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Can a Landlord Tell You How Clean to Keep Your House?

As a tenant, you will want to maintain a good relationship with your landlord. The same is true for your landlord – they will want to maintain a good relationship with you. One factor that can affect the tenant/landlord relationship is the state of the leased property. Given that it’s not always easy to maintain an immaculate house if you have your hands full with other tasks, it is very easy for the state of the home to become an issue for your landlord. 

In a situation like this, you might start undertaking research into the question ‘can your landlord tell you how clean to keep your house?’ If you were looking for answers to this, this blog post will provide a detailed answer and also cover what rights tenants and landlords have.

Can the Landlord Evict You For Having a Dirty House?

Here is a short and quick answer to the question ‘can the landlord evict you for having a dirty house?’ The fact is – they can. A landlord can evict a tenant if the house remains in an unclean state. A landlord is within their rights to issue notices to tenants informing them to clean the home. If you are in breach of this notice as a tenant, landlords can evict you and will be acting within the law.

For this reason, regular upkeep and cleaning is recommended for the duration of the tenancy. And as a tenant, keep in mind that it’s crucial to thoroughly read the landlord’s lease agreement, as this will include all of the requirements you will have to follow throughout the tenancy.  

What is Considered a Dirty or ‘Unclean’ House?

Even though the concept of an ‘unclean’ house is subjective to the landlord and the tenant, you will find that various things can count as a breach of the tenant lease. Some of the main factors that are classed as a breach of the cleanliness clause and contribute to an unclean house include the following.


You might receive notice from your landlord related to clutter. This might relate to having various unneeded items around the leased property, which might include plastic bottles or stacks of junk mail lying around the property. As these types of clutter can cause dust to gather around the property, it is important that you remove them.


Mold is an example of another potential breach of a tenancy lease. This is not only limited to food products that might have expired, but it also applies to the bathroom walls, where mould can develop as a result of a lack of cleaning. Ensure that your food is correctly stored in the right places, which will ensure your home smells pleasant, and that you regularly clean the bathroom to avoid the accumulation of mold.

Unpleasant Smell

Unpleasant smells can come from food that is not cleared out or discarded in a timely manner. Not only are these smells unpleasant, they can also cause respiratory problems and can be a health hazard for you and other tenants who might be sharing the property. Regularly checking the fridge to dispose of items that have gone bad is essential to avoid breaching your tenancy agreement.

Toxic, Flammable or Explosive Chemicals Uncared For

It’s never recommended to leave toxic, flammable or explosive chemicals uncared for in the property. This can cause a risk to your health and those who might also live in the same property as you – as they are also a fire hazard. It is advised that you correctly discard any of these chemicals for your own safety and to avoid violating the tenancy agreement you have with your landlord.

Infestation of Rodents

Rodents are typically attracted to food products that are not correctly disposed of, or food that is not correctly stored. You might find that these rodents can spread to other properties in the same area. For this reason you should always put food items that you wish to keep into a sealed food storage box and dispose of the food that might have expired.

Overstayed Garbage

If you haven’t thrown out the garbage and it has remained in the property for more than one week, you could be breaching your tenancy agreement. Garbage can attract vermin, emit unpleasant odours, and can be a fire hazard. and cause respiratory problems for you. Regular disposal of the garbage is therefore very important.

Blocked Sewer System

If your plumbing has become blocked it is your responsibility to clear the waste. Landlords can instruct you to clean this and would be within their rights. This extends to blocked sewer systems drains or plumbing located in the bathroom.

Tenancy Regulations

As landlords are responsible for minor repairs of damage done to the property they are within their rights to give instructions as to how you should maintain the property. The tenancy regulations safeguard you as a tenant, meaning that both tenant and landlord are protected. 

Before you are leased a property, it is critical that you read the lease agreement in detail. It will stipulate the conditions and specific rules for the lease. In the lease, the landlord will have to be specific when detailing what they expect from you as a tenant. They will also include a cleanliness clause within the lease, which is important as it will detail exactly what they expect from you in terms of your cleaning responsibilities.

Cleanliness Clause

The cleanliness clause is a specific section within the lease agreement that goes through the expectations of the tenant with regards to cleanliness. You can expect that the items detailed in the cleanliness clause are backed up by the state rental laws of the local area. These are some of the details you might notice in the cleanliness clause, which is meant to tell you how clean the rental should be.

Trash Day

You can expect to see a trash day subsection in the cleanliness clause. In this subsection, your landlord will mention that you will have one particular day per week as a minimum to clean and dispose of the trash. 

Pest Control

Maintaining a property as a tenant will include pest control. You will need to examine the property on a regular basis to ensure that the property is a clean house and pest free. In the event there are pests, you will need to discuss with your landlord about who will have to pay the costs to get rid of them.


Regular inspections from most landlords are also to be expected, which will be stipulated in the cleanliness clause. One thing to bear in mind as a tenant is that landlords must give notice before inspecting the property in line with a cleanliness clause. Without notice, you are within your rights to refuse the entry of the landlord.

State of the Property

Upkeeping the property and keeping the rental clean as a tenant is a requirement that you will also find in the cleanliness clause. It often states that you can potentially be denied a refund of your security deposit by the property owners if you fail to maintain the state of the property. 

As well as losing your security deposit, you may also find yourself having to pay more money for the damage done to the property if you don’t keep the property clean and damage free throughout the entire tenancy.

Areas to Clean and Maintain

In the cleanliness clause, you will find the exact areas of the property that should be cleaned and maintained. This will be stipulated by the landlord, making your responsibilities clear and ensuring the property or rented apartment is well maintained. It will tell you how clean it should be and helps tenants understand what is expected of them.

Cleaning Service while Relocating

If you intend to relocate from the property, or if you have to go through an eviction process, your landlord might ask that you pay for the cleaning process and the repairs before new tenants arrive. Your payment will go towards the professionals the landlord will hire to clean the entire property for the final time. This is another factor that will be included in the cleanliness clause, so consult your tenancy agreement for more details. 

Tenant Rights 

Unfortunately, it is a known fact that many tenants go through unfair treatment at the hands of their landlord. There have been many cases where tenants have been threatened and/or have had their rights abused. For this reason, knowing your rights as a tenant is important. Here are your rights as a tenant.

Policy of Privacy 

Even though the landlord is the property owner, they will need to give you notice if they wish to access your home for an inspection. This notice should be given at a minimum of two days in advance. 

Copy of the Lease

You should be given a copy of the lease agreement and your landlord should also have a copy to ensure that each of you is aware how to handle any complications that arise with the property. The copy of the lease contract that you sign will help settle any disagreements and should be presented to legal professionals to sort out the problems.


Keeping your house clean as a tenant is not only beneficial for your landlord, it is also important for your health. Though you might have limited time to allocate to cleaning, and although cleanliness is subjective, your tenancy agreement will stipulate that regular cleaning is obligatory. 

You should always make sure that you carefully read the tenancy agreement before accepting the lease. This will ensure you are fully aware of which areas you will need to keep clean and tell you how clean it should be.

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