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Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Posted by likesivy (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 9, 10 at 17:25

My question isn't about buying and selling homes, but I know that many forum regulars are real estate investors, so I hope I can get some clarity on a question about security deposits.

We had a tenant for five years who always paid on time and took average care of our property, a single family home renting for $850 monthly. When she moved out, and we started routine cleaning in order to show the property again, we found out it wasn't as clean as we expected. Nothing nasty or destroyed, but nothing really cleaned, either.

Are we being too demanding to expect a tenant to have vacuumed the carpeting, washed the vinyl floors, run the self-cleaning oven through a cycle, hauled off bags of garbage and cardboard, and wiped down the inside of the refrigerator? If you as a landlord had to do these things, would you deduct cleaning fees from a security deposit, or just be glad it wasn't worse?

My other question to landlords concerns replacing miniblinds. The tenant used scented candles extensively, not necessarily top quality candles by her own admission. Now we are seeing that the candles leave a sticky film on vinyl mini blinds. There are 18 windows, and since washing the blinds would have been an all day, messy affair at best, we replaced them at a cost of about $80, total. Would you deduct this cost from the security deposit, or is this normal wear and tear?

We also repainted all the interior walls (1730 square feet), touched up the trim, painted the deck, pressure washed the exterior, put the landscaping back in shape, shampooed the carpet, washed all the windows, and made other normal repairs. That's expected.

I want to do what's right and legal, but I don't want to give away money either. What would you do? Charge for the blinds and some cleaning, or not?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Hi likesivy,

Are we being too demanding to expect a tenant to have vacuumed the carpeting, washed the vinyl floors, run the self-cleaning oven through a cycle, hauled off bags of garbage and cardboard, and wiped down the inside of the refrigerator?

What did you mutually agree upon in your rent/lease contract?

Did you do a move-in walk-through inspection (with the new tenant signing off and/or commenting on the state of each item on the checklist)?

Did you take snap-shot pictures as you did the walkthrough, with the new tenant IN some of them? (We like to then email them to the tenant at move-in, and again a month before their lease is up, or when they give notice.)

Did your contract stipulate your expectations regarding meeting the same standards of cleanliness on the move out (minus issues of standard wear & tear)?

Did you do a move-out walk-through with the tenant reviewing each item on the checklist and photos along with you?

I ALREADY KNOW YOUR ANSWER... IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS OURS *USED* TO BE!!! A sheepish "uhhh... no... I hadn't thought that was so necessary..."

If you as a landlord had to do these things, would you deduct cleaning fees from a security deposit, or just be glad it wasn't worse?

We never ding our tenants for any deposits or fees that isn't completely expected within the letter of our mutual agreement. We always try to remember what it was like when *WE* were hand-to-mouth starving renters (with questionnable discipline, maturity, and/or character... yeah, that described us at one point too ;~)

My other question to landlords concerns replacing miniblinds.
<_SNIP>
Would you deduct this cost from the security deposit, or is this normal wear and tear?

Well.... you can already guess my default answer: depends on the written agreement, *AND* how would I want to be treated on the other side of the coin.

HOWEVER... even if we *did* have a clause in our agreements (and we do) about damage from candles, humidifiers, etc... we're generally pretty forgiving for certain levels of maintenance/replacement costs for a long-term tenant who generally paid on time (and/or paid their late fees without trouble when they were late) and took enough care of our place not to burn it down or infest it, or worse. $80 for new blinds throughout, after a 5 year tenant who paid on time... is certainly something we would "gift" them (but we would certainly make sure they understood it is *WE* who are being generous in overlooking their agreed liability.)

I want to do what's right and legal, but I don't want to give away money either. What would you do?

I would charge for absolutely nothing that the tenant would find surprising if she carefully re-read the agreement she made from the outset... and I would "gift" any reasonably small amount, such as the $80 blinds costs.

THEN, I would take a bit of time while the annoying pain is fresh, and very carefully re-write my lease agreement, and design (or borrow) a move-in/move-out checklist along with learning how to take the time to do the walk through with a digital camera & get complete "enrollment" from the tenant from the outset.

Its really amazing... the more time & caution you spend documenting & photographing everything on the move in... the better the tenants pay attention to maintenance & cleanliness on an every day basis... and the better shape they leave the place in at exit.

We've had our tenant nightmares early on our landlord careers... one cost us $14,000 to reverse & repair the damages (penetrating cat pee is the worst... I could go on, but I won't) before we got it back in suitable shape for the quality of tenant we look for.

