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Can I Clean Tenant's Apartment?

We have a tenant in an apartment attached to our house that decided to break her lease early and move. (Without discussing this with us.) The lease ends on December 1.

She did pay for the month of October, but she hasn’t been back to the apartment for two weeks. The electric is still on so we can’t say it has been abandoned.

According to the lease, we can show the apartment starting on November 1. We informed her of this last week and received no response.

The trouble is that the apartment is a complete mess. The floors are covered with trash and clothes. The kitchen counters are covered with empty wine bottles. Etc, etc. No real damage that we can see, just incredible clutter. (Yes, we peeked through the windows.)

We are concerned that the state of the place will turn off good tenants. Can we clean up the trash and box the clothing if our tenant doesn’t clean up the place before November 1 so that we can show a decent place? Do we need to inform her that we will be doing this cleaning in order to show the place?

As many of you might understand, we are worried we will have a vacancy for the winter months if we can’t present the apartment in a good light. It’s a nice place in a good location and we want a good tenant since we live next door.

Additionally, we explained to her that the sooner we can rent the place, the sooner she would not be responsible for the rent. Unfortunately, this did not seem to be a concern for her.

Thanks in advance and we have only two rental properties, if that makes a difference in accordance with Virginia law.

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