Can a landlord force me to clean ?
Yes , This issue is the one that occurs most frequently with tenants. You are to return the property as you received it minus ordinary wear and tear. If you don’t clean it someone else has too. Whether it’s in written contract or not. It’s one of the implied conditions of renting a place.
it is the tenant’s responsibility to ensure that the property is left in the same condition that it was when they moved in, excepting “normal wear and tear”.
Before a tenant moves into one of my rentals, I make certain that it is spotless. And when they leave, I expect the same. If it isn’t then the tenant is responsible for the cleaning. If that means that I must hire a professional to clean, then the tenant will pay for that, usually deducted from his security and damage deposit.
So , I no longer have carpets in my rentals (they’re dirt traps). But when I did, I insisted that they be professionally cleaned. This was because people liked to rent a carpet cleaning machine from the local supermarket and do a “self-cleaning” job. And it didn’t work. Those machines use steam to clean the top eighth of an inch of the pile, leaving grime, dirt and bacteria in the rest.
Of course all of this is clearly stipulated in my Lease Agreements, and tenants are well aware of the details. It is rare that a tenant leaves one of my properties less than spotless. On those few occasions when they did, there were no complaints when I hired professional cleaners and paid them from the tenant’s security deposit.
So You have stated what the contract you signed requires. Are you a person [pofessionally qualified to clean? If you are, then the requirement has been met. If you are not, then the landlord may proceed with the charge. Contracts are like that. I would suggest that the next time this occurs, that you obtain permission in writing from the landlord that your cleaning the unit will substitute for a professional cleaning. I dought they will agree to it because professionals have strict standards of what clean is, for individuals, that standard varies too much and no landlord is going to spend time in back and forth with a resident on how clean is clean. I do not believe you can get out of that for which you signed.
However, rent laws ussually vary from state to state so you better consult local lawyer before finalising anything.