Can Landlord Charge For Cleaning California?

Yes, a landlord in California can charge for cleaning, but only if the property is not left in the same condition as when the tenant moved in. In California, tenants and landlords have specific rights and responsibilities when it comes to the condition of rental properties.

One common issue that arises is whether landlords can charge tenants for cleaning services. While the answer is yes, there are certain conditions that need to be met in order for landlords to charge for cleaning. This article will explore the guidelines and regulations surrounding cleaning charges in California, providing tenants with a clear understanding of their rights and landlords with the necessary information to navigate this aspect of tenancy agreements.

By understanding the legal requirements, both parties can ensure a fair and smooth transition when it comes to cleaning charges in rental properties in California.

Understanding Landlord’s Right To Charge For Cleaning

Renting a property comes with certain responsibilities for both tenants and landlords. While tenants are generally expected to leave the property in a clean and habitable condition, landlords often have the right to charge for cleaning if the property is not left in an acceptable state. It is important for both parties to understand their rights and obligations regarding cleaning charges in the state of California. This article provides an overview of California landlord-tenant laws on cleaning charges, discusses the circumstances under which a landlord can charge for cleaning, and outlines the legal requirements that must be met to ensure the validity of such charges.

Overview Of California Landlord-tenant Laws On Cleaning Charges

California’s landlord-tenant laws set forth specific guidelines regarding cleaning charges. Landlords have the right to deduct cleaning expenses from a tenant’s security deposit if the property requires cleaning beyond normal wear and tear. However, it is crucial to distinguish between what constitutes normal wear and tear and what requires additional cleaning.

In accordance with California law, normal wear and tear refers to the natural deterioration of the property that occurs over time, despite ordinary use and without negligence, carelessness, accident, or misuse by the tenant or their guests. Examples of normal wear and tear include minor scuffs on walls, faded paint, or worn-out carpet in high-traffic areas.

On the other hand, excessive dirt, uncleanliness, stains, or damage caused by negligence, abuse, or misuse can be considered beyond normal wear and tear. In such cases, the landlord may have grounds to charge for cleaning.

Determining When A Landlord Can Charge For Cleaning

A landlord can charge for cleaning if the tenant fails to return the property in the same condition as when they moved in, considering only normal wear and tear. This means that tenants are expected to clean the property thoroughly, including cleaning surfaces, appliances, floors, and carpets, before moving out.

It is important to note that landlords cannot deduct cleaning charges if they did not provide an itemized statement of cleaning expenses within 21 days after the tenant vacated the property. This itemized statement must outline the cleaning work performed and the corresponding costs. Failure to comply with this legal requirement prohibits landlords from withholding any part of the tenant’s security deposit for cleaning purposes.

Legal Requirements For Cleaning Charges

California law requires landlords to follow specific legal requirements when charging for cleaning. These requirements include:

  • Providing a written rental agreement that clearly discloses the landlord’s cleaning expectations
  • Conducting a thorough move-in inspection with the tenant to document the condition of the property
  • Filing a written report detailing any cleaning issues within the first two weeks of the tenant moving in
  • Informing tenants in writing of their right to be present during the final inspection
  • Offering tenants the opportunity to remedy cleaning issues before assessing charges
  • Providing an itemized statement of cleaning expenses within 21 days of the tenant’s move-out
  • Returning the remaining security deposit to the tenant within the same timeframe

By adhering to these legal requirements, landlords can ensure the validity of cleaning charges and avoid potential disputes with tenants.

Reasons For Charging Cleaning Fees

Landlords in California are allowed to charge cleaning fees to tenants for a variety of reasons. These fees can be used to cover the costs of cleaning the rental unit after the tenant moves out, ensuring that it is ready for the next tenant.

Importance Of Maintaining Cleanliness In Rental Properties

When renting a property in California, both landlords and tenants have certain responsibilities. One essential obligation for tenants is to maintain the cleanliness of the rental property throughout their occupancy. On the other hand, landlords are responsible for ensuring that the property is clean and sanitary before a new tenant moves in. However, tenants may not always leave the property in the same condition as when they first occupied it. That’s where charging cleaning fees becomes necessary.

Covering Costs Associated With Cleaning After Tenant Occupancy

Charging cleaning fees allows landlords in California to cover the costs associated with cleaning the rental property after a tenant moves out. It involves not only the time spent but also the expenses incurred in restoring the property’s cleanliness to its original state. This covers tasks such as deep-cleaning carpets, sanitizing bathrooms, removing stains, and restoring the overall appearance of the property. By charging cleaning fees, landlords can ensure that the rental unit is in a presentable condition for the next tenant, without incurring any financial loss.

