Should I charge a cleaning fee?

Why do some companies charge an up front cleaning fee?  You will see that some companies charge an up front cleaning fee to each tenant.  At General Home Management we do not charge an up front cleaning fee. Our experience is that if the tenant is charged an up front cleaning fee they will leave the house dirty.  My childhood memories include coming home from school and smelling Endust and Spin N Span.  Being raised by a woman who would never let us use the front door and was always telling us to clean our fingerprints off the storm door, I have a pretty different idea of clean.  After 30 years in the Real Estate industry I have found that there are not a lot of people who share the same definition of clean.  If you want your tenants to leave the home clean when they move out, deliver a them a clean home to move into, don’t charge an up front cleaning fee, but clearly set the expectation that the home should be in the same condition when they leave that it was delivered to them in and if it is not they will pay to have the home cleaned.

Nobody wants to be evicted.

Nobody wants to be evicted.  When and if a tenant does get behind there are many resources out there to assist them with rents.  There are often Federal, State and Municipal funds available specifically for that purpose.  Some municipalities offer up to three months worth of rent assistance for qualified candidates. If you are a tenant and know you can not pay rent by the due date it is best to let your landlord/property manager know right away.  They may be able to direct you to financial assistance and help you to avoid being evicted.

The importance of a move-in checklist.

A move in checklist is extremely important for many reasons.  Most states require that the landlord provide two copies of a move in checklist/inspection to the tenant.  The tenant is also responsible to return a copy to the landlord within a specified time frame.  In Michigan, they must return a copy to the landlord within seven days.  It is always good practice to take photos, both upon move in and upon moving out.  If you would like more information regarding move in inspections and checklists please feel free to contact me at