Is There a Nice Way to Ask Your Residents To Clean Up?

Cleaning up after your residents is the worst! It’s required and usually shouldn’t be too bad, but when it is bad – It’s the worst.

Obviously, the best way to deal with residents that aren’t the most hygienic is to not have them in the first place, but the world just isn’t so perfect that there is always a way to know. So, you have dirty residents: how do you tell them it is time to clean up?

Cleaning up after your residents is the worst! It’s required and usually shouldn’t be too bad, but when it is bad – It’s the worst.

Obviously, the best way to deal with residents that aren’t the most hygienic is to not have them in the first place, but the world just isn’t so perfect that there is always a way to know. So, you have dirty residents: how do you tell them it is time to clean up?

Why It Matters

washing hands

Some residents may not see their cleanliness as an issue. They may have even said it to your face: we’re the ones living there, right, so what is it to you? When addressing your resident, bring in these high-cost issues that could potentially come out of their security deposit.

Why It Matters

washing hands

Some residents may not see their cleanliness as an issue. They may have even said it to your face: we’re the ones living there, right, so what is it to you? When addressing your resident, bring in these high-cost issues that could potentially come out of their security deposit.

  • Structural Damage: Large messes can leave stains, rot, smells that need to be professionally cleaned out, damage to support beams, and more.
  • Infestations: Cockroaches and water bugs are becoming increasingly difficult to get rid of. They’re attracted to mess and can have a real impact on health and quality of life but require real and expensive work to get rid of them.
  • Cleanliness: Building hygiene is a very important topic, especially these days. Remind them that it is your job to ensure the property is safe and clean for all residents, present and future tense. You’re worried about their health, their neighbor’s health, and how their actions affect the world around.

Structural Damage: Large messes can leave stains, rot, smells that need to be professionally cleaned out, damage to support beams, and more.

Infestations: Cockroaches and water bugs are becoming increasingly difficult to get rid of. They’re attracted to mess and can have a real impact on health and quality of life but require real and expensive work to get rid of them.

Cleanliness: Building hygiene is a very important topic, especially these days. Remind them that it is your job to ensure the property is safe and clean for all residents, present and future tense. You’re worried about their health, their neighbor’s health, and how their actions affect the world around.

  • Quick Tip!

Consider the age of your resident. Are they fresh from college? As many start on their journeys towards independence, they have to learn how to take care of themselves. Put aside frustration and consider this as a teaching moment. They may actually be grateful.

  • Quick Tip!

Consider the age of your resident. Are they fresh from college? As many start on their journeys towards independence, they have to learn how to take care of themselves. Put aside frustration and consider this as a teaching moment. They may actually be grateful.

Open Verbal Communication

Once you have noticed that there is a problem, it’s time to start communicating. If you noticed that there was a cleanliness issue but walked away without telling them to get their act together, that’s okay. A lot of people do not know what to say in the moment. Contact them again and be professional but kind. Firm, but fair. You want them to see you as someone who has empathy but is still a figure of respectable authority.

Open Verbal Communication

Once you have noticed that there is a problem, it’s time to start communicating. If you noticed that there was a cleanliness issue but walked away without telling them to get their act together, that’s okay. A lot of people do not know what to say in the moment. Contact them again and be professional but kind. Firm, but fair. You want them to see you as someone who has empathy but is still a figure of respectable authority.

 

“I noticed this before but didn’t know how to respond in the moment. I trust that you know how to take care of yourself, however I have concerns about health and safety violations.”

Make sure you are understanding, citing limitations that you know your resident has (such as time, mobility, family, etc.). You should always double check that your lease has a clause that states your residents are expected to maintain health and safety standards, or even rules about the cleanliness of the place. Write down when you talked to them, as having everything documented is always a good idea.

Explain why this is important. Residents like that the safety of the property and the rest of the community is important to you. They want you to care.  

“I want this property to be safe for everyone and it is my job to make sure that it is. I’m concerned that the current state of the property is inviting dangerous situations such as [mold, mildew, other areas of concern].”

“I noticed this before but didn’t know how to respond in the moment. I trust that you know how to take care of yourself, however I have concerns about health and safety violations.”

Make sure you are understanding, citing limitations that you know your resident has (such as time, mobility, family, etc.). You should always double check that your lease has a clause that states your residents are expected to maintain health and safety standards, or even rules about the cleanliness of the place. Write down when you talked to them, as having everything documented is always a good idea.

Explain why this is important. Residents like that the safety of the property and the rest of the community is important to you. They want you to care.  

“I want this property to be safe for everyone and it is my job to make sure that it is. I’m concerned that the current state of the property is inviting dangerous situations such as [mold, mildew, other areas of concern].”

follow up!

After you talk to them, consider sending a follow-up email going over the conversation. This will give you a documented version that you did talk to them and when.

You should be very careful if you believe your current resident is a hoarder. As hoarding is considered a disorder, getting them to clean up can be a longer road than desired with legal complications due to medical protections.

follow up!

After you talk to them, consider sending a follow-up email going over the conversation. This will give you a documented version that you did talk to them and when.

You should be very careful if you believe your current resident is a hoarder. As hoarding is considered a disorder, getting them to clean up can be a longer road than desired with legal complications due to medical protections.

Open Written Communication

A firm talking to won’t work for everyone, in fact, it won’t work for a lot of people.

If, after your chit-chat and possible email, your resident still isn’t cleaning, it may be time to send a formal notice. Check with a lawyer about how to address the specific legal language and to make sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.

Ask your lawyer for specifics in writing this letter – including the clauses in your lease. In a ‘Cure of Quit’ notice, the important details need to be outlined, along with a final date it needs to be done by. 

Open Written Communication

A firm talking to won’t work for everyone, in fact, it won’t work for a lot of people.

If, after your chit-chat and possible email, your resident still isn’t cleaning, it may be time to send a formal notice. Check with a lawyer about how to address the specific legal language and to make sure all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed.

Ask your lawyer for specifics in writing this letter – including the clauses in your lease. In a ‘Cure of Quit’ notice, the important details need to be outlined, along with a final date it needs to be done by. 

cleaning

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cleaning

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Nicole Seidner

Cole Seidner is a copywriter here at the CIC Blog. She holds a degree in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design with a focus in creative nonfiction. Her free time is spent taking pictures of her dogs or reading deep dive analysis on movies that she hasn’t seen.

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