Here’s How NOT To Tell Your Tenants To Be Cleaner

Landlords telling tenants to be cleaner

A few weeks ago I received an email from a chap that kindly forwarded me an email that his friend received from her disgruntled (and most likely psychotic) landlord, in an attempt to get order in his HMO rental property, specifically the cleaning regime.

I was meaning to throw it up on my blog sooner, but procrastination is a bitch, and as glamorous as strapping myself down to my cheap faux leather office chair is, I often find myself being easily distracted from the people I love the most… you guys.

Right, so the email.

I should warn you, if you haven’t noticed by now, the email is a far cry from a post-it note. In fact, the sheer length is one of the aspects which make it psychotic, so I recommend you only continue if you’re fully hydrated and comfortable.

During the read, you’ll frequently get lost in confusion and disbelief, but you ain’t no wuss, so you’ll pick yourself up and plough through like a soldier.

I had to read the email a few times before fully comprehending the situation. I especially struggled with the first paragraph because there were references to things/people I had no knowledge of, but the situation soon unfolds and becomes clear, as does the realisation that a bonefide nutjob is at work.


The Landlord’s email to his messy tenants

In the famous words of the Who’s Roger Daltry I ask “Who are you?”

Could you be Nigela Lawson the domestic goddess of 685 who cleans properly and on time. Or Cindy Monet? Cindy cleans on time but like her non de plume she has become legendary in 685 for her stylish brush strokes. You see, whenever our Cindy cleans every swipe she makes is visible? And last and in more ways least Miss H who when she can be asked cleans properly but rarely?

For Nigela, you are without blame, for Cindy it is a gentle prod, but for Miss H it is your final warning. 3 days from me posting up the cleaning duties you have. 3 days to find 1 to 1 and half hours to clean properly. That includes all the surfaces in your designated area including light switches and doors. I threatened in the past to inspect but never really did. BUT FROM HERE ONWARDS I WILL BE.. MARK MY WORDS. Should I ask you to do it again, let not a dog move his tongue in protest.

Special shout out to Miss H. Miss H, if you fail to do your clean within the 3 days, mark my words the next month will be the last you spend in my house. Try me at your peril. To Cindy, I say, just because you wipe something doesn’t make it clean especially when you wipe it and your wipe is visible. I try to lead by example when I clean I make sure I use the right product so no smears remain. If you don’t know what to use please ask.

A general note to everyone. You make a cup of tea or a hot drink don’t leave behind the ring that the cup makes on the work surface. Clean the mess you made. Similarly you drop something on the floor pick it up. You cook on the cooker, wipe it down when your finished. You wash in the sink empty the strain. None of you came into my house followed by a retinue of maids and butlers, and there ain’t no mummy or daddy to pick up after you. IN THIS HOUSE YOU PICKUP AND CLEAN UP AFTER YOU.

Washing up
You have one day to wash up your dirty plates left by the kitchen sink. Anything left longer than a day and I will start taking names and kicking ass. I could not care less if you pile them up in your room till they touch the ceiling, but eventually with the warm whether coming you will be flicking flies of your face like the current starving poster child of a UNICEF campaign. The population of flies increases with the weather warming,so. Its important that you clean up you mess and wash up your dishes and cutlery in timely fashion for hygiene sake.

To the individual who has suddenly become a not so secret hoarder, leaving there recycling by the bin for weeks on end. Best Stop now. I removed the last two piles seeing that you were too god damn lazy to do it yourself. The next time you do that I will be calling time on your stay here. Why because you go in and out of the front door every day. It takes 3 secs to put the recycling in the appropriate box. No one and I mean no one is allowed to store any of their recycling inside whether it be by the bin or by the door. Recycling goes straight outside. Furthermore Please ensure you put you recycling in the right box because I don’t have the time to correct your laziness.

Fair Use or Abuse of Lights and Machines.
What is fair use of lights and what is abuse. I find it quite galling that one of the main abusers recounted a story to me about the time she came home and found the heating on full blast and her flatmate in shorts and a vest, and how exorbitantly high the fuel bill was. I find it very interesting that you cannot draw similar parallels to turning lights off when your not in the room, because I come home most evenings and your bedroom lights are ablaze while your downstairs for a good few hours preparing and then consuming your dinner in the kitchen. I smell a tinge of hypocrisy. Newtons Conservation of Energy applies not only in science but to most households in England.

