Messy tenants: As a landlord, can i obligate a tenant to clean the house after he/she vacates?

Updated: Apr 14

After the end of every tenancy its time for the tenant to leave the premises. This has proven to be a nightmare for both landlords and their agents because tenants by default don't clean the houses after they leave.

In Kenya, there are no specific regulations on this kind of a responsibility and even after thorough scrutiny of several rental and lease agreements this has been rare to find. The closest this responsibility has been highlighted and made a topic is under residential houses normally rented out as lodging houses via Airbnb or such platform in Nairobi- e.g. Jacaranda and Willmary estate.


Even so, the tenant (renter) is only charged a cleaning fee that the owner of the house uses to clean after they move out. This must however be agreed and made clear early before signing the agreement and better still., have it included in writing just in case.

Fact: leaving a house in the most terrible state is one situation that allows the landlord to deduct the security deposit.

Tenants’ vacating a rented property in an inadequate state of cleanliness is one of the main reasons for deposit reductions, and an effective means of burning a long and healthy relationship to the ground


Just to clarify, at the beginning and during the tenancy, its an implied tenants responsibility to keep the premises as clean as they can because they are expected to leave the house in good condition save for wear and tear effects apart from which any other damage to the property will be charged on the tenant.


Having said this it becomes clear that this responsibility ceases immediately when they vacate the premises and therefore the landlord is left to clean the mess. For avoidance of doubt:

According to Section 65(1)d Act No.6 of 2012, the law states that if any dwelling house, flat, or room is leased, that the house, flat or room is fit for human habitation at the commencement of the lease and shall be kept fit for human habitation during the lease;

This requires the differentiation between cleanliness and wear and tear whereby a property can be old but still clean. Observation made on this is that many landlords in Kenya do not take time to do routine inspection on their premises and only comes back to the property after a tenant has vacated meaning if a tenant lived in a house for 7 years, the landlord will come to see the premises after 7 years - that is worrying.


The only way that the landlord can prevent cleaning issue at the end of tenancy is by maintaining a reasonable routine inspection schedule with the tenant which must guarantee the right to quiet enjoyment and at the same time still comply with the landlords right to enter.

#securitydeposit #tenant #landlord #tenantresponsibility #leaseagreement

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