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How many 'Walk Through's" can a landlord make?

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state?What is the name of your state? Washington

We moved into a first time rental home April of 2005 and did all the proper walk through requirements. There was significant pet urine smells in our dining room, which the landlord attempted to eliminate multiple times, but has failed to accompolish do the the amount of damage the urine has done. (It smells like we eat in a dog's bathroom). There were also initial cleaning issues with dirt, dust, and hair in places such as the oven, etc the landlord did not attempt to re-do. I have had to wash and take care of these things myself. There were also existing pet marks, scratches on the window sills, cedar walls, marks not from us we both agreed on.

We signed the lease to this property which they considered a "luxury home" by the landlord ( we pay twice the amount compared to other similar homes), with them knowing we have four kids ages 6, 5, 3 and 2 years old, now knowing I have another baby on the way.

The owner of the home (seperate from the landlord) requested a walkthrough recently as she would be in the area, and both the property manager and owner came to look through the house and to discuss other matters pertaining to landscaping needing to be assesed.

We had just returned rom a 2 week vacation out of state, and our vaccum cleaner broke down on us a few days prior to their visit, my husband was out of town on business. We also had water main construction on our road starting 2 days before their arrival which gave us intermitent water throughout the week forcing us to do washing and cleaning only before and after the construction hours.

The house was fairly organized, although I appoligized for 5 loads of laundry waiting to be folded on my bed and the fact I had been vacumming my house with a shop vac until my husband returned from a business trip to purchase a new vacuum (mind you, Im 5 months pregnant). They said it was fine to get a vacuum as soon as we are able to (we had minor crumbs cheerios, etc on the carpet), and only pointed out 1 spot where my son had scribbled a little on the wall with a ball point pen.

Our house is mainly cedar wood, but the area scribbled on was regular painted white gypsum wall- the wood has been untouched.

The windows also have crank handles that have fallen off occasionally, so we keep them up and out of the kids reach.

We recieved a letter from the landlord yesterday stating:
We were shocked at the condition of the home, we must ask you to have the home professionally cleaned for re-inspection September 6th, 2005 at 1:30 pm. Everything including marks on the wall must be cleaned, floord mopped, etc. We must know where you keep all the hardware for the windows.

The owners have told me they will be in the area mid-October and will be calling me to set up a time to inspect the work we are scheduling.
This seems ridiculouse to me. The house is not in bad condition, and we got a back-up vaccum the day the owner left. The only marks on the wall was the ball point pen and everything was clean.

HOW many walkthroughs can a landlord actually do, and can they force us to PAY to have our carpet professionally cleaned if we only had crumbs on it from a day or two of no vacuuming and we are still living here?? Also demanding to know where the cranks are seems odd, when we would be responsible to come up with that anyway when we move out- regardless if we currently know where they are or not. They have already been through the house twice, our lease is not up until June of next year- we are not currently moving out and the house is not being sold.

This carpet is 7 years or so old- it's a Kelly Green color, and it's not brand new.

Thank you, and sorry for the length- I figured you needed more background. :)

Just a few pictures included:

*edited to add: We recieved this letter in the mailbox, Thursday evening the 1st of September. There is no way we can find professional cleaners to clean the carpet on Labor Day weekend, anyway- as the following day after laborday is the day they were requesting to come re-inspect. Usually it takes a week or so to book a cleaner on such a weekend anyway.
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I can see both sides of this one.....

There are certainly days when I would be too embarassed to have a cleaning crew in, much less anyone else. I don't normally keep things that way, but it can get like that under extenuating circumstances, and I only have 2 kids!

Then, as a landlord, I've heard every excuse in the book. And MOST of the time that's what it turns out to be....an excuse. The tenants I've had over the years who are bad housekeepers always have a "story" for why things look bad on a given day, yet things never improve.

What you should do:
Carefully read your lease - especially any part pertaining to the condition you're required to keep the property in, what recourse the landlord has if you don't do that, etc, etc.

Then, get everything all cleaned up. There's no reason to hire professional cleaners. As long as things get corrected it's no business of the landlord WHO does the cleaning. (It may state in the lease that if you fail to comply they can have it cleaned and hold you responsible for the cost.) If a good vaccuming put the carpets back to the condition they were when you moved in, that should be sufficient.

I would prepare a letter for them. State what you said in your post (about the water main repair, etc). State that the house is presently cleaner than it was when you moved in, as noted on your move-in inspection report. State that you plan to keep the house in "such and such" condition (and I'd actually quote the lease here.) As for the window cranks.........just state in the letter why you have them removed and where you keep them. Then, I would also make your request that the dining room carpet be replaced. Site the times that you've requested it be taken care of and their failure to properly do so. Quote any parts of the lease that they are in violation of and state that you expect the carpet to be replaced promptly.

