Can my landlord tell me not to be messy?


One of the provisions in the lease agreement is that the tenant must take care of the apartment and keep it clean. By signing the lease agreement, that means you agree to all the provisions included in the document. So by keeping the apartment clean, does that mean it has to be spotless too?

Here are some of the more popular answers to this question:

-          Keeping the apartment spotless is different from keeping it clean. You can have piles of books or clothes everywhere but that doesn’t mean the place is dirty. Basically, the lease agreement tells you to keep the place habitable.

What makes an apartment too dirty to become uninhabitable? Here are some examples:

  • Dried food and dirty dishes piled on the sink
  • The bathtub, countertops, stove and sink are already black with dirt
  • A smell of trash and dirty dishes is all over the apartment
  • The floor hasn’t been washed
  • The carpet hasn’t been vacuumed for months

-          There’s a big difference between messy and destroying the property. So if you’ve been punching walls and breaking things, you’re not just messing things up you’re also destroying the property.

-          Live how you please, anyway you are paying your rent. Just make sure that you don’t create any health issues that might affect your other neighbors. Also, make sure that you clean the apartment or have it professionally cleaned by the time you move out.


Can my landlord do mess inspections?

Well, your landlord can legally do inspections as long as there 24-hour notices are sent out. He can come in to check on smoke detectors, plumbing, windows, cracks and so on. There are landlords that are very proactive when it comes to inspections because they don’t want any minor repair and become major.

Mess inspections could be health inspections if there were complaints coming from your neighbors about smell or rodents coming from your apartment. You would need to check your lease agreement and your state tenant laws regarding mess inspections.

When should you file a complaint?

You need to file for a complaint against your landlord if you experience any or all of the following:

  • The landlord forces you to pick your things up. He’s your landlord, not your mother. As long as you do not damage the rental property, you should be fine.
  • Your landlord evicts you for being messy. (This has to be stated in the lease agreement or in the state tenant laws to be legal)
  • If your landlord enters your property without a 24-hour notice and it’s not an emergency.

You can file your complaint with the RPA by filling out the form found in this link:

Edited on: Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 9:45 pm
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