To Clean or Not to Clean Before a Major Reno

8 Replies

A tenant who leased her unit for over ten years recently passed away - the unit is in horrid condition. By horrid I mean that one of the extra bedrooms served as a puppy pen and now has a foot or two of poop on top of carpet and ripped pillows. The poop has since been strewn throughout the house.

Now, I am eager to get started on renovating this property but before I do, I felt it necessary to hire a professional cleaning company with the goal of making the unit a safe working space. 

My mom, who has owned rental properties of her own for 20+ years, says paying a cleaning company is a waste of money given the scope of work on the rehab. 

What are your thoughts? Would you professionally clean the unit before stepping in it?


If you are going to do renos, I'd remove the poop.  If it is that bad, would a cleaning company do it? Otherwise it comes down to how much it will cost, how much time you have and what you need to do.  Cleaning walls for painting and insides of cupboards might be worth it.

Great question - The first cleaning company that came to quote the property told me it was the worst they had ever seen and after talking with the office manager, said the job would be out of their scope of work.

The second company that came out also said it was the worst unit they had ever seen, but were happy to take the job. 

@Vega F.

I’ve bought some horrible foreclosed buildings.  Tear out the carpet and remove the poop and air out the unit.  That’s it.  If your doing substantial rehab, I agree with Mom save your money.

I appreciate the input from everyone! I’m going to scale the initial clean down to a disinfectant job then do the rest ourselves. 

Thank you!

Originally posted by @Vega F. :

I appreciate the input from everyone! I’m going to scale the initial clean down to a disinfectant job then do the rest ourselves. 

Thank you!

 That's what I would have done only because I wouldn't want to deal with a foot of animal poop.  I don't mind getting my hands dirty, but not with that.

@Vega F.

You’re likely in the realm of disaster restoration from the sounds of it. Cleaning Co isn’t gonna show you with industrial sized garbage cans and shovels and a temporary dumpster. However, I would be clear to whoever you hire, they’re shovelling the turds, maybe tearing up carpet if you want, and airing the place out and that’s all. Let the demo crew do the rest (& likely carpet tear down too).

You really don't want a "cleaning company". You need to look up haulers that advertise apartment/foreclosure "trash out" for that kind of work. Get them go go ahead and rip out all the old carpet and fixtures and cabinets and everything you'll be replacing.