If the house was not cleaned by the seller upon turning it over to the buyer, what is their recourse?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If the house was not cleaned by the seller upon turning it over to the buyer, what is their recourse?

We just did our final walkthrough and the seller did nothing to clean the house. The oven and fridge are

disgusting. New Link Destination
ilets are unclean with fecal matter stuck to them. Dog poop is left, old dog toys, random junk left in dog run. Cardboard boxes left in shed. Bathtubs and sinks dirty. Ceiling fan caked in dust. They also damaged a bedroom door after inspection/appraisal. The seller just got there at 4:30 pm

with limited supplies to clean. We are supposed to exchange the keys at 5:00 pm. Since the did not deliver a cleaned house are there any penalties against them?

Asked on July 12, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There are no statutory penalties or penalties enforced by any agencies. The best you could do is sue the seller for any out of pocket costs this caused you to incur, such as if you had to hire a professional cleaning service (you could sue for what the service cost you). Unfortunately, you cannot get more than your actual monetary cost; there is no compensation for having to deal with this, for you time or effort/sweat if you cleaned it up, for being disgusted or upset, etc.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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