Dirty Tenants


    One of my tenants (3 roommates) are super dirty! I haven’t gone into their apartment for a year or so but my husband has been in and said their kitchen floor (grey slate tile) is pitch black as well as their light hardwood floors. The stove is always covered with dirty pots and pans and caked with crusty food. Bathtub, also black. As a landlord can I or should I say anything to them about it?
    It kills me to think of the wear and tear on my property. and yes, we’ve had to exterminate for mice more than once.
    What’s the protocol?

    26 Replies

    1. Hey, if it is your house and they create bad energy, get rid of them. Brownstones are intimate spaces and if you don’t like the tenant just make your life better by saying bye bye. Why suffer? Just don’t renew the lease. I love my tenants; I can’t believe how lucky I am, but I really inherited one doozy, now long gone thanks to NY State tenant landlord court. Just say bye bye.

    2. I had a landlord once who chastised us if she saw a single dirty dish in the sink.

      On day, we needed access to the back through her yard for cable. She said, “I’m on the way out and very busy.” Of course we got in and saw her sink full of dishes. I stared at them for like 10 seconds and moved on.

      She didnt renew our lease.

    3. You like collecting a good heafty rent from three hard working tenents? Well then buy a cat or a mask. I can’t believe some people should be greatful tenants are still paying their rents after homeowners got free money from the government. And now I even have to hear of wear and tear on the tiles! Don’t rent it and keep it clean as you like. You want the rent and no one living there plus a 300 dollar check from City Hall. Go work for a living will ya!

    4. You see, it’s landlords like cillmylandlord_again’s that drive otherwise good people to buy overpriced real estate in Brooklyn. “Lame” rentals full of pigeon poop, rats, dirty underwear in the hall. Then again, maybe that’s a way to get rid of tenants you don’t like. That and increasing the rent 500 percent in one month.

    5. yeah the comment about intentionally ruining someones credit is just heartless and mean


    6. My old landlords were filty and crazy. They used to leave dirty underwear in the hallway…and feces in the washing machine. So…should I have charged them a security deposit and ruined their credit?

    7. starfish, we do not know if this is RS, RC or market rate. The OP never posted that.

      As far as a tenant leaving without paying the last month, I’d sue, ruin their credit history and most likely their ability to rent anywhere else that’s decent.

      People like this though don’t need decent…they can apparently live in a pig sty (no offense intended to the LL and how this apt. was beforehand).

    8. also why dont you just be direct with them and tell them that you dont appreciate having dirty stinky tenants and that it’s bringing down the quality of your life? i swear, if i owned a building, id be making monthly inspections on each tenants cleanliness.


    9. I wouldn’t say anything and pray you can keep their security deposit. I agree with the poster above who said they are likely to just not pay last month’s rent and have you use their security deposit if they are ‘tipped off’

    10. If these guys have a stabilized lease the LL is fscked already – s/he has to renew regardless of what pigs they are.

    11. I don’t know if there’s much you can do about tenants not cleaning, but some leases do state that tenants are not allowed to interfere with others tenants’ “quiet enjoyment” and they explicitly state things like garbage must be removed promptly, can’t pile things in the hallway, etc.

    12. “starfish, I think most LLs get a security deposit plus last months rent. I did.”
      You’re referring to LLs of non-stabilized apts. You can’t do that for rent stabilized.
      And anyway, even with sec deposit plus last month, what’s to stop the tenant from leaving without paying the last two months rent?

    13. My apartment is a total pig-sty. (That said, I do not leave food out and I am not the cause of any vermin.) I do not anticipate reverting my bathtub from black to white will result in any damage. When I move out, the apartment will be clean and I expect my full security deposit returned.

      You wanna talk about the hallways? All the crap out there is the landlord’s. Nice of him to sweep from time-to-time. Maybe he might want to shelve those books or donate them to charity. Or he can just expect me to trip all over them every time I go in and out.

    14. There is a problem with the recommendation about keeping the security deposit. When a tenant who has caused damage suspects that you may keep the security deposit, he may just not pay the last month’s rent. In fact, there is a popular tenant website which routinely tells tenants not to pay the last month’s rent for that reason.

    15. Well if these tenants are there for many more months until their lease expires, I would send a letter or speak to them in person and mention that you are concerned with how they “keep” the apartment as a very filthy apartment tends to attract vermin. Keep it polite and dont be too accusatory – but we had a similar situation where one of out tenants bedroom was in our entry hall and the smell sometimes was outrages – like old socks under the bed with smelly shoes – it was HORRIBLE! – my husband bluntly marched in one day and said look our hallway smells like old feet – so you gots to clean up!
      they had no idea what he was talking about. They said they would try – we had to burn candles at our hallway for about 2 months
      the tenants moved out and we new tenants move in and sure enough the smell was gone!

    16. this is going to sound totally weird.. but to home owners who plan to rent apartments out where you also live in the house and care about your property… do this instead of lui of a credit check / bank snoop,.. ask the potential tenant to do an inspection of their current living situation. you can totally glean what a tenant will be like by how they keep their current place (unless of course the person is totally clean and lives with dirty people..) so it might not always work, but it could!


    17. lol call their parents. i bet you have them as guarantors anyway. are they females in the mid 20s from out of state? i bet they are.


    18. wow did my previous tenants move to your house? 😉

      we had the same thing…a young couple, totally filthy,
      don’t thin they ever cleaned, left food out all the time, totally
      gross. we didnt renew their lease when it was up, had them pay
      for the damage with their security deposit (that’s what its for!!), and then
      renovated the apartment (which was in our plan anyway…just wound
      up doing it sooner than we thought).

    19. You also might want to make it clear that they could expect a really bad recommendation in the event they need one for a new apartment.

      People like this never learn. It’ll be a mess for as long as they are there. Get them out when the lease is up.

    20. I believe it is well within your rights to speak up. How you want to do it is your choice, but a fair warning that they will face costs because of their slovenliness does not seem out of line to me.

    21. I don’t know if there is much you can do. I would just wait until their lease expires and then hold back part or all of their security to pay for the damages. That is what the security deposit is for.