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Can Your Landlord Evict You for Being Unclean? Yes, Tenants Can Be Evicted for having a Messy Room!

Posted by Debi Rumph | Dec 28, 2023 | 2 Comments

Yes, Most States Require Tenants to Keep the Rental Premises Clean

In many states, including Florida, tenants are obligated to maintain the cleanliness and sanitation of their dwelling units. The Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, specifically Fla. Stat. s. 83.52, outlines the tenant's responsibility to keep their part of the premises clean and sanitary.

Recent Dispute in Melbourne, Australia

In past years, an incident in Melbourne, Australia, highlighted the contentious nature of this obligation. A college student and his landlord clashed over the cleanliness of the rental premises, leading to a heated exchange and even the tenant crawling out of his bedroom window to avoid the landlord.  The landlord complained that the tenant was just too nasty.  The two fought bitterly. Indeed, the landlord told the college renter: “I f***ing told you the rules.” According to the college tenant, he crawled out of his bedroom window to avoid the landlord. Thereafter, a bitter text message battle began between the pair.

In Florida, who do you think will win? Why?

Legal Perspective in Florida

In Florida, if a landlord faces a similar situation, the landlord will likely rely on Fla. Stat. s. 83.52 and Fla. Stat. s. 83.56(2). The landlord may issue a 7-day notice to the tenant, requiring them to address the cleanliness issue. Failure to comply may result in eviction proceedings.

Defining "Clean and Sanitary"

The challenge lies in defining what constitutes "clean and sanitary." While the Florida Landlord and Tenant Act doesn't provide a specific definition, other Florida laws, such as Fla. Stat. s. 386.01, address sanitary nuisances. According to this statute, a sanitary nuisance is an act or condition that threatens or impairs health, directly or indirectly causing disease.

Legal Argument for Messiness Leading to Disease

To contest an eviction based solely on messiness, it can be argued that the mess must be so severe that it poses a threat to the health or life of individuals by causing disease. This legal viewpoint emphasizes the necessity of establishing a direct connection between the condition of the premises and potential health risks. Hence, I contend that a landlord cannot evict a tenant for simple clutter or for not meeting the landlord's definition of cleanliness. Instead, it must be linked to a potential disease or a threat to impair the health of the tenant or others.

Tips for Tenants:

1. Regular Cleaning and Maintenance:

Conduct regular cleaning and maintenance to avoid potential disputes with landlords.  If your parents would have disapproved, your landlord is also likely to disapprove.  Even if you can win the argument that you can't be evicted, your landlord just may decide not renew your lease next year because they disapprove of how you're maintaining their rental property.

2. Understanding Legal Obligations:

Familiarize yourself with your lease and the specific cleanliness obligations outlined in your state's laws.

3. Prompt Response to Notices:

If served with a notice regarding cleanliness issues, address the concerns quickly in an attempt to avoid legal consequences.

4. Seek Legal Advice:

If faced with potential eviction, seek legal advice to understand your rights and explore possible defenses.


If you're ready to move forward, or if you have questions about the process, you can text or call us at (407) 294-9959. And if you want to know more about the options we have for tenants like you, please complete this short interactive form.

About the Author

Debi Rumph

The Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph and Debi's Tenant Clinic Corner About Us Since July 2005, The Residential Realty Law Firm provided a wide range of legal services as it related to home ownership. However, on July 1, 2012, The Residential Realty Law Firm became the Law Offices of Debi V. Rumph. Debi pr...


Scott curry Reply

Posted Dec 28, 2023 at 08:01:12

My daughter was evicted for somebody else’s misconduct

Debi Rumph Reply

Posted Dec 28, 2023 at 08:31:58

Scott, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. To avoid such circumstances, tenants should carefully review the lease agreement before signing and understand the terms of lease as it relates to eviction. Some leases may allow the landlord to evict all tenants if one violates the lease agreement. Additionally, if you receive a 7-day notice, it’s important to dispute it as soon as possible. When our clients hire us in time, we respond to the notice and help defeat the attempted eviction, but it requires quick action. Landlords tend to serve such notices and can easily evict everyone if nobody takes appropriate action. Unfortunately, waiting until the eviction is filed is usually too late.

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