Can a landlord charge fortheir own labor?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.


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