TOPIC: Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter!

Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7949

We all experience this at some point. Our company has an actual 21/30 housekeeping letter. Our philosophy is; we provide you with a beautiful clean apartment and we expect you to maintain it as such. I have had success in calling in non-profits as Johnny suggested for my senior or disabled residents; others I'm not so charitable with. If there is a housekeeping issue that leads to pest issues then I will charge the cost of pest control back to the resident, I make them aware of this on my first inspection. Maintenance is in each unit at least quarterly and I as the manager enter them twice a year. I rely heavily on my maintenance team to inform me of any issues that may be getting out of hand so we can catch it before the problem gets too bad.
If you are drafting your own letter I would suggest making it short and to the point. Quote the section of your lease that addresses the issue and give a definite follow-up date and clearly outline what will happen if they do not comply.
Good luck, I know this can be a touchy situation, but we have an obligation to the owners of the community as well as to the neighbors who may be inconvenienced by some else’s lack of housekeeping.

Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7966

I have had this situation. Here is the wording of the letter I use.

Dear Resident:

This notice is to inform you that management has found the conditions of your apartment to be unacceptable. Per your Rental Agreement, we have the right to expect good housekeeping. In addition, we reserve the right to determine what kind of housekeeping we will permit on the premises.

Just as we have responsibility to provide you with clean common areas and decent housing, you have the responsibility to keep your home in a clean, orderly manner. An apartment in the condition of yours may cause unwanted sanitation and maintenance problems.

At this time, you are being given notice to clean your apartment and keep it clean and orderly.

Management will be in your suite July 17, 2006 to re-inspect. If your suite is not clean, we will be forced to act upon the violation of the terms and conditions of your rental agreement.

Please work with us regarding this issue. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated.

  • Mary
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Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7967

Please understand that this is not YOUR responsiblity to contact anyone to have the apartment cleaned! In fact by doing so you can be breaking Fair Housing Laws. You need to treat everyone equally including those with a disability. Now once the letter goes out and they state it is because they cannot physically clean their unit than you may suggest agencies for THEM to contact.

Secondly, roaches usually LOVE clean apartments and normally don't come from messy apartments although messy apartments don't make them want to leave faster... The most common cause of roaches are from NEW residents bringing them from their old places. Roaches love boxes and usually hatch eggs there which is why those that shop at discount stores like Aldi's etc are at a higher risk of bringing back roaches because they use the store boxes to transport the food. Which an exterminator can give you information on roaches when they come out and spray. Heres's a great article to read about roaches

Before you write the letter you need to determine if the apartment is unclean or is it just cluttered. If it is unclean this can be a health issue and sanitary issue. If it is just cluttered this could be deamed a fire hazard and you should write your letter accordingly. Your first letter should be notification that you were recently in the apartment (state the dates) and you noted that their apartment was not kept in the standards your community requires per their lease. State specifically what was found IE: Open food containers in the kitchen, an accumilation of dirty dishes, etc. The next paragraph should consists of why this is against your lease (State the section of the lease and type it out) and again go through the bullets above as to how they can rememdy the situation. The final paragraph should state when you will be back in to reinvestigate and give them the option to come to the office to discuss any issues they may have.

I hope this helps... but referring back to your lease keeps it professional and never leave anything up for interpretation be specific and this will help you get your point across... I would not mention anything about the roaches as you have no evidence that they are coming from their apartments.

Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7968

LOVE IT! Thank you so much Mary. ;)
  • Lynne Ligett
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Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7970


I agree with most of what you are saying, but take exception to a couple of issues:

1) I did not indicate that you should make contact with anyone in order to assist with housekeeping issues; simply maintain a few referrals to use when asked.

2) Housekeeping issues do lead to pest control problems (or at the very least exacerbate them). I had a unit that the residents were evicted and left a huge mess that included a clogged kitchen sink and the clog was a mix of mostly cockroach corpses; but some were living. I had another unit that was a hoarder and she left behind a huge bedbug issue (which was the cause of the action that she denied) that we could not treat until we had to hire a hauling company to remove the belongings she left behind. Incidentally; I lived on property (My housekeeping was immaculate) and I was there more than 1 year. In the time I lived there; I saw 3 cockroaches in my unit.

Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7971

I had a property that had a few residents with this issue. It is certainly wise to quote the lease in your letter and then follow-up to see if the residents are doing their job. Some residents are willing and able and some are may find you have to evict to actually save the residents who abide by the lease. I have evicted residents who do not abide by the lease and present a health hazard to other residents because they cannot get rid of the bugs. I've also saved an immigrant resident who didn't understand that keeping lamb under the kitchen sink until it ripens is not a good idea. :-)......after I explained the German roach issue to him he caught on quick and never had a bug again. I've found this to be a "personal" issue with some folks....with the laws being what they are I have found most Judges will not abide someone who doesn't work hard enough to rid his apt of roaches in conjunction with the exterminator and will 100% of the time back your legal position. It costs money in the short term but makes you money in the long term.

Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7972

Leases provide the best way to manage these situations. Having multiple written policies also helps. To ensure that the responsibility is upon the tenant, it needs to be in the Lease Contract, as well as the Community Rules and Policies/Regulations. Also, as a Health and Safety measure, review the Property code for your State. If you're still not sure what action you can legally take, contact your city's Health Inspector.
As for the letter, it needs to be clear, concise and point out each infraction/violation. I use a preset form for Lease Violations, provided by my State's Apartment Associaiton (Texas). Additional remedies which may be outlined in a general Lease cover cleaning and repair costs. If you are a member of a Local Apartment Association, use the network of industry professionals to submit your query and see what other responses you receive.
Lastly, remove emotion in anything you compose. Remember, "ALL CAPS" is the equilivant of Shouting or Yelling at a person. Other useful tools include Bold lettering to emphasize the seriousness, italics to emphasize urgency or an imperative matter, and underlining, to control or effect a lasting impression. Use simple, common language, and offer to help; yes, I know that will be difficult, but in some cases, it makes all the difference.
  • Jessica Tinker
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Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7974

Hi Lynne,

I will upload my housekeeping letter to the file bank. But here is what it says:


Resident Name

Dear __________,

Per the rental agreement at (fill in your community’s name), “all residents must keep their apartments in clean, sanitary, and free of any accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, and garbage and to dispose of the same in a proper manner”.

During my annual inspection of your apartment on (fill in date), I found the following items to be in unsanitary condition:

Please take any necessary measures to get your apartment home back in clean and sanitary condition. I will be back to re-inspect your apartment on (fill in date).

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Your Name
Your Community’s Name
Your phone number
Your email address

I also have Housekeeping guidelines that I give out to residents who may just need some education on what to do.

Housekeeping Guidelines

-Clean inside, behind, under and around all appliances
-Clean oven inside and out, including knobs/buttons
-Clean range hood and filter, drips pans and coils
-Clean refrigerator, inside and out
-Clean cabinets, inside and out
-Clean breadboard, counters, and keep free of debri
-Clean dishwasher inside and out
-Clean sink, faucet, and under sink
-Clean floor and cove base, sweep and mop

-Clean toilet inside and out
-Clean shower and tub
-Clean medicine cabinet and mirror
-Clean sink and faucets
-Remove all mildew, wash walls
-Sweep and mop floors,
-Clean cabinets and cove base

-Clean entrance door and threshold
-Clean all windows, sills, and tracks
-Clean closets, shelves, and switch plates
-Sweep and mop floors, vacuum carpets
-Clean marks off walls, sweep patio
-Remove cobwebs & wash light fixtures.
-Remove unused tacks and nails from walls and fill holes

Good Luck!
  • Rose M
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Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7976

Johnny... I am sorry but how I read it made it sounded like that it was her job to aid these slobs in cleaning their apartments and I was just expressing that if you are not going to help a college kid who hasn't lived away from mommy before do his laundry or his dishes then it's not right to help the disabled person.. it's fair housing... she isn't a social worker or a conceirge service and by crossing that line can cause her a fair housing suit. In response to cockroaches I am only advising from classes I have taken on pest control. Bed bugs unfortunately are in a class all their own and I was not referring to bed bugs... I was only clarifying that housekeeping alone does not constitute a roach infestation as roaches can enter the cleaniest of homes.

Re:Dirty, sloppy, unclean tenants- I need a letter! 9 years 5 months ago #7979

Pull the direct provision in your lease and/or rules and regs. Quote only that. If you have to go to court, that is what the judge will move forward on...what's in writing.

"Dear Resindent, as per section 2 rule 5 of your lease states "Tenenat shall blah blah blah be responsible to clean..." and so forth.

Do not give your opinion, only the facts.

Good luck. Oh, and don't be afraid to call the health dept on them once you have served them notice.

  • Michael in Vegas
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