apartment property management

When owning and operating rental properties, there are numerous tasks and responsibilities that fall on the landlord or tenants, respectively. Sometimes landlords and tenants have different opinions on how these responsibilities should be allocated. One task in particular is the ever-loathed yard maintenance. I can already feel the unforgiving sun on my back and mosquitoes pestering me into madness, but the work has got to be done by somebody, right?

Should this task fall upon the tenants’ back? Well, like most issues regarding the management of rental properties, the answer is complicated. First, we need to establish the type of property that needs yard maintenance. If we are talking an apartment style property, then by all means that task should fall onto the landlord and their maintenance team.

The landscaping and maintenance of an apartment complex’s grounds can add or subtract to the appeal of potential tenants wanting to live on that property. This task is too important to risk letting tenants complete. That is why most apartment complexes have contracted lawn maintenance businesses to make sure their property is always looking its best. Hiring a lawn care company is an investment.

Unruly grass and weeds are not only unsightly, but they can also be a hazard, as they create a welcoming environment for dangerous animals, such as fire ants and snakes. With that hazard in mind, potential tenants would rightfully look elsewhere if the property looked unmanaged.

When No Turns to Maybe…

Properties with multiple units that are meant to look uniform and well managed should not be maintained by the tenants; however, what about singular propertie? Singular properties, like houses or mobile homes, are a different story. A singular home does not need to look uniform with an adjacent home, and the neighborhood does not have a central management system.

However, there maybe a homeowner’s association that could require a residents’ yard to be cut regularly and well groomed. In that case, the owner of the property has a choice to make regarding the allocation of lawn maintenance. If the homeowner’s association will fine the homeowner for not complying with their ordinances, it would seem like the landlord would need to make sure their lawn is up to code. However, if the resident is fined, it may be required that the tenant up-keep the yard.

The landlord also has the option of hiring a lawn care business to take care of the yard and raise the rent of the property to compensate for the cost of the yard services.

When the Argument is Already Over: Read Your Lease

If you are a tenant who thinks your landlord should be responsible for lawn care, regardless of the type of property you are renting, before you approach your landlord, you may need to take a look at your lease. Your argument for who should mow the lawn may be over before it even begins. If your landlord clearly stated in your lease that the renter is to claim responsibility for all yard maintenance, you might as well grab your large sun hat and gardening gloves because you are going to be the one pulling weeds and cutting the grass.

The lease will have the final word on many landlord-tenant disputes, and that includes the issue of lawn care.

should tenants do yard maintenance

Long Story Short

In most cases, it is not practical to expect your tenants to maintain their own lawn. Making sure your property is presentable to future tenants is a responsibility that falls on you, the landlord. At the end of the day, you cannot bank your return on investment in the hopes that your tenants have the same landscaping aspirations as you do, so it is best to handle that initiative yourself. However, that does not mean you cannot incorporate the cost of your lawn service into the price of their rent. That way, in the end, everyone is happy and your property looks pristine, as it should!

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. The essence on reading well your contract to ends up with no dispute before and after your stay. Disputes can be avoidable by securing everything and clears up any issue before and after you move in.

  2. Well landscaping is included in my rent however the owner and the landscaper are having a dispute. And in the meantime my yard looks bad but I paid. The property is handled by a property manager.

  3. My husband and I are owners of a house, not an apartment, and this past month my husband gave the renter $100.00 off of her rent because she mowes and waters the lawn. I feel that if she lives in the house, it should be HER responsibility. Thoughts anyone??

  4. Most renters are temporary, not hauling alot; they mainly intend to pay for a roof over their heads and move on and therefore don’t have yard work tools. It’s the property owner’s responsibility how his/her property looks. Hope presentable.

  5. We own a two flat house that we rent in a residential neighborhood that has a few other two flats. Our written rental lease states that the renter is responsible to mow but we have been mowing the yard because my husband gets annoyed when the grass doesn’t look the way he wants it. We do not offer a discount; we treat it as an extra benefit (doing so, you can look at it any way you like, a discount or an extra cost hidden in the rent) and that way it has a positive connotation on it without requiring us to by written contract. We have heard feedback from other local renters appreciative that we take care of our property and we have seen at least one other landlord begin to do the same. We have heard complaints from other renters where the landlord tries to have them share and coordinate lawn care in a two flat. For us, it’s just not worth the hassle. Renters really live with a different ability and sensitivity to lawn care.

  6. I have some concerns about my apartment.. The renewal of the lease added an addendum of CAM (care and maintenance) charges.. This is billed every month in addition to water/sewer. I can’t find anywhere anything saying that this is legal or illegal? It exclusively discusses commercial property because it is a commercial property type charge. It is my understanding that the rent should reflect these charges as a whole sum, not a separate bill over and above rent.. Is this correct? Where can I find any info about what is allowed?

  7. I rent a one bedroom on 1/4 acre of land. I pay good money to live there and keeping the yard up to date is NOT my responsibility. Its the home owners responsibility. So that means the lawn and the huge backyard and the flower gardens in front of the house. 8ts too much for me to do alone.

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