Author Topic: Move out cleaning bill question  (Read 4866 times)

Travis

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Move out cleaning bill question
« on: July 24, 2015, 09:42:09 AM »
We just moved out of our apartment and $162 of our $500 deposit was pulled for cleaning.  On our departure inspection nothing was noted as being wrong, but we just received an invoice from their cleaning company saying there were a number of things broken.  When we talked to the manager (before seeing the invoice) she said the cleaning bill was a general sanitation cleaning to prepare for the next tenant.  I'm still flipping through our contract, but I haven't seen anything that says this kind of cleaning would come from our security deposit. Is this a normal part of doing business or am I getting screwed?  I left a message to find out if those "broken" items the cleaning crew claimed to find were part of that bill, but haven't heard back yet.

zephyr911

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 10:38:05 AM »
We just moved out of our apartment and $162 of our $500 deposit was pulled for cleaning.  On our departure inspection nothing was noted as being wrong, but we just received an invoice from their cleaning company saying there were a number of things broken.  When we talked to the manager (before seeing the invoice) she said the cleaning bill was a general sanitation cleaning to prepare for the next tenant.  I'm still flipping through our contract, but I haven't seen anything that says this kind of cleaning would come from our security deposit. Is this a normal part of doing business or am I getting screwed?  I left a message to find out if those "broken" items the cleaning crew claimed to find were part of that bill, but haven't heard back yet.
After a clear inspection? That's bullshit.

NoNonsenseLandlord

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 10:43:40 AM »
Not everything will be caught in an inspection.  If I do a walk through, I am not expected to catch 100% of broken things.  Unless you are prepared for a 2-3 hour walk through.

I look for general condition and take about 5-10 minutes.  I check the appliances, tub and bathroom, and overall condition.  I do not pull out every drawer and cabinet, open and close each window and blind, open and close all closet doors, etc.  I do that when I am cleaning it for the turn.

I do find things after the fact, sometimes I charge, some times not.  I pulled a refrigerator out once and saw a tray of butter that must have fallen behind.  I deducted some for that.

You are responsible to fix or replace everything that you caused damage too, and to clean the place up to the same condition as you arrived.  Dirt and grease are not "normal wear and tear".

CashFlowDiaries

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2015, 01:16:04 PM »
I have the following clause in my rental lease agreements  that state:

"Landlord may deduct reasonable charges from the security deposit for:
(b) costs for which Tenant is responsible to clean, deodorize, exterminate, and maintain the Property; "

If you just do a dusting and a vacuum, then NO that is not going to count and I would definitely be hiring a cleaner.  Cleaners can range anywhere from $100 dirt cheap on craigslist to $300 professional service.

Also, do you have a pet?  I also state in my lease agreement that a cleaning fee will automatically occur if there was a pet.  No questions asked.

Of course all lease agreements can vary but I would say that it is pretty normal what you are going through right now.


SUP

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2015, 04:35:27 PM »
Check your state's landlord tenant guidelines. Usually put out by the attorney general. A lot of states outline what is "normal" wear and tear. Landlords don't like getting a written dispute that quotes the attorney general's guidelines (I know because I am one). There is also a process for disputing the charges. Follow it. Instead of arguing over the phone, use your documentation and keep everything in writing.

Good luck.

grantmeaname

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 06:59:37 AM »
What state do you live in? Sure as Shit that's illegal in Ohio but as everyone else has already noted the rules vary greatly by state.

If you don't want to dig through the actual statutes of your state on a circa-1995 government website, you could look to see if your local legal aid society publishes a simple document that explains landlord-tenant law.

grantmeaname

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2015, 07:01:05 AM »
I have the following clause in my rental lease agreements  that state:

"Landlord may deduct reasonable charges from the security deposit for:
(b) costs for which Tenant is responsible to clean, deodorize, exterminate, and maintain the Property; "

If you just do a dusting and a vacuum, then NO that is not going to count and I would definitely be hiring a cleaner.  Cleaners can range anywhere from $100 dirt cheap on craigslist to $300 professional service.

Also, do you have a pet?  I also state in my lease agreement that a cleaning fee will automatically occur if there was a pet.  No questions asked.

Of course all lease agreements can vary but I would say that it is pretty normal what you are going through right now.
My lease says that too. It doesn't make it legal for my landlord to charge me for cleaning. Landlords put it in their leases here in the hopes of intimidating tenants out of their money.

Papa bear

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Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2015, 07:11:43 AM »
Not everything will be caught in an inspection.  If I do a walk through, I am not expected to catch 100% of broken things.  Unless you are prepared for a 2-3 hour walk through.

I look for general condition and take about 5-10 minutes.  I check the appliances, tub and bathroom, and overall condition.  I do not pull out every drawer and cabinet, open and close each window and blind, open and close all closet doors, etc.  I do that when I am cleaning it for the turn.

I do find things after the fact, sometimes I charge, some times not.  I pulled a refrigerator out once and saw a tray of butter that must have fallen behind.  I deducted some for that.

You are responsible to fix or replace everything that you caused damage too, and to clean the place up to the same condition as you arrived.  Dirt and grease are not "normal wear and tear".

+1. 

