"Cleaning Reimbursement" to seller's agent...

5 Replies

So I bought a condo about a month and a half ago...something has been bothering me though.

The seller's agent somehow snuck in a $200 "cleaning reimbursement" on the HUD document that I don't recall ever agreeing to. I didn't notice it until after closing.

When I moved in, the floor was super grimy. The toilet had been used and was not flushed and stunk up the whole bathroom. It was definitely not "cleaned" since the time of my tour and closing, just the staging furniture was removed.

I realize $200 is not much compared to the rest of the closing costs, but I find it pretty unethical to be charged for a "cleaning" that clearly never took place.

I tried to do a search on "cleaning reimbursement" fees and couldn't find anything, which leads me to believe this is just a BS charge so the seller's agent could pocket an extra couple hundred bucks or so.

How would you handle this situation? I know it's tempting to say "let it go" but unless I can determine this charge is totally standard (which I don't believe it is) I'm not the type of person to let something like this go, regardless of amount.

Any advice would be appreciated.

It is a BS charge. For $200 it's probably best to let it go.

However sometimes I know the feeling. You got ripped off and don't want to let it go. If you want to pursue it, you could call the agent and the title company and mention RESPA. RESPA says a charge cannot be added to settlement costs when a service was not provided. The title company will not want a complaint against them and the agent will not either. RESPA violations are serious business and the title company would have some liability for adding a bogus charge.

The agent has their license at risk. I wouldn't hesitate to threaten to go to the real estate commission. In MD (and probably in DC) the agent didn't represent you, the broker did. The broker and the agent would both be responsible to you. Good luck and let us know what you choose to do. - Ned

Thanks so much for the informative response, Ned.

I've not heard of RESPA before, good to know there are already protections in place for this sort of thing.

Also interesting that you mention the title company is also liable. One thing I didn't mention (since I didn't think it was relevant at first) is that the title company was insisted upon on the seller's side. Which may explain why they let this slip through?

It's really amazing that people would risk things like licenses over 200 bucks, but I guess they just hope that nobody really pursues these sorts of things further.

That 200 bucks done 5 or 6 times a week can add up real quick

Maybe a dumb question, but you're sure it wasn't on the seller's side? That would make more sense.

@Wayne Brooks Not a dumb question at all. I just double checked the document, and the funds for the "cleaning reimbursement" were in fact in the far right column (aka paid from seller's funds at settlement).

The property still didn't seem very "clean" but that must be something between the seller and his agent and not my problem. Wasn't really expecting it to be clean anyway (although I would if I was actually charged for it).

Sorry for wasting everyone's time on this, should've confirmed before I posted this but at least I learned a few things (and possibly more importantly, didn't unnecessarily lash out at the seller's agent/title company for something that I was wrong about). So really glad I came here first!

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