Can Landlord Charge for Deep Clean

Landlords are allowed to charge a fee for deep cleaning services if it’s stated in the lease agreement or if the tenant caused excessive damage or dirt beyond normal wear and tear. A deep clean usually involves tasks that go beyond the tenant’s regular cleaning responsibilities, such as cleaning carpets, scrubbing ovens, and wiping down windows. The cost of the deep clean should be reasonable and reflect the actual costs incurred by the landlord, including labor and materials. Tenants should always refer to their lease agreement and communicate with their landlord regarding any cleaning fees or charges.

Assessing the Difference Between Regular Cleaning and Deep Cleaning

Understanding the distinction between regular cleaning and deep cleaning is crucial when determining whether a landlord can charge for a deep clean. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences:

  • Regular Cleaning:
    • Focuses on maintaining a clean and sanitary living environment.
    • Typically involves tasks like sweeping, mopping, dusting, and wiping surfaces.
    • Aims to remove dirt, dust, and debris from commonly used areas.
    • Usually performed more frequently, such as weekly or biweekly.
  • Deep Cleaning:
    • Involves a more thorough and detailed cleaning process.
    • Focuses on removing built-up dirt, grime, and stains from all areas of the property.
    • May include tasks like scrubbing appliances, cleaning carpets, and sanitizing fixtures.
    • Typically performed less frequently, such as once or twice a year.

Determining Landlord’s Right to Charge for Deep Cleaning

The legality of a landlord charging for deep cleaning depends on various factors, including:

  • Lease Agreement:
    • Review the lease agreement to check for any clauses related to cleaning responsibilities.
    • Some leases may specify that the tenant is responsible for deep cleaning before vacating the property.
  • Local Laws and Regulations:
    • Check local laws and regulations regarding landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities.
    • In some jurisdictions, landlords may be prohibited from charging tenants for deep cleaning.
  • Prior Notice and Consent:
    • Landlords typically need to provide prior notice to tenants before conducting a deep clean.
    • Tenants should be given the opportunity to object or negotiate the terms of the deep clean.
  • Reasonableness of Charges:
    • Landlords should charge reasonable fees for deep cleaning services.
    • Excessive or inflated charges may be considered unfair and could be challenged by tenants.

Table Summarizing Key Points

CharacteristicRegular CleaningDeep Cleaning
FocusMaintaining cleanlinessRemoving built-up dirt and stains
TasksSweeping, mopping, dusting, wipingScrubbing appliances, cleaning carpets, sanitizing fixtures
FrequencyWeekly or biweeklyOnce or twice a year

State Laws and Local Ordinances on Security Deposits and Cleaning Charges

State laws and local ordinances govern the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants regarding security deposits and cleaning charges. These regulations vary from one jurisdiction to another, but there are some general principles that apply in most places.

Security Deposits

Security deposits are typically required by landlords to cover potential expenses such as unpaid rent, damage to the property, or excessive cleaning costs. The amount of the security deposit is usually limited by law. In some jurisdictions, there is a specific limit on the amount that can be charged, while in others, the limit is based on a percentage of the monthly rent.

Landlords are generally required to return the security deposit to the tenant within a reasonable time after the tenant vacates the property. The landlord may deduct from the security deposit any amounts that are owed for unpaid rent, damage to the property, or excessive cleaning costs. The landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized statement of any deductions made from the security deposit.

Cleaning Charges

Landlords are generally responsible for cleaning the property before a new tenant moves in. However, landlords may be able to charge tenants for excessive cleaning costs if the property is left in an unusually dirty condition.

What constitutes excessive cleaning costs is often a matter of dispute between landlords and tenants. In some cases, the issue may be resolved through negotiation. In other cases, it may be necessary to go to court to determine who is responsible for the cleaning costs.

Local Ordinances

In addition to state laws, there may also be local ordinances that govern security deposits and cleaning charges. These ordinances can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another. It is important for landlords and tenants to be aware of the local ordinances that apply in their area.

Avoiding Disputes

The best way to avoid disputes over security deposits and cleaning charges is to communicate clearly and in writing. Landlords should provide tenants with a written lease agreement that outlines the terms of the tenancy, including the amount of the security deposit and the conditions under which it can be deducted. Tenants should read the lease agreement carefully and ask questions if they do not understand anything.

When a tenant vacates the property, the landlord should inspect the property and provide the tenant with an itemized statement of any deductions made from the security deposit. The tenant should review the statement carefully and contact the landlord if they have any questions.