Preventing Disputes And Ensuring Fair Use Of Security Deposits

Charging cleaning fees also helps prevent disputes between landlords and tenants regarding the use of security deposits. In California, security deposits are commonly held to cover any damages beyond normal wear and tear, unpaid rent, or cleaning costs required to restore the property to its original cleanliness. By charging a separate cleaning fee, landlords can clearly distinguish between damages and regular wear and tear, avoiding any potential conflict. This ensures the fair use of security deposits and promotes transparency in the entire rental process.

Overall, implementing cleaning fees serves multiple purposes in California’s rental market. It ensures that rental properties are kept clean and well-maintained, covers the costs associated with cleaning after tenant occupancy, and prevents disputes while maintaining transparency in the use of security deposits. By understanding the reasons behind charging cleaning fees, both landlords and tenants can establish a fair and mutually beneficial rental experience.

Limits And Restrictions On Charging Cleaning Fees

When renting a property in California, tenants often wonder if their landlord can charge them for cleaning at the end of their lease. Understanding the limits and restrictions on charging cleaning fees can help tenants protect their rights and avoid unjust charges. In California, there are specific guidelines in place to prevent landlords from taking advantage of tenants when it comes to cleaning fees.

Understanding Reasonable Wear And Tear

One important concept to grasp is the difference between normal wear and tear and damages that require cleaning. Reasonable wear and tear refers to the natural deterioration that occurs as a result of everyday use. It includes minor scuff marks on the walls, light carpet stains that are unavoidable, and worn-out paint due to normal living conditions.

According to California law, landlords cannot deduct cleaning fees from a security deposit for normal wear and tear. This means that they cannot charge tenants excessively for cleaning that is necessary due to regular usage.

Examples of reasonable wear and tear include:

  • Worn-out carpet due to heavy foot traffic
  • Faded paint or wallpaper over time
  • Minor cracks in plaster or tiles
  • Loose doorknobs or hinges
  • Faded or slightly torn window curtains

Prohibition Of Excessive Cleaning Charges

California law prohibits landlords from charging excessive cleaning fees to their tenants. This means that if the tenant has left the rental property reasonably clean, the landlord cannot deduct cleaning costs from the security deposit. Noncompliance with this provision can subject the landlord to legal action.

Landlords must keep in mind that tenants are not expected to leave the property in a pristine condition. They are only required to return it in a reasonably clean state. If the property has been cleaned to a standard that is considered acceptable, the landlord has no right to charge excessive fees.

Legal Remedies For Tenants Facing Unjust Cleaning Fees

When facing unjust cleaning fees, tenants in California have legal remedies at their disposal. If a landlord wrongfully deducts cleaning fees from a security deposit, the tenant can take legal action to seek a refund.

Tenants can file a complaint with their local housing authority or pursue legal action in small claims court. It is crucial for tenants to gather evidence, such as photographs, videos, or any written communication about the condition of the property, to strengthen their case.

Under California law, tenants who successfully challenge excessive cleaning fees may be entitled to the return of their deposit, plus any legal fees incurred. It is recommended that tenants familiarize themselves with their rights and seek legal advice if they believe they have been charged unfairly.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Can Landlord Charge For Cleaning California?

Are Tenants Responsible For Cleaning When Moving Out In California?

Yes, tenants in California are responsible for cleaning when moving out. They are expected to leave the rental property in a clean and orderly condition.

What A Landlord Cannot Do In California?

Landlords in California cannot discriminate based on race, religion, gender, or disability. They can’t retaliate against tenants for reporting code violations or joining a tenants’ association. Landlords must provide habitable living conditions and give proper notice before entering a rented property.

They can’t increase rent arbitrarily or retaliate for lawful activity.

Can Landlords Charge For Painting California?

Yes, landlords can charge for painting in California.

Is Landlord Responsible For Carpet Cleaning In California?

Yes, the landlord is responsible for carpet cleaning in California.


Landlords in California are legally allowed to charge for cleaning, but the specific circumstances and terms must be outlined in the rental agreement. It is important for both tenants and landlords to understand their rights and responsibilities in this regard.

By discussing and clarifying expectations upfront, conflicts over cleaning charges can be avoided, leading to a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship. Please note that the information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

If you have specific questions regarding cleaning charges or any other rental-related matters, it is advisable to consult with a qualified attorney or seek professional guidance.

Leave a Comment