We've had *ZERO* problems (and I mean truly *ZERO*!!!) since we've slowed down the new tenant move-in process & taken the time to carefully do a walk-through with THEM handwriting on the checklist the entry state of cleanliness & state of repair... taking dated pics of them in the process, and giving them copies of the pics & checklist to begin with, and again as they are preparing to leave.

I *LOVE* cashflow income investment real estate, and I pat you on the back & cheer you on as well. Learn the lessons, apply them, and you'll be fine.

Luck!
Dave


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Yes, we have a signed and dated check-in/check-out list, as well as agreements about no pets, no smoking, no sublets, etc. The check-in procedure did not include photographs, but we're not talking about damage that would be apparent in a photo. We're just talking about ordinary dirt. Except for bags of garbage on the back steps.

We did make the mistake of not doing a formal check-out walk-through. We were too casual about it because we assumed it would be clean. Not smart.

The tenant was not a naive young person trying to get by, but a mature, working professional who has been (and is now again) a homeowner. We've been landlords for 8 years and we work hard to keep our properties clean, modern, occupied, and lucrative. So far, so good, but there's always things to learn.

We'll definitely add no candles to our rental agreement. And formalize the check-out procedure.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

My parents handled a lot of rental units and you are describing a pretty good exit scenario. In their books, this is an excellent tenant (paid on time every month!) that they would rent to anyday. Rental deposits are for things like permanent damage and holes in the walls, not normal wear, tear and dirt. I've seen people move into houses where the sellers cleaned much less than you have described. People have different tolerances for dirt and I would think that the tenant would be really shocked if you kept part of her deposit for what you are describing.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Considering the nightmare stories I've heard from friends and family who rent property, I think you've been quite fortunate with this renter. When I left my first rented apartment, the landlord reminded me that it needed to be vac'd, mopped, fridge cleaned when I left.

No candles? That's sort of odd, I think.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

In today's world, you have just described a stellar tenant. It's fortunate that you don't have experience with the more common careless and destructive kind. "Dirt" isn't damage, and the garbage wasn't strewn throughout the home. Miniblinds are cheap and disposable for a reason. No one really cleans miniblinds in a rental beyond token dusting. Consider repainting and new blinds the cost of renewing between tenants.

Give her the deposit back and thank your lucky stars that you aren't dealing with damage that far outstrips any damage deposit.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Independent from the contractual issues in place which Dave wrote about above, I would give her back the deposit. From what you describe, the place certainly wasn't a disaster, and I would expect new mini blinds after a 5-year rental to be a "transaction" cost. Hell, we keep a decent house but after being here a year we have a few broken blinds on the mini-blinds! I'm amazed there weren't any broken ones!

To me, it just sounds like typical wear and tear...it sounds like you had an excellent tenant and in exchange I would definitely giver he back her deposit. What you describe is a pretty darned good tenant, all things considered.

Hopefully one day I will rent this house out so I watch these posts very carefully :).


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Candles

Oh, I forgot to mention about the candles...I would definitely not forbid candles. That's pretty ridiculous, imho. If I was a renter, and I came across a contract that said I couldn't have candles, I'd laugh and walk away. Not being mean, just honest.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Thanks for the opinions, which have helped us see the big picture. It looks like polling indicates she deserves her deposit. Ok, ok!


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Seems to be a vicious circle.. Rent is very expensive these days as expectations are ever rising. Renters do not have a generally good image, thus the high rental cost is even higher.
How do those who rent improve their image ??
I've been on both sides of this fence... I've had to the learn "the cost of doing business" thing...the profit for a rental unit is not that great at the bottom line.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I think you were VERY FORTUNATE! Those are normal wear-and-tear issues. Yes, it would have been nice had they cleaned up better after themselves, but I'd expect to replace mini-blinds, do a complete cleaning and repaint after a five year tenant. Not only would I give the deposit back, I'd even offer to give them a letter of reference! The costs incurred in getting this ready for the next tenant or selling the house should be tax deductable and you'll get it back one way or the other.

My son's last tenants did almost as much damage as the house was appraised at and it was in excellent condition when he let it out and he had all the appropriate legal protections. But that still didn't stop the carnage and by the time he could legally vacate the premises, the only recourse was to take them to court, whereupon they both quit their jobs and went on welfare.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

A Judge Judy and a ton of reform are necessary.
We need balance, right now the poor and the rich have an advantage. No-one represents the middle very well.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Puzzling over damage deposits is one thing I never had to worry about as a landlord!