As for inspections......again, read your lease. What does it say? I was a little confused about the reason for their visits. If they are having work done and need to come check on it or in preparation for it, like to be able to order correct parts or something, that's reasonable. It can be invasive and a pain, but it's probably within their right to do so. If they're just being nosy and want to check up on you all the time it gets to be a grey area. It would depend how your lease is worded. You could argue that they're disrupting your quiet enjoyment of your home - they could argue that the place hasn't been well-cared for by you and they have reason to follow up. If you feel, based on the lease and the reasons for their inspections, that it's excessive I'd also sight that in your letter, along with any applicable quotes from the lease and ask that they reduce their number of visits.

My guess from reading your post...........is the owner really wanting to sell the home at some point or has been unable to sell it so they settled for renting it? Or worse, are they only moved out of it temporarily and plan to return to live there?

Keep us posted and good luck.
Karla in Amarillo


Junior Member
Thank you for your quick response!

This home is owned by a couple out in Los Angeles as their retirement home. In the meantime, they have hired the real estate agent who sold them the house as a property manager to lease it out.

There isnt anything in the house needing repair other than the dining room odor. They prepared the house prior to us moving in.

They are in the process of finishing up the function of an outside waterfall and some landscaping issues with the maintenence companies they have hired, but other than that- the walkthrough was just a sort of "We're in the area, wanted to check up on our house".

I did mention to the owner when she was here that if they would like to put lanolium in the dining room area (there is also a bar there we havent used strictly because it's all carpeted) we would not be opposed to it. She was unsure of what they would do. In my recent letter from the property manager, she stated:

You contacted the owners with a request to install vinyl in the dining room area. Given the current conditions of the house and other exterior maintenence issues we are currently addressing, I cannot authorize the vinyle at this time.
Of course I only mentioned this, not formally requested it- but hopefully this falls under your recomendations.

Our lease is pretty cut and dry- only stating the regular "Tenants must keep the house free from damages" but my question is... what exactly are damages and can the landlord come in on a monthly basis to "check in" on the condition of our carpet while we're living here?

I have had chemistry problems with the landlord already, I cannot help but feel like this is her way to get back at me. I have been as cordial as possible to her, but she is a poor communicator and I requested that she call before she come over, even for outside needs, to prepare me for a visitor. We live in a private road and cul-de-sac. My kids are always out front playing, and as a stay at home mom- I like to know who's coming over or at least have forewarning.

She huffed at this as an inconvenience and uneeded. I voiced my frusterations to the owner when she was visiting that I have had communication problems with the property manager and that it's very difficult to get a hold of her even with 3 phone numbers. She never calls back, sends people out without letting me know 90% of the time, and has a problem of getting most of my requests backwards or is constantly confused by them. The owner seemed genuinely to understand that I was not trying to 'tattle' on her, only that I was frusterated with the communication.

Does anyone know where I might get documentation on how many times a landlord is allowed to just "Check up" on the conditions of the inside of the dwelling and for what reasons are they warrented?
I feel constantly on edge as if our personal space is being violated. We should have the right to freely live in our home as long as we're being responsible and not be at the mercy of an obsessive compulsive renter's whims.

I can understand the owner's worry over the cedar in the home- we have gone through great measures to make sure the wood is unharmed as much as posible, but coming in and forcing another walk through for crumbs on the carpet and a few scribbles on the white walls seems unrealistic. They knew we were a family of small kids to begin with.

Again, much thanks for any responses. We are all for harmony in our tenant/landlord relationship.
FamilyofSeven said:
Does anyone know where I might get documentation on how many times a landlord is allowed to just "Check up" on the conditions of the inside of the dwelling and for what reasons are they warrented?

I've owned rental property in 6 different states and have never seen where there is a set number. This kind of thing goes by what the lease states and from there it would be open to interpretation. If it were brought up in a court case a judge would "decide" if they were in violation of the lease, or if you were if you tried to deny them entry. Is there not any wording in your lease about them entering the property?

Your description of the owners basically confirmed what I suspected. These people will tend to be more persnickety than a typical owner/manager because they think of this rental property as their home - not a business venture. Unless you're willing to flat out refuse to let them in and get into a legal battle with them you're probably going to be dealing with this on an ongoing basis. Actually, based on their situation, the more you try to keep them out the more they're going to feel like you're trying to hide something in "their home" and the harder they're going to try to check up on you.

You could try to see if there are any tenant's rights groups in your area who might be able to offer some assistance. Or you may be able to file a complaint against the real estate agent who is managing the place.

The visits definitely sound "over the top", but it doesn't sound like they've gone to the point of legally crossing the line.

Good luck.
Karla in Amarillo

P.S. Do you guys plan on living there indefinitely, or are you there for a set amount of time, like while you build a house or something?


Junior Member
Honestly, we spent 3 months looking for a home suitable for a family our size that wasnt run down. My husband is an advertising executive, so it needs to be 'nice'.

We moved here from a bigger house in Missoula, MT, much more upscale and updated appliances- more land too and we were only paying $1500 a mo. Here, in Spokane- we are paying $2200 a month, and we were told Spokane should be MUCH cheaper.

We had to sign a year's lease, but honestly I would love to move away somewhere cheaper simply because we would like to build in the near future.

This seemed like the best choice we had at the time, but I am finding it's becoming more and more difficult to please the property owners.

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