Do Landlords Have to Clean Between Tenants In Illinois?
So, Do Landlords Have to Clean Between Tenants?
Before the tenant turns in his or her keys for the final time, it's important that they ensure the property is in good condition as part of their tenant cleaning responsibilities. Property management is a complex process. It's standard to expect (and outlined by the Illinois Attorney General) that the previous tenant will go through the property and clean it when they leave so it is in an acceptable condition. On top of this, it is ultimately the landlord's responsibility to thoroughly clean the apartment unit before the new tenant moves in.
Consider the fact that a new tenant will be moving in soon. They are not responsible for cleaning up after the previous tenant. In the case that the property is left in poor condition, it is up to the landlord to rise to the occasion to ensure that the property is in better shape before the new tenant arrives.
Landlord Cleaning Responsibilities
The landlord has the obligation to provide the new tenant with a rental property that is safe and in livable condition regardless of how previous tenants may have left it. So does a landlord have to clean between tenants? Before entering a new lease agreement, they should ensure the following:
- All the appliances and heating/cooling systems are in working order and properly installed.
- The apartment has proper locks. It is a good idea for the landlord to change them for extra safety between renter moves.
- There should be no safety hazard (i.e. the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order, and the apartment satisfies local regulations for fire and emergency exits). As a general rule, the house should always comply with local health and housing codes, and the landlord should stay informed of any changes.
- Although the previous tenants are expected to leave the property in broom-clean condition when they move if they want their security deposit back, it is a good idea to have the apartment professionally cleaned before new tenants move in.
The landlord is also responsible for cleaning common areas and must ensure that all the accesses to the property are in good shape.
The landlord or the property manager should always inspect the apartment when the previous tenants leave and when the new tenants move in to ensure that everybody is on the same page. It is also a good idea to take pictures or a video to refer to if any issues come up down the road. Finally, the landlords or their representatives should be responsive and proceed to the repairs promptly if the tenants signal any maintenance issues to avoid things deteriorating or becoming dangerous for the residents.
Tenants Cleaning Responsibilities
Although the landlords have their share of responsibilities when it comes to cleanliness and safety in the property, so do the tenants.
- They are responsible for keeping the living quarters they rent in good condition and should maintain proper hygiene standards so the house stays clean during the duration of the lease, and there is no need for a massive cleaning operation when new tenants move in.
- They should take out the garbage, sweep and mop the floors, and clean appliances such as the oven and microwave regularly to avoid pest infestation.
- A dirty bathroom can also lead to mold problems that can become a safety issue, so make sure to scrub the soap scum and the toilet often, and always run the ceiling fans when taking a shower or a bath.
- It is also a good idea to clean the walls occasionally to make sure that mold does not set in.
- If you are concerned about the toxicity of certain cleaning products, white vinegar, and baking soda constitute an excellent natural alternative and can help you maintain proper cleanliness standards.
- Finally, always let your landlord know if you notice any issues.
Tips for Cleaning Rental Property Between Tenants
Conduct Proper Move-Out Inspection
If possible, landlords should be present during the tenant move-out process as this is an important time to address damages and imperfections in the unit. By being present during this time, you can avoid paying for any false claims that are submitted in writing.
By being present during this time, the landlord can better determine which repairs for which the tenant is responsible and which repairs they will take on themselves. Make sure to obtain the key sets from the tenant as well.
Keep Photographic Records of Your Property
In the case that you need to defend your position as a landlord, it's ideal that you have photographic records before moving in on hand to use as needed. Even though the tenant has moved out, photos can help you dispute any wrongful claims on their end. While photographs are not the end-all, be-all of proof, they are an excellent tool to keep track of what the property looks like over the period of the leasing.
Paint the Walls If Needed
A fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference to the look and feel of the overall unit. Use the time between tenants to patch any holes and repair any chipped paint. If possible, you should aim to do this at least once a year to maintain the quality of the unit. By keeping up with fresh paint, you appeal to potential tenants and create a more welcoming environment for them.
Clean or Replace Carpet
Cleaning the carpets is another easy way to improve the appeal of your rental unit. The last thing potential tenants want is to take a tour only to see carpet that is old, stained, or gives off a bad odor.
But who pays for carpet cleaning, the tenant or the landlord? The landlord will incur a carpet-cleaning cost when renting out an apartment, so it is ultimately the property owner’s responsibility to take care of standard carpet cleaning. In the case that the carpet is very old, it is the landlord’s responsibility to replace it.
In terms of tenants, it is their responsibility to end their lease with the carpets in the same condition as when they moved in. Normal wear and tear are standard, but any damage that extends beyond this threshold will be the tenant’s responsibility.
But what about windows, who is responsible for cleaning windows, the landlord or tenant? This fully depends on the rental agreement; many leases ask that the tenant takes care of cleaning interior windows in their unit.
Tenants may take the time to clean the interior windows that they can access, but it is unrealistic to expect them to clean the outside of their windows if they live high above the ground. Plus, the landlord runs the risk of incurring unexpected injury, lawsuits, and insurance claims.
As a final word, the landlord is responsible for maintaining an apartment in safe living conditions even if the tenants occupy it for the duration of the lease. The landlord should always inspect the property when a tenant moves, deep clean it, and proceed with any repairs before new tenants move in. Any issues beyond normal wear and tear may be retained from the exiting tenants' security deposit, but the tenant may place the rent in an escrow account if the landlord does not fulfill their responsibilities.
Learn More About 33 Realty’s Property Management Services
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