Such deposits are outlawed in my jurisdiction. Also, you cannot discriminate against pet owners, smokers and people with children. Along with the usual race, creed, etc.

My last two tenants left me a mini-growup and a reno job. Mom burned candles till the walls were black, put out her ciggies on the hardwood and started a nice fire in the hall--which she hid with a patch of wall-to-wall when she left. Oh, and a 20 foot circle of soggy mud where they put in their aboveground pool, a busted garage door, and exterior GFI's thrown away. (They kept shutting power off to their beer fridges.)

A little dirt and $80 for disposable blinds? I'll trade you any day.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I don't even like or use candles, but think the candle restriction is a bit much. Would that include birthday cakes?????


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Just a side comment,

Are you sure your tenant knew how to run the self-cleaning oven? Those things can be a little intimidating if you haven't encountered them before.

Also, in my experience self-cleaners tend to off-gas as they work and heat up the room. If escaping the house/opening the windows wasn't feasible, I wouldn't expect someone to use one.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Worthy..., .."no dicrimination?"...what a mistake. All the landlords have to then increase the rents by 30 to 50%, which all pay......very unfair.....do the law-makers know what they are doing??


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Also, you cannot discriminate against pet owners, smokers and people with children.

Really? You have to accept pets? Where do you live?


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Hi Worthy,

Also, you cannot discriminate against pet owners, smokers and people with children.

I had an investor/landlord/mentor who taught me how me dealt with applicants from the very first call on his advertisements. One of the last parts of his call he would say "we're very particular about smoking indoors, do you mind keeping your smoking on the patio?"

If they were non-smokers they would vehemently state so outright. He would sometimes have to reassure them that he wouldn't put them in a "smoking" unit (which made him smile all the more.)

If they were smokers, they would invariably say "sure! We always smoke outside." (which we *ALL* know is a twisted-truth, at the very best... and more often an outright lie.)

If they answered in the former mode, (and all else checked out) he'd simply invite them to the next step...

if they answered in the latter mode, he wouldn't. He didn't make a big drama of it, he'd simply thank them for their inquiry, that he had several other applicants he needed to screen, and that he would call them if he chose them.

He was taught this by his attorney as a discrimination-proof means of selecting tenants who would preserve property value.

I am sure a similar approach can be taken for pets & children (we do not prohibit either, but we do have *very* stiff pet deposits *AND* pet rent add-ons.) I can't imagine *any* jurisdiction that prohibits landlords from protecting their property values from pet damage via deposits & rent premiums... where is this?

I know landlords that screen for "heavy curry, garlic and deep-frying" in similar ways (which is what they actually want to avoid... not the race, creed or religion of the person paying the rent.)

===================

As for candles, we don't 'PROHIBIT' them... our lease merely states that the tenant may be responsible for additional cleaning and/or wall & ceiling re-painting & sealing costs (beyond normal wear & tear) if they are due to candles, oil lamp smoke, etc.

Cheers,
Dave


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Dave,

First of all, Worthy lives in Canada, which is readily apparent if you looked at his profile so the rules on what you can and can't prohibit in a rental are most likely quite different.

Secondly, what you describe is blatant discrimination. And it is the type of discrimination that has been going on for centuries and it is not right. Sure, it's hard to prove that the renter was discriminated against, but apparently that lawyer is not as ethical as others.

"I'm sure a similar approach can be taken for pets & children". You cannot refuse to rent a unit to a renter because they have children. You cannot ask for a "children deposit" as you could with a pet.

"heavy curry, garlic, and deep-frying" people invariably are usually those of Indian descent and it is an unethical and wrong way to be passive aggressive about discrimination.

Your post is disturbing. You clearly advocate unethical activities and questioning concerning potential and current rentals, and appear to support others partaking in similar activities. What a shame.


OH, also, I smoke. We own our home. We don't smoke in the house - EVER. Not even when it is -10 on a cold January night. Not once have we. So no, they are not all lying.

How disturbing.

The fact is that when you are a landlord there will naturally be costs incurred concerning cleaning from previous tenants, repairs caused by previous tenants, etc. And that number needs to be included in your monthly "carrying cost" to determine profitability so you can adjust your potential cash flow appropriately.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Hi Krycek,

I'm sorry you found my post 'disturbing'... I don't advocate unethical activities whatsoever, *AND* I believe it is every property owner's ethical right to defend the value and maintenance of their property as well.