StateSecurity Deposit LimitTime to Return DepositDeductions Allowed
California2 months’ rent21 daysUnpaid rent, damage to property, excessive cleaning costs
New York1 month’s rent14 daysUnpaid rent, damage to property, excessive cleaning costs
TexasNo limit30 daysUnpaid rent, damage to property, excessive cleaning costs

Documenting Damages and Cleaning Needs

When a tenant moves out, it’s important for the landlord to inspect the property for any damages or cleaning needs. This documentation will help the landlord determine whether or not to charge the tenant for a deep clean.

Photos, Videos, and Written Records

The best way to document damages and cleaning needs is to take photos, videos, and written records. Photos and videos can show the extent of the damage or dirt, while written records can provide a detailed description of the problem.


  • Take clear and well-lit photos of any damages or cleaning needs.
  • Make sure to take photos from different angles and distances.
  • Label the photos with the date, time, and location of the damage or cleaning need.


  • Take videos of any damages or cleaning needs that are difficult to capture in photos.
  • Make sure to narrate the videos and point out the specific damages or cleaning needs.
  • Label the videos with the date, time, and location of the damage or cleaning need.

Written Records

  • Create a written record of any damages or cleaning needs that you find during the inspection.
  • Include the date, time, and location of the damage or cleaning need.
  • Describe the damage or cleaning need in detail.

Using Documentation to Determine Charges

Once you have documented the damages and cleaning needs, you can use this information to determine whether or not to charge the tenant for a deep clean.

Damage or Cleaning NeedCharge
Minor damage (e.g., scuff marks on walls)No charge
Moderate damage (e.g., holes in walls, broken appliances)Charge for repairs
Severe damage (e.g., flooding, fire damage)Charge for repairs and cleaning
Excessive dirt and grimeCharge for cleaning

When determining the amount of the charge, you should consider the following factors:

  • The severity of the damage or cleaning need
  • The cost of repairs or cleaning
  • The tenant’s lease agreement
  • Local laws and regulations

Negotiating Cleaning Costs

Engage in open communication with your landlord to discuss the cleaning costs. Be respectful and professional, presenting your perspective clearly and concisely. Politely request an itemized list of the cleaning charges to ensure transparency. If the landlord appears receptive, attempt to negotiate a reasonable cleaning cost that aligns with the actual expenses incurred. Consider proposing to complete some of the cleaning tasks yourself to reduce the overall cost.

If you have difficulty reaching an agreement, consider the following strategies:

  • Research local cleaning rates: Gather information about average cleaning costs in your area. Utilize online resources, testimonials, and references to obtain a comprehensive understanding of fair pricing.
  • Document the property’s condition: Upon moving out, thoroughly inspect the property and document any pre-existing issues or damages. Provide detailed descriptions, photographic evidence, and any supporting documentation to validate your claims.
  • Consult your lease agreement: Carefully review the terms and conditions outlined in your lease. Determine whether specific cleaning stipulations are included. If the lease remains ambiguous regarding cleaning responsibilities, use this as leverage during negotiations.

Seeking Mediation or Arbitration

Should negotiations with your landlord prove unsuccessful, consider exploring alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve the cleaning cost dispute amicably and efficiently.

MediationA neutral third party, known as a mediator, facilitates a structured discussion between you and your landlord. The mediator guides the conversation, encourages open communication, and assists in finding a mutually acceptable solution.
  • Cost-effective
  • Preserves the landlord-tenant relationship
  • Promotes amicable resolution
  • Lack of binding outcome
  • Can be time-consuming
  • Unsatisfactory resolution is still possible
ArbitrationAn impartial arbitrator hears evidence and arguments from both parties and makes a binding decision on the dispute. Arbitration is typically more formal than mediation.
  • Binding outcome
  • Final resolution of the dispute
  • Enforceable by law
  • Costlier than mediation
  • Less control over the outcome
  • Arbitrator’s decision may not be satisfactory

When considering mediation or arbitration, keep in mind that both options typically involve sharing the associated costs with your landlord.

Well, there you have it, folks! The nitty-gritty details of whether or not landlords can charge for a deep clean when you move out. Remember, every situation is different, so it’s always best to check your lease agreement or have a chat with your landlord to see what the deal is. Thanks for hanging out with me today. I hope you found this article informative and entertaining. If you have any more burning questions about the intricacies of landlord-tenant relationships, be sure to swing by again sometime. I’m always happy to dig into the legal weeds and bring you the answers you need to navigate the wild world of renting. Until next time, keep your spaces clean and your rights protected. Cheers!