In general, a clause that the tenant should clean the property regularly is included in the lease agreement. However, it’s not uncommon for property owners (i.e. you) to clean up after them. Tenants tend to forget that one of their obligations is to clean the property – or at least, they say they forgot to. And although it’s the property owners’ duty to provide the tenant with a habitable property, tenants also shouldn’t abandon their obligations. Tenants should, at the bare minimum, be able to maintain the rental.
In this post, we’ll dip our toes into how you can tell your tenants to clean your property properly.
Why should you remind tenants to clean the rental property?
What’s clean to your tenant may not be clean to you. Your tenant may not understand why they need to clean the property the way you want them to, as well. Unfortunately, this way of thinking puts your property at risk of damage, pests, and more. When tenants neglect the property, even if they don’t think they’re doing it, the property will deteriorate. As a result, you will have to pay for repairs out of pocket to ensure you can continue to rent out your property.
How to deal with dirty tenants
Here’s how you should deal with dirty tenants:
1. Assess the situation
Of course, you can’t claim that your tenant isn’t cleaning the rental property without solid proof. When you or your property management company conducts a property inspection, be on the lookout for signs of unsatisfactory property care. For instance, if you spot animal feces, pests, etc., that clearly indicates that the property isn’t in pristine condition.
2. Communicate with the tenant
The moment you notice that the property hasn’t been properly cared for, immediately inform your tenant about the matter. Communicate with them and remember to be professional, fair, but also firm. They should see you as someone to whom they’re accountable, not someone they can bat their eyelashes at. Let them know that you take issue with their cleanliness (or lack thereof).
You could say something along the lines of, “Hi, I noticed that there are cockroaches in the kitchen. I trust that you can take care of the property, however, I have a few concerns.”
3. Follow up with the tenant
You or your property management firm should follow up with the tenant to verify if they’ve finally cleaned the property up. You can do this by conducting a property inspection. Remember to document the property inspection, complete with dates and times. That way, you can protect yourself in case your tenant sues you.
If the tenant has cleaned the property, you can continue to rent it to them, penalty-free. However, if there’s no sign of progress, you need to implement particular penalties.
4. Serve the tenant a formal letter
If the tenant is uncooperative, serve them a notice that outlines the respective penalties for their violations. This should “scare” them to take action. However, if they still refuse to clean the property properly, you will have no other choice but to evict them. A South Florida property management firm with an in-house team of lawyers can help prepare this written notice.
Tips on dealing with dirty tenants
Not all property owners deal with tenants who don’t clean the property. Here’s what they have done to get their tenants to clean their property regularly:
1. State it in the lease agreement
If you want to get your tenants to clean, include a clause in the lease agreement. This will force your tenants to clean the property, as they’re aware that if they fail to, they will face certain penalties. When your tenants sign the lease agreement containing this clause, it can be safe to say that they agree to clean the property, too. From the get-go, they knew what they were getting themselves into.
2. Outline your expectations
Bear in mind that how your tenant defines “clean” may not be how you define it. For that reason, it’s important to communicate your expectations clearly. For instance, if you want certain wood surfaces to be cleaned with a special cleaner, you need to inform your tenants. You can’t assume that they know what hardwood can and can’t be cleaned with.
By outlining your expectations, you’ll also be able to give your tenants time to decide if they can meet your expectations. If they think they can’t, it won’t be too late for them to back out.
3. Be specific
If there are areas in your property that need to be cleaned a particular way, be sure to specify where these are. For example, if your property is prone to pests, tell your tenant to be extra careful when they throw out the trash. Or if you have plants that grow wildly, remember to remind your tenant to trim them regularly.
Keep in mind that your tenants haven’t gotten to know the property yet, so you can’t expect them to know the nitty-gritty details. You need to be very clear about what to clean, where to clean, and so on.
4. Demonstrate how to clean
If you’re very particular about how your property should be cleaned, it would be best to show your tenants how to clean it. For instance, if you want your windows cleaned a certain way (in order to avoid water spots), do a demo for them when they move in. How your tenant cleans may not be how you would clean, so it would be best to show them how you want it to be done.
At Luxury Property Care, we understand how crucial it is to keep your rental property clean. That’s why we always conduct property inspections at all of our clients’ rental properties. We’ll check if your tenants are sticking to their commitments, and if they aren’t, we’ll deal with your dirty tenants for you. When you partner with us, you can have peace of mind, knowing your property is in tiptop shape, and that it’s being cleaned the way you would clean it.