"I'm sure a similar approach can be taken for pets & children". You cannot refuse to rent a unit to a renter because they have children. You cannot ask for a "children deposit" as you could with a pet.

You *CAN* limit the number of occupants, and require them to be specifically identified on your lease. I never said that screening out children was anything *we* do... just imagined it could be done if an owner felt their property wasn't suitable to children.

The law has found it allowable for senior communities to discriminate via age as well.

"heavy curry, garlic, and deep-frying" people invariably are usually those of Indian descent and it is an unethical and wrong way to be passive aggressive about discrimination.

There are PLENTY of people of Indian descent who do not home cook with heavy curry, garlic, or deep frying (and there are plenty of NON-Indian folks who do, exactly that.) Screening for a race is wrong... screening for a destructive habit is right.

Nobody has the right to force their habits on others when those habits are destructive to others' property.

OH, also, I smoke. We own our home. We don't smoke in the house - EVER. Not even when it is -10 on a cold January night. Not once have we. So no, they are not all lying.

Great, I'm glad you agree with what I wrote! ;~)

The fact is that when you are a landlord there will naturally be costs incurred concerning cleaning from previous tenants, repairs caused by previous tenants, etc.

There is no ethical demand of property owners to knowingly expose their property to uncommon behaviours or habits that would more rapidly degrade or damage their property. The laws prohibit discrimination of protected classes... cookers of permiating spices is not a protected class, nor are tobacco smokers (at least not in my jurisdiction.)

I personally *LOVE* curry and other pungent foods. In my own home we cook up an Asian restaurant's worth of stinky goodness at least 2/3rd of the week. Further, although I do not smoke, I have no issue with smokers who carry on their tobacco practices beyond my senses and any effects on my property.

I reserve the right to refuse to engage in home rental business with people (regardless color, creed, religion, gender, sexual preference, hairstyle or favorite sitcom) who have behavioural habits that endanger my property, and the law allows for that.

Further, the market restrains the amount of safety & sanitary deposits that can be successfully requested... and any degrading behaviours that cannot be successfully deposited against must simply be turned away.

Cheers,
Dave


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Here Here, Dave!

Some people just seek out offense where there is none.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I'm trying not to take your post personally as I know you have the best of intentions but I agree with the others, while some of the things your tenant did were a little annoying you got off VERY LUCKY and she sounds like a model tenant. I would hate to think of her using you for a reference and you complaining that she burnt cheap candles. My last two landlords were crazy. one kept my security deposit because I refused to leave the electric bill in my name until she found another tenant to take it over. There was nothing legal about what she did but the deposit (one bedroom furnished month to month apartment) was only $300 so it wasn't worth going to court over it.

My last landlord (we were model tenants who always paid the rent on time, treated the home like it was our own, even did improvements that the landlord liked and allowed (put more insulation in the basement, fixed broken doors, replaced all the interior door knobs to matching ones with locks and when we left I cleaned that place like crazy. even scrubbed down the walls with clorox wipes. It was spotless when we left. The only thing I knew was going to be deducted from our security deposit (as spelled out in the lease) was $50 to mow the yard because we mowed it when we moved out but the landlord didn't perform the walk- through till the end of the month which was three weeks later. Wasn't worth it to us to haul the lawn tractor back over there and it would have cost more than $50 for us to hire someone to mow two acres of grass. So no big loss.
Did the walk through with the landlord and she mentioned a small hole in one of the screens, a cracked window (our fault) and that was it. I signed off on it and when I got my security deposit back (over two months later which was illegal as she had 30 days to return it) she had charged us for outrageous things like repainting the bedrooms (because the new tenants didn't like the wall color which was the color SHE PAINTED it prior to us moving in), moving a refrigerator out of the basement (her refrigerator) and cleaning said refrigerator that SHE had stored in the basement, cleaning dead bugs out of the shower (it was clean when I left, but if you let a house sit for a month you will probably find dead bugs somewhere). She also charged us for disposing of "a large wooden structure in the basement" That was a nice isulating cover for the french doors in the basement that my hubby had constructed and I specifically asked her if she wanted me to leave it and she said yes! Also charged us for little things like a bent light switch. We received less than half our deposit back and that house was in better shape when we left than when we moved in. Could have taken her to small claims court based on the fact she was late in returning the security deposit alone, but we figured we'd win a judgement and never see the money because she'd just refuse to pay and no one enforces the judgements anyway.

