge the previous tenant for the cleaning costs if they did leave the property in a poorer condition than when they received it.

Usually, the lease agreement or rental agreement would require the tenant to deliver the property in "broom clean" condition (at a minimum).

Taking Advantage of Tenants' Security Deposit

Your new tenants do not necessarily have to deal with messy trash, stains, and clutter. If the previous tenants have left the property in a dismal condition, options are open to you.

You can choose to hire professional cleaners to clean the property. They will usually check whether all appliances and fixtures are functioning well. After that, you can deduct it as tenant cleaning fees or repair costs from your tenant's security deposit.

What is a Security Deposit?

A security deposit is money that is usually equivalent to 1 or 2 months' rent that a tenant pays to a landlord. The landlord keeps the money to account for the possibility of the tenant breaking your lease and not paying rent.

The landlord has to reimburse the security deposit when the tenant moves out. However, a part of it may be used to pay for any damages to the rental unit as specified in the lease agreement.

This is why it is essential always to have a well-specified lease agreement. While you may not require the tenant to perform serious deep cleaning, the security deposit may cover specific damages and expenses. You can refer to your local security deposit laws for a guide.

Landlord's Role of Cleaning Between Tenants

Your responsibility as a landlord during the transition period between tenants include the following:

  • Your property must be in excellent working order and have adequate living conditions. This means you have to maintain features such as the roof and power system.
  • You are responsible for cleaning common spaces and providing enough lighting.
  • A landlord is responsible for providing accessible and serviceable walkways and fire and emergency exits.
  • The property has to be safe. This includes the provision of good locks.
  • The landlord is responsible for undertaking all maintenance issues during this transition period.
  • A landlord is responsible for pest control on the property. Examples of pests include rats, bugs, and termites.
  • Note that landlords must generally meet a warranty of habitability requirement when renting their premises. It's evidence that the unit is safe and fit for human living.
  • It is advisable to perform a move-out inspection of your property when the current tenant leaves. This makes it easier to resolve identified issues.
  • Similarly, consult the local housing authority in your area. It may specify some landlords' cleaning responsibilities and legal requirements.
  • You may find out the cleaning requirements dictated in local and state landlord-tenant laws.

Motivations for Cleaning Your Rental Property

Although cleaning your rental property can be time-consuming, it can be very worthwhile. It can improve your tenant turnover. After all, the condition of your rental unit can determine if the turnover takes a mere 24 hours or extends over weeks.

Indeed, you would want to avoid losing rental income. Besides, you must meet the marketplace requirements for safety and cleanliness before placing your units up for rental.

Cleaning your rental property is an excellent opportunity to assess how well your existing tenants have maintained it. When you clean your rental property, you can attract higher-quality tenants and build better relationships with them.

Tenant Cleaning Responsibilities

When considering rental properties, you may ask: "Is the tenant responsible for cleaning a rental property?" This is a common question regarding landlord vs. tenant cleaning responsibilities. If you believe tenants don't have any cleaning responsibilities, think again.

Of course, it is a reasonable expectation for tenants to deliver a rental property in good shape while accounting for the normal wear and tear arising from habitation. The landlord may charge you property damage costs if they arise from a lack of cleanliness.

Moreover, leases usually require tenants to keep the property clean and sanitary. Tenants start bearing the cleaning responsibilities of the property at the commencement of the lease. Here are some cleaning responsibilities of tenants.

  • Tenants have to always dispose of their trash correctly.
  • Tenants are expected to prevent mold and moisture accumulation.
  • Tenants are responsible for keeping floors and carpets in clean condition.
  • Tenants should observe pests on the property and inform the landlord.

Can a Tenant Perform Property Repairs?

First, you must confirm from the lease agreement that the responsibility for the repairs rests on the landlord. If your landlord does not heed a tenant's request for property repairs, you have some options open to you.

There are legal options to get the repairs done or compensation for damages or injuries. You may even consider breaking your lease. Alternatively, you may perform the repairs and deduct the cost from the outstanding rent.

In other words, the landlord is jeopardizing his rent collection. However, the tenant has to give the landlord some grace period for the repairs.

Rental Property Cleaning Tips for Landlords

It is possible to make your property sparkling clean to attract new tenants quickly. You can use the following tips when cleaning your rental property between tenants.

  • Use a cleaning checklist to properly clean up kitchen appliances, counters, sinks, and cabinetry.
  • Take extra steps to check and clean cabinets, drawers, and shelves. Clear up any surprise dirt or clutter that previous tenants leave behind.
  • Thoroughly clean up the bathroom mirror, doors, toilets, and shower or bathtub. A professional cleaning service can help you out with stubborn bathroom molds.
  • Remember to clean the closets, ceiling fans, walls, and floors of other spaces. This includes the living room, bedrooms, and dining room.
  • Other fixtures and areas to clean include light bulbs, light switches, and outlet covers. Do not leave out window sills, baseboards, and ledges.
  • Clean microfiber cloths and glass cleaners can come in handy when cleaning windows and doors.
  • Clean or replace dirty air filters and furnace filters. This helps ensure that your rental unit is safe and sparkling clean before a new tenant moves in.
  • Verify expiry dates and check the functionality of fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • For future reference, take pictures or do walk-through videos of your clean rental unit.

Move-Out Cleaning

As a tenant, you want to ensure your apartment is in good move-out condition. It makes it easier to collect your security deposit. As such, you may use the services of a professional cleaning company. They can help you out with the following cleaning services:

  • Deep cleaning for appliances and bathrooms.
  • Window cleaning, door cleaning, and baseboard cleaning.
  • Vacuuming and mopping the floors.
  • Some cleaning companies can help you paint your rental property after a move out.
  • You will do well to confirm the scope of their cleaning services and their cleaning costs before choosing them.

Get Help from Professional Cleaning Services

Now you have answers to different facets of the question: "Do landlords have to clean between tenants?" While the tenant has to deliver the property in a clean condition as specified in the lease agreement, you may have to do some extra cleaning. However, you may not need to burden your schedule. Instead, hire a professional cleaning service to clean your space.

Cleaning Services in New York City

Get your apartment cleaned in NYC. It’s that simple, affordable, and convenient.

Our friendly, professional cleaners are all trained, reliable, referenced, insured and trustworthy. Our online booking tool makes scheduling effortless.

More from Our Blog

You Might Also Like

See All Cleaning Posts