Fair use – you take the same pinky you use to turn on the light when you enter a room, to turn off the light when you exit. If you don’t rectify this I have already prepped George to come in and install one pendant light in each room and a timer switches which will automatically turn off the lights every 5 minutes. The choice is yours ladies.
One individual believes its okay to turn the extractor on and then go to bed. Is this an example of fair use or a prime example of abuse.

Another believes its okay to turn on the washing machine or dishwasher before going to bed. This is so abusive on two accounts White goods use up to a 3rd of their maximum power in standby and leaving machines on reduces the longevity of the machine. Secondly, I have been disturbed on more than one occasion by the sound of the dishwasher, dryer and washing machine beeping, signalling the end of a wash or warning the water needs emptying. You can imagine how pissed off I must feel knowing the person responsible is away with the Sand man. Knowing what you know now the next time I am disturbed by late night beeping I will be getting everyone up to curse out that individual . Mark my words.

Ladies, continue to abuse the machines, and when these machines go I wont be in a rush to repair them and you will be dragging your dirty laundry to the nearest laundrette. My family home is five minutes from here so it wont affect me in the slightest.

The Kitchen Table
Despite providing a sufficient number of table mats, the kitchen table is now marked by numerous rings from the bright sparks inside the house placing hot cups and plates directly on to it.I have neither the time nor the inclination to play Poirot up in here, so the good have to suffer for the bad. The table was £100 and I’m deducting the cost of the replacement across each and everyone of you.

Furthermore. One of the first things I learned in infant school was to put my chair back underneath the desk before leaving the classroom. But if I was given a pound for every time I returned a chair back under the kitchen table in this house I could put a significant dent in the national debt. So when you decide to drag your cabose of the chair do me a favour and slide it back where you took it from. Thankyou.

The Kitchen door
Please ensure the door leading into the kitchen is shut at all times especially at night and when leaving the property. Why.? Because a burglar standing in the back garden can see through the entire house. Secondly, health and safety. Doors act as fire traps giving you and the fire service precious time.

Respect for All faiths
We have a devout Muslim living with us and an Israelite. Both of whom are quite tolerant when it comes to certain parts of their faith’s strict rules. Two of these rules have been an issue. The first is alcohol. Our dear Muslim cannot touch or consume any swine or alcohol and has to go through a purification process when this occurs. Similarly the Israelite can consume alcohol but can nether touch nor consume pork, lobster and shrimp amongst other things This is why we have separate fridges. So in the interest of compromise I ask you not to leave your alcohol on open display in communal areas (kitchen window cill for example) place it in your designated fridge. Or in your bedroom.

When cooking pork based products ensure the kitchen door remains closed, use extraction, until smell dissipates. That does not mean put extractor on and go to work leaving it running all day. After cooking, clean down thoroughly the cooker removing traces of all said swine based product. I will also go as far as to offer our pork lovers a reduction in their rent to contribute to not cooking pork inside my house. There are several excellent greasy spoons near here I can recommend. But that choice is yours and I offer it to strike a compromise between your right to eat pork and mine and our devout muslims right to abstain.

I like offending people with the truth and absolutely abhor political correctness. Why do I like causing offense, because a persons response to the truth is a measure of that persons character (if they have any) If you don’t love the truth and are offended by it, what does that make you. Does it not make you a liar and a lover of lies. If anything I have said is not of the truth then I apologize. But if nothing I have said is of a lie then don’t come to me with an excuse, reason or an apology. Just fix it.

Freaking insane, right? What an uppity doucehbag.

I thought the email in itself was quite amusing; I’d probably write something similar as a comical/hypothetical show-piece for my blog while I’m blitzed off my tits. The hypothetical situation being that I’m dealing with tenants that reek of rotting arseholes, and I’m a clinically insane landlord that digests his own feces. I can’t think of any other scenario where I’d actually concern myself with my tenants failing to slide their chairs under the table and leaving behind visible wipe marks.

Absurdly, the letter was actually delivered and received by the tenants’ from the live-in landlord, intended for practical reasons.

While it’s not the greatest of motivational speeches, it’s definitely one of the most ludicrous. I’d be prepared to eat my own steaming shit if that’s encouraged anyone to be cleaner before wanting to drown the condescending buffoon into a bucket of congealed donkey urine.

As I’m sure you all did, I found the last paragraph particularly excruciating, where he discusses his passion for offending people with political correctness.

Jesus Christ, please spare me!

