Should I be cleaning common areas?

15 Replies

I currently have my first deal under contract (duplex w/ 8 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms). 

I will living on the first floor (bedroom 1 and 2) and renting the other 6 bedrooms by the room. Does anyone have any experience with maintaining the cleanliness of common areas? I understand that the expectation is for tenants to clean up after themselves, but what about periodic deep cleans (ie. scrub bathroom floors, toilets, mop floors, vacuum hallways, etc)?

 Thank you!

@Zach Wright , look into cleaning services. What would it cost to have each unit cleaned 2X/month? Include that cost in the rent. Years ago when I had roommates we did this and it was great. Even if you live with slobs, you're never more than 13 days away from a clean apartment.

@Zach Wright , I agree with @Jaysen Medhurst .

I had a client who owned a college rental that was rented by the room. He lived outside the area, but had a service come in monthly to clean. This not only kept the place clean, but put eyes on the place to let him know if anything was going on he needed to know about.

There should be some basic rules regarding common area use and cleaning. For example, you don't want one tenant to store his collection of 1970's Playboy in the common area where another Tenant may take offense. If Johnny hooks his PS4 to the living room TV, does that mean everyone gets to use it? What happens if you or another tenant find laundry left in the washing machine? Who's cleaning the toilets and where do people store their hair products and why is my conditioner empty after just one week?

I'm sure you can find examples of roommate rules on Google. I also recommend hiring a cleaning service for the common areas and including that cost in with the rent.

@Nathan G.

Nathan these are some issues that I hadn’t considered, but will definitely occur when renting by the room...

Seems like a detailed sheet of expectations would be helpful to provide tenants during the screening process.

Have you had experience included any of these “behavior” clauses in the lease to be explicit? Trying to think about the best way to make clear expectations while being able to hold tenants accountable if there’s an issue.

Thanks

@Zach Wright I'd highly recommend a cleaning service for common areas for your own sanity.. tenants tend to not go out of their way to make YOUR place stay clean. 

Have this cost be passed onto the tenant and bake it into the monthly rent. It's a win-win for everyone that way

Originally posted by @Zach Wright :

Have you had experience included any of these “behavior” clauses in the lease to be explicit? Trying to think about the best way to make clear expectations while being able to hold tenants accountable if there’s an issue.

I would not include all the rules in the lease. They'll get buried and ignored. Instead, my lease would state that tenants are subject to the "House Rules" posted in the common areas. Provide every tenant a copy and post them in a public place so they can always find and reference them. I wouldn't tape them to the fridge but I may tape them inside a kitchen cabinet in a document protector. I would also recommend your lease state that the House Rules are subject to change. If you ever make a change, provide an updated copy to each tenant.

 

Originally posted by @Nathan G. :
Originally posted by @Zach Wright:

Have you had experience included any of these “behavior” clauses in the lease to be explicit? Trying to think about the best way to make clear expectations while being able to hold tenants accountable if there’s an issue.

I would not include all the rules in the lease. They'll get buried and ignored. Instead, my lease would state that tenants are subject to the "House Rules" posted in the common areas. Provide every tenant a copy and post them in a public place so they can always find and reference them. I wouldn't tape them to the fridge but I may tape them inside a kitchen cabinet in a document protector. I would also recommend your lease state that the House Rules are subject to change. If you ever make a change, provide an updated copy to each tenant.

 

 I dont know if that rules list is real or not but it has me cackling lke a madman here at work. There are tenants out there that are indeed that crazy. Source: My time as an active duty sailor living in the barracks.

@Zach Wright you are sure to have a couple slobs in the group so some will not pull their weight keeping it clean. Everyone has different standards of clean. The risk you run is alienating the clean people. For that reason, have a cleaning service come regularly. 

Yes, have house rules and expect people to clean up, but still have the cleaning service to make sure regular cleaning occurs. Don't do it yourself, so you stay out of the "was it clean enough" argument. If it is professionally cleaned, there is no debate.

@Zach Wright

I am a landlord for 11uts in NC, Charlotte, the law in NC is landlord will take care of all outside stuff and renter will take care of what is inside their units, but it is a different story when they they trash your property, make sure in your rental agreement you cover the whole gammot of what your renter's responsibility and landlord responsibility. Lastly, know your State Renta law. Hope this help. And good luck.

The lawn is probably a common area too. Who's going to mow it? That's how you have to think of common areas. No one is going to clean up someone else's mess, let alone their own. 

Definitely get a cleaning service for the common areas, I own student rentals and make sure to get deep cleaning done every other month. Helps keep the current tenants there longer and easier to find new ones when rooms open up.

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