Who Pays for Office Cleaning Services, You or The Landlord?

01 December, 2022 / Bobby Samuels
NYC office cleaners at work, addressing hidden charges in commercial real estate leases.

There are many hidden charges that tenants have to worry about when leasing office space in New York City.These can range from trash removal, HVAC-related charges, a business improvement district tax, and more.

Yet one of the most overlooked of these hidden charges involves cleaning fees.

Office space cleaning costs are often overlooked when tenants are looking to lease a new space. This can be an expensive mistake. Monthly fees for cleaning services can quickly add up over a multi-year lease.

However, there are some instances where the landlord will cover part or all of your cleaning costs.

This brief guide will discuss scenarios where responsibility for office space cleaning is shifted to the landlord. It will also touch on when you’ll be on the hook for cleaning costs, how to best find and budget for a cleaning service, and much more.

When is Cleaning Included?

Generally speaking, the cleaning of all common areas (lobby, corridors, and restrooms) is always included whether the building is a Class A, B, or C property.

However, consider a Class A building if you have the budget, don’t want to hire a third-party cleaning service, and prefer not to clean your space.

Besides the potential amenities, office cleaning is free in most Class A buildings and included in the base rent.  This includes budget and small Class A buildings, where your monthly rent will not be much greater than many Class B buildings and represent great value. Your space will be vacuumed and dusted, and the trash will be removed several times weekly.

Class B properties in New York City may occasionally include cleaning in their base rent. Yet, most Class B or Class C buildings do not include cleaning of demised offices, and you, as the tenant, will need to hire the cleaning service.

Why Hire a Cleaning Service?

Sure, if you rent office space in a Class B or Class C property, you can try and get around cleaning fees by having your team clean. Yet, having your staff focus on tasks like vacuuming, dusting, and taking out the trash is not always pleasant.

Your workers will hate it, and you will, too, as a business owner.

Your team, first and foremost, are not professional cleaners. Moreover, cleaning wastes precious work time and distracts from your business’s core competencies.

How Much Will It Cost to Clean My Office?

If your landlord doesn’t cover your office cleaning, consider hiring a cleaning service active in the building rather than trying to handle cleaning yourself. Of course, this depends on whether or not you have the budget.

Budgeting for a cleaning service is not the most glamorous aspect of your search for office space in New York City. However, it is an important one. It is imperative to price out this service before you sign your lease so you can determine the total cost of leasing your space and avoid unanticipated expenses.


Ask many questions about this before you sign your lease. Speak to the managing agent and request the names of cleaning contractors active in your potential building. Ideally, more than one company will work in the building, enabling you to get a competitive quote.

Note that your costs will be higher if your building requires unionized workers. Hiring a “green” or sustainable cleaning service may also cost extra.

Generally speaking, if you and your team regularly frequent the office, you’ll want the office cleaned a few times a week. If this is the case, cleaning expenses can cost roughly $2.00 per square foot per year.

If you follow more of a hybrid work model, you will have fewer cleaning costs. Your staff will only use the office 2-3 days per week. You probably won’t need the office cleaned more than once a week.


If you lease office space in a Class A building and potentially a Class B building, you should not worry about cleaning costs.

However, more likely than not, if you lease or want to lease an office in a Class B or C building, budgeting for these costs is necessary.

Consider evaluating cost vs. quality. If one cleaning service is cheaper than another, see the mix of services. Talk to your building and other tenants, look for recommendations and read reviews. What do people say about their cleaning quality, value for money, and customer service?

Lastly, no single online listing database will mention a building’s cleaning services. They will never mention a building’s miscellaneous costs, including whether cleaning is included in the base rent.

On the other hand, an office space rental agency and tenant representative can help you with this info and more. Such as finding an attractive deal and knowing which building offers which amenity.

Plus, who knows? Maybe they can spot that odd Class B building with cleaning included in the base rent.

Figuring out your office’s cleaning situation can be a pain. However, working with a broker with years of experience and market expertise can help ease the process. They can help you find the right property with the best services and amenities for your business’s success.

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