As a landlord and property manager, I am sure that at some point, all of you have had to deal with messy tenants.
Receiving tenant complaints about dirty dishes, oily cooking worktops, dirty bathrooms full of hair and many other issues is not fun at all, especially when you are paying the housekeeper who cleans the property every week or two for it to be messy again the next day.
This situation can make you feel frustrated and upset as you expect, as grown adults, renting a room in a shared house, they would be more responsible and courteous to their housemates and themselves.
But what do you do? And how do you solve this common problem?
Over the past 7 years we have tried many different approaches in resolving this problem and here is what our experience was.
The first time we received such a complaint, was at our very first property. We contacted everyone asking to always clean after themselves. We did this twice but it didn’t help. We then turned our attention to the messiest and the most complained about tenant and issued him with the S21 notice, meaning he would need to move out. Unfortunately that didn’t help either and the mess continued.
Once again we tried talking to everyone, and it helped for a short while, but in doing so I have realized that it is extremely hard to change someone’s habits. The decision was made to ask another 2 people to leave the property and change the situation at hand.
This was 7 years ago and now we do things much differently
The housekeeper always takes pictures of the state of the property at each visit. If we notice that it is not kept tidy, we contact the tenants. We then mark this property to be monitored for at least 3 months. This proactive approach means we don’t wait for tenant complaints and ensure that it doesn’t become an established issue.
When we notice that they are struggling with the cleaning we gift tenants some quality and fun products to help keep the place clean and tidy, like nice boxes for storing toiletries in the bathroom, bio cleaning products, cute cleaning clothes, some fun floor mats.
If all of this does not help the situation, we then talk to everyone individually to do our best to understand which tenant is particularly struggling with the upkeep of the house.We may also organize inspection of all the rooms, as often the way they keep their room reflects on the whole property as well.
After this we communicate our findings to all tenants and monitor the property for another month.
I have found that once the issue is tackled in its early stages, it rarely repeats, however if nothing we do works, then we are forced to issue Section 21 notice and ask them to leave, as it’s our duty to ensure that everyone’s right to a clean and safe home is respected.