Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Call For A Confidential Case Evaluation 941-366-1800

Can Landlords Evict for Uncleanliness?


What is “clean”? A child who grew up with parents who pushed for military-level precision and spotlessness will have a different idea of the concept of “clean,” than a child who was raised by a hoarder who was too overwhelmed to do anything more than clear a pathway.

Because we all have our own place in this spectrum, it is understandable that some landlords and tenants may clash or have frustrations with the cleanliness levels expected, vs. the realities of day-to-day life. But can a landlord actually evict a tenant, citing “uncleanliness?”

Well, like most legal issues, the answer is really – it depends.

Florida Law

In most states, to include Florida, tenants are required to keep their rented unit up to a certain level of cleanliness and sanitation. Florida Statute s. 83.52, part of the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, specifies that tenants must comply with housing, building, and health codes, to include keeping the rented unit sanitary, and clean. The law specifies that this includes removing garbage from the rented unit in a clean, and sanitary way. The tenants must also keep plumbing fixtures clean and sanitary, and ensure they are in good repair.

Per Florida law, if a landlord believes that a tenant is not upholding their duties under the law and the uncleanliness has risen to a level that further action is necessary, the landlord would most likely rely on Florida statutes Stat. s. 83.52 and Fla. Stat. s. 83.56(2), respectively. This allows the landlord to issue the tenant with a 7-day notice that requires the tenant to address the specified cleanliness issue. If the tenant fails to comply with the directive of the notice then eviction proceedings may occur.

But as we discussed above – “clean” is subjective, right? How is anyone to know what the standard really is?

Florida Legal Definition of “Clean” and “Sanitary”

It is challenging when the Florida Landlord and Tenant Act does not, in itself, provide a specific definition of what qualifies as “clean and sanitary.” However, other Florida statutes, such as Fla. Stat. s. 386.01 do detail what qualifies as a “sanitary nuisance.”

A sanitary nuisance, under Florida law, is an actor or condition which threatens or impairs a person’s health. And this threat must directly or indirectly cause disease.

This gives some room for argument and contemplation.

Eviction for Messiness?

A landlord could potentially be successful in pursuing an eviction action based on messiness – but is that messiness really so severe that it poses a threat to a person’s health or life by causing disease? That would be the standard if the “sanitary nuisance” standard were to directly apply. There is an argument, if that is the case, that simple clutter or not meeting a landlord’s very high cleanliness standards is not enough to justify eviction. An experienced landlord tenant law attorney can help you analyze the specifics in your own situation.

Tenants should always regularly clean rental units and adequately maintain dwellings. Even if an eviction action would not be successful, if a tenant wants to renew their lease they will have to get the landlord to agree to continue renting to them. Understanding your obligations under the lease and under the law can help ensure that the landlord will be called in to address items that they need to address, and tenants know what is expected of them as well.

Contact Suncoast Civil Law

If you have questions and want to discuss your own landlord tenant case, contact the Sarasota civil litigation attorneys at Suncoast Civil Law today.