Just be thankful you had such a good tenant, you may not get as lucky with the next one, every landlord I've ever talked to has told me horror stories- of people trashing places, leaving ten tons of garbage around, as a mater of fact, the landlord we rented from had tenants that lived in the house behind us and they were disgusting people. They didn't want to pay for trash removal so they sat all their trash on the porch and in the yard and they just let it rot. They had multiple pets that roamed inside the house and they never cleaned up after them. The house was so badly trashed when the landlord got it back that she just let the bank take it because she said it would cost too much to repair to be able to rent it out again.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

increase the rents by 30 to 50%,

Not in a rent-controlled jurisdiction, you don't!

Yes, we have that, too, in Ontario.

When I was a real estate agent in Queens (NYC) my supervisor let me know that the small "x" on the 3x5 cards with the listings was the subtle way of letting us know that the accomodations weren't "suitable" for "Negroes". So the too darkly complected never even saw those apartments. No discrimination there!

mel gibson Pictures, Images and Photos
"Not in my house!"

Ontario's Human Rights Commission prohibits discrimination in rental housing on the following grounds:

* Race
* Colour
* Ancestry
* Creed (religion)
* Place of Origin
* Ethnic Origin
* Citizenship
* Sex (including pregnancy, gender identity)
* Sexual Orientation
* Age
* Marital Status
* Family Status
* Disability
* Receipt of Public Assistance

I suspect subtle screening techniques to eliminate such undesirables without alerting them to what's really going are imagined and implemented every day by real estate "pros."


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Some landlords take the "lord" in their name too seriously, imho.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I eliminated children in my old rental units by handing out a lead paint information sheet they would have to sign ... pointing out the age of the house and the probably presence of lead paint. No one signed it. they took their kids and headed to the newer side of town.

As for pets - Working service animals and working police dogs, neutered or spayed cats OK, all other animals negotiable, but must be legal species in AZ. I had a tenant with rattlesnakes, and all the permits he needed.

Smoking: specifically forbidden in the lease. And I evicted one tenant for it. Came in to do some repairs, with proper warning, and there were filthy, overflowing ashtrays and burns on the new hardwood floors. He was out in 2 weeks, despite his trying to convince the judge that it was discrimination.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I think you got off easy. Your tenant could have cancelled garbage service some months earlier and instead piled all the garbage in the detached garage . . .

LH garage

Or let the power get disconnected for non-pay and then move out . . . leaving a full fridge.

LH fridge

It is definitely time to count your blessings.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Worthy, I didn't notice anything about pets in your list. I still can't believe that there is a jurisdiction that would require landlords to rent with people with pets (not counting service animals).


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Ontario Residential Tenancies Act:

"“No pet” provisions void

14. A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void. 2006, c. 17, s. 14."

Link for broadband only.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ontario Residential Tenancies Act


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RE: Question followup

Even when you could discriminate against pet owners during my 20 years of landlording, I didn't. If the people are responsible, they will be responsible about their pets. Until I became hyper allergic, I was a multiple cat owner myself.

At one point, Ontario was ready to ban the use of credit checking prospective tenants. Really!

(Love those pics! I wish I had taken shots of one house I got back where las cuchrachas were so swarming that the painters had to be put off until I soaked it with two gallons of diazanon .5%.)


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I would not think your cleaning problems were too bad. She always paid on time and no major damage. Count your blessings and you can write off the expense anyway. It is part of the game of rental property.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I remember buying some of those gel candles on sale after the holidays. I saved them till the next year, and burned them then. I was amazed at the sooty smoke they gave off. These gel candles were the kind that looked like a bowl of Jello. I definitely could see asking tenants not to burn gel candles. I quit using them pronto.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

For a 2.5 year period, my husband and I rented a home while we decided about building. We have two dogs, and (being in Ontario) landlords cannot deny me for that reason. But I made sure to find a landlord who was OK with it; I didn't want to have a pissed-off landlord to start.

The Ontario rule does allow a landlord to evict someone if their pet causes problems for another tenant, such as barking.

LOL @ krycek1984 "Some landlords take the "lord" in their name too seriously, imho."