Ironically, I fail to see how sending that smug, condescending, unprofessional and threatening email to tenants is politically correct. From what I gathered, his tenants don’t seem like bad tenants per’se, he just seems like an unreasonable individual suffering from an Alpha Male complex, among several other very serious mental conditions.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he strategically picked naive, vulnerable female tenants, just so he could assert his masculinity. In any case, it seems like he suffers from a disorder making him socially inept, probably due to extremely limited hands-on experience with real people in the real world.

Smug Landlord

You just don’t talk to people like that; maybe your spouse, but definitely no one in a professional environment. I can’t even fathom how he had the balls to face his tenants after distribution.

Sadly, I’m sure the landlord is thrilled to pieces with his haaalarious letter; no doubt he high-fived himself and pat himself on the ass. However, what the smug cheese-dick probably fails to realise is that if he actually did kick someone out because, heaven forbid, they left behind residue of a cleaning solution on his precious surfaces, his actions could potentially land him into hot water.

First and foremost, he’ll get ordered to take a Neuropsychological assessment to determine which specific impairment(s) he is suffering from, and depending on whether or not he pleads insanity on the basis of his results (which will probably be his best escape), he may then be ordered to pay compensation for being such a douche. It’s a lose/lose situation for the funny-man either way.

I don’t necessarily think the landlord’s underlying goal is unreasonable, because he’s essentially trying to create a clean and respectful environment for everyone. I actually thought it was pretty cool how he was so aware and respectful of his tenants’ various religions/faiths. However, his heavy-handed method is alarming, and it’s more about one man asserting his authority, as opposed to creating a Mecca for his tenants.

Needless to say, I wouldn’t recommend anyone adapting this insane method of communicating with their tenants because it will do more harm than good.

If you have any problems with your tenants, especially if you’re a live-in landlord, try talking to them like adults, and put the know-it-all humour aside. I guarantee the results will be a lot more fruitful… and safer.

What are your thoughts on the situation/email?

P.s. If you haven’t done so already, tell your mother and children about my blog! Share & love!

17 Join the Conversation...

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David 8th April, 2014 @ 16:15

Surely this isn't the guys first request? It sort of reminds me of the way I resort to talking to my children when I'm at my wits end and all reason has gone out of the window. For example, "if you slam your bedroom door once more, I'm going to remove it" - one slam later and I have to get the screwdriver out to follow through on the threat.... I think the landlord just needs a couple of kids to help give him some perspective on life. Failing that, recreational drugs may do the trick.

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Terrie 9th April, 2014 @ 07:14

Unbelievable! I suggest he moves into his family home and leaves the tenants in peace. If he can't take the heat etc etc. He's obviously happy enough to take their rent. He must be OCD - he's complaining that the 'wipe' marks are leaving a stain! Fancy the tenants not tucking their chairs in tut tut, whatever next? Call the chair tucking-in police immediately.
Complete idiot, I'd be interested to know how soon the tenants moved out after receiving this? I have student houses, a little chat every now and again works wonders, on their level & not patronising in any way. He needs to change the way he makes his income. I use the word 'make' as he's not earning it. What a knob-head.

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boboff 9th April, 2014 @ 07:15

I knew that guy from the BT Adverts was a twat!

He was definitely passed up for the roles of Form Captain, Prefect, & hall monitor, has elderly parents and a tiny tiny chin...... and willy...... a shed with snuff porn allot of QI, and probably is a real ale drinker.

Oh I forgot the problems he has with Pubic Dandruff...

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Mrs. Osborne 9th April, 2014 @ 07:17

I agree this is all over the top and unnecessary. Being a landlord myself in my detached house with one small flat leased out on the ground floor, my tenant has used her rights by going beyound what I consider normal, and the "right to a peaceful etc., ..."
The garden is trashed and the mature plants are dead, leaves pile up, weeds seem to be called flowers; in addition, the interior from what I can see when the back door is open, is packed with six foot high piles of old newspapers and boxes. I have now given up on any way to remedy this.
I do not want to interfere, but my appeals have been answered by abusive language, threats of trespassing, and I am not allowed to enter their garden to make repairs to my ancient 13th century stone building for fear of her violent verbal scare tactics.
This tenant has worn me down to the point that I am afraid of her, and I stopped leaving my house a year ago.
Although I retained a solicitor, even he is now unable to deal with the tenant's brutal tactics and fear-mongering.
The internet is full of articles for Tenant's Rights, rarely anything about Landlord's rights.

