What about cleaning requests? We received a request from a tenant to disinfect his unit as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 spread. The tenant believes it a landlord’s responsibility to do more than just cleaning and disinfecting the building’s common areas.

While a landlord should take reasonable care to protect tenant health and safety, it is a tenant’s responsibility to keep his unit in good condition, i.e., the safe and sanitary condition provided to the tenant at his move-in. The tenant will need to perform his own cleaning and disinfecting of his unit. As appropriate you could refer the tenant to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for information on how coronavirus is thought to be spread primarily through the transmission method of respiratory droplets, such as coughs and sneezes. Additionally the CDC website has good information on how to clean and disinfect surfaces in the home, including the “high-touch” surfaces such as light switches, doorknobs, faucet handles, countertops, sinks, and toilets.

As the landlord, you do have the responsibility to regularly clean and disinfect common areas using approved EPA recommended cleaners and disinfectants according to CDC recommended health and safety guidelines including the “high-touch” surfaces in common areas and community rooms.

As a standard rental practice, you are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting a rental unit when the tenant moves out at end of the lease term. You would follow standard practices in preparing a vacant rental unit for a new tenant as well as your newly established cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

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