I purchased an 8 unit last month. In 1 of the units, the tenant has been there since 2001. Her kitchen walls and ceiling are orange from grease splatter. I'd really like this cleaned up.
Who is responsible for that? Could I require her to clean this up? Should I just have it cleaned? It looks terrible and is a fire hazard.
What does the lease say? Most of them that I have seen have some language that says the tenant is expected to keep the place clean.
You can probably ask the tenant to clean it up; give them some kind of time frame to do so (like, a couple of weeks). If it's not cleaned up by then, hire a cleaning service to come in and clean it. Your lease probably lets you charge that back to the tenant - either on the next month's rent, or out of the security deposit - but check it to be sure.
I think you should first try to build a good relationship with the tenants, they should feel that you care about them, and then ask to have it cleaned.
Tenants who lives at one place 18 years might get a little upset when a new owner tells them what to do, even if they are 100% wrong.
Good luck with your new purchase.
You should definitely check your lease and I think it should be your tenant's responsibility to clean that up before you do the move-out inspection. If you still need to call cleaning service after that inspection, I guess you should charge the fee from tenant's deposit.
I think that's a really good point, and one that I had considered. I met with her once and we talked about some repairs that I'll be doing for her. While those repairs are taking place I'll probably mention the grease mess and ask if she could take care of it.
I wonder if this would be considered normal wear and tear.
It's certainly preventable... by sticking saran wrap on the walls, and cleaning regularly.
One thing to consider... do you have a stove hood exhaust fan? is it powerful enough?
If all the cooking oils and smells are getting on the walls, you can blame the exhaust fan.
Grease is usually easy to clean up. Purple Power is super cheap and very effective at degreasing. If the walls are semigloss paint, spray it on at half concentration, and wipe promptly. It's sodium hydroxide, so it's not powerful, but not weak either.