Can a landlord charge fortheir own labor?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2010

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Can a landlord charge fortheir own labor?

My biggest concern is my landlord charging my house over $1000 for cleaning the kitchen throughout the year. Cleaning the kitchen was not on the lease and they decided to clean it on their own timeby themselves.  Same for carpet cleaning.

Asked on September 29, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

1) If it had bee in the lease, which you would have agreed to and signed, then yes--the landlord could charge this.

2) If it's not in the lease, then the landlord may not add it to your obligations. A lease is a contract; it binds both parties. The tenant is obligated to pay for whatever is in the lease and nothing else.

(Note: if the tenant causes damage to property, the landlord can charge them to fix it--that's what the security deposit is for, to make sure the tenant pays for damage. But the landlord cannot charge for his/her own time--just for tools, supplies, and professional labor, and must substantiate those bills.)

If you landlord wants to build in a cleaing charge or just up your rent when the lease renews, that's something you and he or she needs to work out. But it can't be added unilaterally in the middle of a lease term.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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