As for the "sure as shit say it's illegal in Ohio" what are you referring to that is illegal?  Charging for cleaning excessive dirt/grime, or to replace broken items? 

If you don't have the time to clean the showers/tubs and appliances to the way they were given at the start of the lease, you're going to get charged.

ETA: not suggesting the OP didn't clean properly.  There are some items that are normal wear and tear, like carpet cleaning, fresh paint, etc.

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« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 07:27:36 AM by Papa bear »

grantmeaname

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2015, 07:24:18 AM »
Charging for cleaning.

Papa bear

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2015, 07:32:51 AM »

Charging for cleaning.

5321.16 Procedures for security deposits.
(A) Any security deposit in excess of fifty dollars or one month's periodic rent, whichever is greater, shall bear interest on the excess at the rate of five per cent per annum if the tenant remains in possession of the premises for six months or more, and shall be computed and paid annually by the landlord to the tenant.

(B) Upon termination of the rental agreement any property or money held by the landlord as a security deposit may be applied to the payment of past due rent and to the payment of the amount of damages that the landlord has suffered by reason of the tenant's noncompliance with section 5321.05 of the Revised Code or the rental agreement. Any deduction from the security deposit shall be itemized and identified by the landlord in a written notice delivered to the tenant together with the amount due, within thirty days after termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession. The tenant shall provide the landlord in writing with a forwarding address or new address to which the written notice and amount due from the landlord may be sent. If the tenant fails to provide the landlord with the forwarding or new address as required, the tenant shall not be entitled to damages or attorneys fees under division (C) of this section.

(C) If the landlord fails to comply with division (B) of this section, the tenant may recover the property and money due him, together with damages in an amount equal to the amount wrongfully withheld, and reasonable attorneys fees.

Effective Date: 11-04-1974

Per Ohio revised code. Section 5321.05 gives the duties of the tenant, including keeping property in good, clean, and sanitary conditions.

So in Ohio, yes, I'm charging for cleaning.


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grantmeaname

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2015, 07:53:26 AM »
The issue has been litigated over and over again and I understand from my attorney that courts have never upheld the right of the landlord to charge tenants for cleaning, which is considered to be part of the ordinary wear and tear on the apartment. The student legal services at my university spent a whole season representing tenants against landlords over this issues because deducting cleaning expenses is such a common practice. The guide published by the legal aid society says the same thing.

You're paraphrasing 5321.05 pretty badly. Here's what it says, excerpting the relevant bits:
Quote from: ORC 5321.05(A)
(A) A tenant who is a party to a rental agreement shall do all of the following:
(1) Keep that part of the premises that he occupies and uses safe and sanitary;
(2) Dispose of all rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean, safe, and sanitary manner;
(3) Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by him as clean as their condition permits;
(4) Use and operate all electrical and plumbing fixtures properly;
(5) Comply with the requirements imposed on tenants by all applicable state and local housing, health, and safety codes;
(6) Personally refrain and forbid any other person who is on the premises with his permission from intentionally or negligently destroying, defacing, damaging, or removing any fixture, appliance, or other part of the premises;
(7) Maintain in good working order and condition any range, refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, or other appliances supplied by the landlord and required to be maintained by the tenant under the terms and conditions of a written rental agreement;
The requirement is "safe and sanitary" only for the premises other than garbage and plumbing fixtures, which must also be clean. If there's dust on the floor in the corner of the room, the floor is still safe and sanitary; the tenant is not violating housing, health, or safety codes; and so the landlord can't take the fees for cleaning out of the security deposit.

(My last landlord was a scumbag piece of shit and tried to deduct for cleaning, and my attorney sent him a letter explaining this to him and he relented. He rents to hundreds of tenants and gets 10 or 15 of those letters every year, knowing he'll get away with charging the other 90% for it. I'm sure it wasn't an accident. I'm not saying that all Ohio landlords who deduct for cleaning are beings of his moral caliber - he's just why I know this issue as it applies here forward and backward.)

ETA: Of course you should clean your place out when you move out. Our place was pristine and we could document it as such, which is why I wasn't about to accept $900 of cleaning fees. I'm moving out of my current house of three years later this week and it'll be spotless, because it's the right thing to do (and we'd like to have a positive reference, of course).

ETA2: You'll notice that 5321.04 has the same language for the landlord's responsibility with regards to a common area. If I live in an apartment building and spot dust in the corner of the hallway, and the landlord doesn't sweep it up, that's sure not grounds for me to start paying my rent into an escrow account.
Quote from: ORC 5321.04
(3) Keep all common areas of the premises in a safe and sanitary condition.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 07:59:45 AM by grantmeaname »

BlueHouse

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Re: Move out cleaning bill question
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2015, 08:57:37 PM »
You're getting screwed. I've never been charged for cleaning.  Granted, I leave the place looking pretty good, but I never "clean" before I leave. I sweep or vacuum, but I don't scrub anything other than the neat and clean way I normally keep house. Once I left an apartment and told the company that I didn't expect any of my deposit back because I dropped a pallet of oil paints on the carpet. A few weeks later they told me the cleaning company was able to get the paint out so I would get the entire deposit back. Shocker!