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Ryan 9th April, 2014 @ 07:52

Terrie, it was my friend who received the email, she handed in her 1 month notice the next day then moved out a couple of days later, couldn't bear to be in the same house as him anymore! And trust me, you'd struggle to find a more hassle free tennant than her. The thing I find funniest about it is that he obviously sat in his bedroom, meticulously writing this hilariously abusive email, then continued to stroll about the house as if nothing had happened. Genuine psycho!

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Kirsty 9th April, 2014 @ 08:02

@Mrs Osborne,

Why don't you serve her notice and if necessary go through the courts to evict her?

She sounds like an utter nightmare and you shouldn't have to put up with any form of abuse. I'm sure you already know this, but it is a landlords right to be able to take his/her property back at anytime, without reason, so long as you are protected by an AST and have served the relevant notices.

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Mandy Thomson 9th April, 2014 @ 08:09

An excellent blog as always - you never fail to make me laugh, while helping to increase awareness of landlord/tenant/lodger issues in a fun way.
As you've said, the landlord's end goal isn't unreasonable - he has duties as an HMO landlord re-health and safety, rubbish and to some degree, cleanliness and living environment. However, you describe him as a live in landlord - but in the email, he says he wouldn't be too bothered if he didn't have the use of a washing machine, as "My family home is five minutes from here" – unless he's using the HMO as his main address, and sharing the kitchen, bathroom(s) and lounge with the other occupiers, aren’t they going to have full Assured Shorthold tenant’s rights – so the landlord can’t dictate how they keep their own living space beyond health and safety, rubbish etc?
But, if it IS the landlord’s home too legally, the occupiers only have the right to “reasonable notice to quit” and as the place is (legally) the landlord’s home but not the occupiers’, they are subject to whatever whim the live in landlord imposes – so if, for example, he says “don’t eat in your room”, “don’t wear shoes in the house” or “no overnight guests” they have no option but to obey, hope to change his mind or move out?
That’s what the law says, but after being a lodger myself, I believe live in landlords should set a much higher standard than this. Mary Latham made the point the other day on the LRS site (about a landlord wanting to raise the rent by 33% in one go) that the law is not there to set best practice, and landlords (of all types) should be good businessmen who set a fair standard for their tenants or licensees, take their circumstances into account as well as their own, and treat them with respect.
I set up with the aim of improving relationships between live in landlords and lodgers, and even stopping someone (such as your landlord) from becoming a live in landlord in the first place if they’re not prepared to treat the lodger as an equal – I set up a quiz on my site to get potential live in landlords thinking about their own needs in a house share situation before they start advertising for a lodger!

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Mrs. Osborne 9th April, 2014 @ 09:23

My tenant has a long term lease. I cannot evict here without going through hell and high water; she has threatened me and had me in tears so many times, even physically ill. She even wrote to English Heritage to have my listed building status removed; and told the local council that she "owns" the building. She has piled trash and broken lawn furniture against my gate. This has been going on for two years; my only way out is to sell the building, my family home since 1965.
Just look on the internet: it's all about tenant's rights. Mrs. O

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Mandy Thomson 9th April, 2014 @ 09:45

@Mrs Osborne

Your tenant sounds dreadful, but when you say it's a long term lease, do you mean it's a flat she actually purchased from you for a period longer than 3 years, or is it a long term RENTAL lease, such as an assured tenancy (
If it's a rental lease, have you tried Landlord Action (

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Joanne 14th April, 2014 @ 16:36

I wish I had the guts to write something like this. One up for the landlord! He is probably fed up with the tenants leaving their crap everywhere. I really hope it worked!

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Mandy Thomson 14th April, 2014 @ 17:30


The landlord might feel a moment of relief, even elation, but then he's going to have to deal with the fallout. This
will obviously vary, depending on the lodgers'/tenants' personalities and other accommodation options open to them (or not) - but I've been there, both as an inexperienced live in landlord and as the lodger, and it's not pleasant from either side. The landlord is, or should be, a professional - he should've exercised due diligence to ensure he wasn't taking the
kind of people who wouldn't fit in the first place, & informed them (politely) about his house rules BEFORE they moved in.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 14th April, 2014 @ 21:21

I also get the impression it wasn't his first request. However, based on his reaction, I'm not convinced his first request was much more suitable.

Ha, your analogy is perfect! He genuinely talks to them like they're his children! My mum used to take her slipper off her foot and raise it in the air, implying she was going to smack me with it!

"chair tucking-in police" Hah, Brilliant!!

I definitely agree, he doesn't have the right "personality" to be a landlord! He'd be better off pursuing a career that doesn't require human interaction. I actually can't think of any examples...

