Can roommates deduct a cleaning “fee” from the security deposit if other roommates did not do their share?

We lived with a few roommates throughout the year who maybe did dishes 5 times and that’s it. They even went 8 days without toilet paper 2 times after I bought my own. Then 4 days, before our lease ended, I went on vacation and received an email from our landlord saying I could stay another year with new roommates. Upon returning after the original lease was done, the house was still messy. I cleaned along with a new roommate (who had to move old roommates stuff from his room and clean it when he moved in) and figured we deduct cleaning from their deposit. Can we do this?

Asked on July 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oregon


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a roommate agreement in place with your former roommates setting forth issues as to cleaning deposits and are actually in possession of their security deposit, you legally cannot make a claim as to such.

However, since you cleaned their premises where they should have, you would have a legal basis under the laws of all states in this country to bring a small claims action against the former roommates for the fair market value of your services to clean their portion of the rental that they failed to do.

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