Adding cleanliness conditions to RTA agreements

Question from Carol updated on 18th November 2010:

I'm moving overseas so renting out my property through a property management company. I mentioned to my PM about inserting various conditions into the tenancy agreement ie at the end of each tenancy, the tenant is responsible for having the carpets professionally cleaned. My PM said you cannot put such conditions in as there is a Residential Tenancies Act which gives both landlords and tenants legal rights and obligations. Is this the case? If extra conditions are agreeable by both landlord & tenant, why can't they be inserted in addition to the standard Residential Tenancy Agreement?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Tenants are required to leave the premises (including carpets) reasonably clean and tidy at the end of the tenancy. If the tenants have left the carpet in a reasonably clean condition, then to require them to have the carpet commercially cleaned would be to hold the tenants to a higher standard than is required by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act).

Provisions that are inconsistent with the Act are generally unenforceable. The Act also prohibits tenants from waiving their rights under the Act. Any clause of a tenancy agreement that removes rights from the tenant that is granted to them by the Act will not be enforceable, even if the clause is in writing and has been signed by the tenant. As an alternative, you could notify tenants that the landlord may seek compensation for the costs of cleaning the carpet if it is not left reasonably clean at the end of the tenancy.

More information is available at To discuss your situation further, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing on 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.


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