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

If you lived in your own home for 5 years, and didn't repaint, didn't really have much incentive to do a lot of improvements, I bet you'd fine (once you moved all the furniture out) that you had some repainting and washing and minor repairing to do.

It's impossible to live in a place without making a mark on it. And 5 years is actually a long time.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

One of our units was long term rented by a retired school teacher. She was in it when we purchased and she, unfortunately, passed away after ten years with us.

Her daughter moved in and she wouldn't let us in to clean, repaint or anything. !!! Her mom did the same thing when we first got it, we offered, she declined. I couldn't tell you the last time that home was painted out.

A bit unusual but its her privacy and that of her deceased mother, I guess.

We've been inside the home, it looks like a time capsule. We have replaced the appliance package but that is it and it looks as new...walls, bathroom (one of the first rooms to go, eh?), flooring, carpet, everything looks as new.
Squeaky clean and smells like a home, not a rental.

I wish all our folks were like those two. Sigh.

We give her the December rent back as a thank you. Plus we forget increases sometimes.

Keep your keepers, for sure.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I have to say that I was always an excellent tenant. I was just raised that way. Maintained and protected the carpets; Cleaned the units upon moving out --including windows, appliances, woodwork etc. Including those units that very very obviously had not been cleaned after the last tenant (more as a favor to incoming tenants, I knew that landlord would not!).

Invariably the landlords/management company would try to hold onto the deposit for "needed cleaning". Even got charged once for supposedly burned out light bulbs in the ceiling fixtures! Which I can assure you were not.

Sometimes with firm persistence I ended up with the deposit back--sometimes it was lost completely and not worth going to court over (which I am sure the landlord counted on).

No one in those days gave a thought to the discomforts of fellow tenants inflicted by smokers, curry (or spam) cookers, etc in adjoining units. We just had to suffer til we could move.

My daughter's college campus apartment, in a very old house, was made uninhabitable by the renovation of the other 3 units in the property by a new owner -- plaster falling, thick layers of dust on and in everything, plumbing not working properly. She was the last remaining tenant but for some reason the company wouldn't let her out of her lease. With the involvement of the city building inspector we finally got them to agree to terminate--but never got the security deposit back.

Pray God I never have to rent again--or even live in a condo!
So, likesivy, I commend you for being a conscientious and not greedy landlord!


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

I put a clause in about having the place professionally cleaned. To avoid that cost, tenants leave it clean. I've also had tenants do the darnedest things, so I also put in a clause that "nothing can be painted or changed without written permission", but I add "which will not be unreasonably withheld". It's worked so far. My attorney had me add one about pets, that any damage by pets is to be paid directly by the tenant and not taken out of the security deposit. I've had people who hadn't bothered to walk their dogs and the wood floors were so badly damaged by urine that they had to be replaced.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

It takes years of experience in order to perfect a lease agreement, complete with all of the addendums. I charge $95/per toilet if it's not clean, get it? Granted there's normal wear and tear, but clean is clean and you should be able to produce the 200 or so photos you took prior to move in day. Don't do dogs either, dog pee/poo, claws, not good.
Always section 8, better tenants, always clean homes and yards, leases renew every year, no turnarounds.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

My daughter's apartment was not the best when she moved in. It wasn't filthy but it wasn't above average either. We didn't take photos though, just trusted them. She had to spot clean the carpet and scrub bugs off the walls when she was moving her belongings in. They said drip pans needed replacing. She rented from them for 6 months and stayed there a total of 10-15 nights. She used the stove twice. We paid for carpet cleaning when she moved out. They are trying to profit from what they said was done for cleaning when she moved out. I stood there and waited for the checkout people myself. They refuse to show receipts for the blinds and drip pans purchased, and work paid to their independent cleaners. She would be more than happy to pay what they paid. It has to be unconscionable, at best, to want to profit from a tenant like this. She wants to file a suit. They are a huge company in Fargo.


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RE: Question for landlords about cleaning after tenant vacates

Not necessarily. It depends on local ordinances. Here, you cannot charge a tenant for carpet cleaning, even if it's in the lease. (It's not legal to put it in a lease, actually.)

Back to topic. This is part of the problem in dealing with a large rental company sometimes; it's how many of them make money. You could take them to small claims court, or threaten to do so, perhaps they would then produce the receipts? Do you have a tv station or a newspaper that does those consumer getting screwed stories? I think this would qualify?

And yes, it's unconscionable, but it's business.


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