Tenants are not keeping clean house....

What do you do with a tenant who is keeping a dirty house?
The house is not being damaged(such as: holes in the wall or broken windows, etc…) it is full of dirty clothing and the kitchen is full of old dirty dishes, with some trash and etc… I have aske them to clean the house and will be back in two weeks to inspect. I am thinking of approaching them with eviction notice due to the fact the house is in this condition. This could be a fire hazard!! I have never had this to deal with, late payments, no payments and move out in the middle of the night I have had to address, but not a dirty house.

What to do?

Messy house is one thing, dirty house is another.

If there is rotting food, garbage, pet feces there will soon be mice, rats, flies, fleas and hidden water damage.

If it’s that bad you will have to give them a notice to clean it up, and then re-inspect. If they don’t, evict them. When tenants go bad, they usually only get worse. Better to bite the bullet and get rid of them.


tellem the fire department is going in for an annual inspection…

you should instruct your tenants to clean the house properly…, because you pay them money and they should work for it…


sounds like one of your nasty tenants is dropping in on the forum today…since when do landlords pay tenants? I think we may be in the wrong biz fellow landlords this tenant gig getting paid sounds like a sweet deal!

But to answer your q, I have had a few situations like yours each its own. The main thing I look at is the kitchen and bathroom, ie is there food and grease all over has the toilet bowl or shower ever been washed? ALSO, is the carpet stained? That is a big one. I had some college med students from china move in with no reference and they destroyed an apartment in less than 3 months so make sure once someone moves in that you make sure to stop by and see how things are going in the begining.

Now after several problems like the one mentioned I am very upfront with prospective tenants. We always present them with as a spotless environment as we can, sometimes the carpet has some stains but for the most part everything else gets painted and always cleaned. I tell them that we expect it to stay that way and that we have had trouble in the past so we do monthly inspecitons, if theres trouble the shape up or get out. Some will clean some wont, if they wont leave get rid of them as soon as you can taking into consideration your vacancies but also how bad the place really is, if its got any bugs get them out ASAP like yesterday.


It’s really kind of hard to give a difinitive answer without knowing all the facts.
If I saw your lease agreement I could tell you exactly what to do to keep you out of a
law suit.
But, generally speaking you should notify your tenant in writing via certified
mail, second in the notification you should specify paragraph and page asto what
type of condition you agreed they must keep the unit in…

If they are in violation of the lease agreement which ussually states
the property should be kept clean condition minus normal wear and tear.

You can also add an addendum on to the lease if t’s not there
already, just get them to initial and date with your initial and date

You can then hire a cleaning company to come spot clean the unit\and charge
the tenant. If they persist in trashing the unit you can evict them and keep thier
deposit for cleaning. Ants, roaches, mice, rats and odors can be very costly
and and lower your properties value over time.

I would inspect the unit every week, whether they are there or not.
If it is as bad as you say you can call your local health inspector or codes
to come inspect they may issue a citation. this will all be part of your paper
trail when you evict.
Never talk to a tenant when your angry, just put everything in writing.
All verbal request should be repeated via certified mail always.

Hope this helps

Here’s the problem: not every tenant will keep house the way you keep your house.

There is a difference between dirt and filth. As long as there is no damage, dirt can be cleaned up and cleaning deducted from the deposit when the tenant moves out. Dirty clothes and dirty dishes will leave with the tenant when they move out. Garbage can be hauled off. Carpets can be cleaned, walls can be washed.

I ignore clutter and untidiness. It’s not my place to tell the tenants that they must live up to my standards. If they work and have kids, the house is always going to look like a cyclone just went through.

If there is actual filth, which will attract bugs and vermin, then I would give a written notice reminding them that they are responsible for the cost of pest control (as per their rental agreement) and that food attracts vermin.

If the dirt really bothered me, I would simply give them 30 day notice to vacate. That’s my policy: keep my mouth shut and leave them alone, or else kick them out. You are wasting your time trying to change their behavior and the way that they live.

Now, if they are doing damage, I get them out as quickly as I can get them out. They will continue to do more and more damage the longer they are in there. They don’t do damage the first month and then settle down and never do any more damage the rest of the time they are there. Damage can quickly exceed the security deposit and the chances of getting additional money are non existant.

My understanding of tenant law is that the tenant is paying for the right of peaceful enjoyment of the property. Realtors who show up without notice or appointment should be treated as solicitors selling something (vacuum cleaners, religion, etc). If you choose to answer the door, inform them that this is an inconvenient time and ask them to make an appointment.

Just because the home is listed for short sale doesn’t mean you should get treated like crap. You’re paying rent for a place to live, and you have a right to quiet enjoyment of that living space.

Your landlord and or property manager, and possibly their assignees (Listing agent realtor) could reasonably be forced to provide you with 24 hour written notice prior to entering your home. Your actions of letting the realtors show the home without written notice is a courtesy you are providing.

Keep in mind many Short Sales drag on for many months. Establish a reasonable expectation immediately that you can live with or possibly you’ll be walked over (and your house trampled through) for months.

A realtor/listing agent’s job is to show your house. There are times a prospective buyer wants privacy to discuss a home with the buyer’s agent during a walk-through. Such time’s call for appointments, and at no time would I suggest you open your house to anyone without a realtor. Those who are “just curious” are possible buyers, but not credible.