@Mrs. Osborne
I can only agree with Kirsty's advice. I would look at serving them notice ASAP. If possible, a Section 21.

I would also document as much as you can, so you have every incident/problem on record.

I'm amazed your Solicitor has been unable to deal with the situation- that's their job. But then again, general Solicitor's are often not the best option to evict tenants. I would actually use a professional tenant evicting service. They'll be cheaper than general high-street Solicitors, but they'll also be specialists, so they'll be quick and efficient. But most importantly, they deal with abusive/troublesome tenants on a daily basis. Here's a list of List Of Tenant Eviction Services.

Good luck! I know how annoying/frustrating and upsetting it is dealing with rogue tenants.

Many thanks for sending in the email. Appreciated it!! :)

Spot-on with your first comment regarding the legal standings! I did actually ponder the landlord's status.

I wasn't sure what his status was, so I had to assume and read in-between the lines. Ryan, who sent me the email, said he was a live-in landlord. I assumed, rightly or wrongly so, that the occupiers are tenants and not lodgers.

But in any case, I think the point is that you shouldn't treat your tenants/lodgers (whichever they may be) like that, because it's going to cause more harm than good! As Ryan said, one of the tenant's handed in their notice after receiving that email.

Your website has been bookmarked!!

Trust me, you don't! Wait, you're not the landlord, are you?

I totally agree with Mandy. The landlord showed a complete lack of professionalism. An important aspect of being a landlord is being able to deal with tenants with respect (or at least like adults), despite how unreasonable you feel they are being. The fact is, as soon you cause tension, communication becomes difficult, and you instantly make the situation much more difficult to resolve. Plus, you don't want to give tenants any leverage, because it could bite you in the arse if the situation turns sour. Landlord/tenant law can be horrific!

Also, based on the email, the tenants don't seem too problematic in the grand scheme of things. I mean, the landlord is complaining about chairs being tucked under the table and residue from cleaning products being left behind. At least they're cleaning and paying the rent.

As said, I agree with the landlord's intentions, but his approach was impractical. As it unravelled, one of the tenant's left based on the email, which was the predictable outcome. I wouldn't say the email "worked"

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Charlotte 16th April, 2014 @ 06:57

This guy should NOT be sharing his house with ANYONE!

He clearly has too much time on his hands too.

Communication is key, a few signs up on the walls of the House Rules should be enough to guide most people to how to live in a shared environment, if they don't comply then after a warning or two, they can be asked to leave.

I wonder what the atmosphere is like in the house now!?

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Pip 11th June, 2014 @ 17:43

As a live in landlord, I'd like to hope a lodger to make an effort to clean up after them as do I and treat and respect the household.

My own experience has found after having two lodgers, one male, the other female, I find no difference in the sexes. Unfortunately, these particular individuals appear just not to care/can't be bothered, do the bare minimum, or at best, have different standards. I've accepted this nowadays as something a live in landlord has to put up with, but should I?

Well I've kept my mouth shut for the sake of good relations. But at my expense. Perhaps others will say I'm not a suitable live in landlord. They may be right. However, as we all share the same facilities, isn't it good just manners to be considerate of your fellow house mates? Or am I being old fashioned?

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Mandy Thomson 11th June, 2014 @ 20:11

@Pip - you sound like a good live in landlord - almost too nice! The trouble is you need to consider your own needs & balance these with the lodger's - if the balance is skewed in favour of one or the other, sooner or later someone's going to explode! Having said that, different people have different expectations & standards, so all this needs to be discussed and agreed at the start. It's much more difficult, but not impossible, depending on the people involved, to renegotiate on this later, but you need to be really careful how you go about it - have a friendly discussion & ask them what they think might work too - see - I wrote this after finding myself in this situation - from both sides! Good luck.

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Mandy Thomson 19th February, 2015 @ 14:17

If you think the overbearing landlord in this blog sounds bad, read all about this guy: (I wonder if MacBeth is his real name..?)

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debbie smith 10th March, 2020 @ 06:54

The landlord sounds like a pleasure to live with & lodgers sound like the nightmare, not the other way around. I'm sure he's at his wits end with their behaviour. Why aren't they doing all those things automatically? Have they no consideration for anyone else besides themselves? They pay rent for their room not to be cleaned up after ! If they want someone to clean up after them then they need to pay hotel prices or hire their own cleaner, not wait for their live-in-landlord to do it all!

















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