Should Tenants be Responsible for Yard Maintenance: Why or Why Not?

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!

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Kostner Guyton

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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??

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • We live in a apt and the apt has a private back yard and my landlord just said the garden guy responsible for common area. And if we want him to remove the weeds we need to pay him. Yes it is blocked off no one else can use it but it is still the landlords problem right or mine?

  • Question: If we are a renter and “Garden maintenance” is included in the rent.. what should that cover? There is no lawn (fake grass) yet the garden beds get weeds that we are constantly removing and the hedges are constantly overgrown. There are also trees next to the property that shed leaves into the yard that need removing. Yet we are paying for included “garden maintenance:..

  • I rent a house and we maintain our own lawn. Our problem is our landlords daughter has her son put all his junk in our yard. By junk I mean broken down 3 wheelers, used tires. They have taken over our backyard. Our landlord has told her to remove it but she won’t. Any advice??

  • I moved from out of state in February where there was still snow on the ground. When the snow melted in April, the yard was full of leaves, branches and trash from previous tenants. It’s obvious that the landlord or tenants did not maintain the yard before the winter started. I asked the landlord to maintain the yard since it was not done before I moved in. They told me it was my responsibility. I understand that it’s my responsibility to maintain the yard now that I am in the home but the yard was a mess before I moved in. What do y’all think?

  • I’m having this issue now with my owner and property management company. The owner pays for a lawn service once a week. These guys go back and complain stating I don’t water the yard enough which isn’t true the back sprinklers are broken. When I asked the lawn guys today about fixing them they accused me of harassing them and told the owner such. Then I get a call from property management stating they quit and my owner isn’t happy. I stated they actually came at me and got upset because I asked them about their work. Between the owner and the property management calling emailing over and over about this lawn I find it a bit much.

  • I don’t have a lease we are on a month to month agreement with our landlord who should take care of the property

  • I have a question. My lease says I’m responsible for the grass and shrubs. That’s fine but nothing is said about the trees growing over the power lines. I’m a senior citizen and I’m not going to get up on a ladder or a boom to trim them. How do I approach my landlord about this issue? Also does my landlord have the legal right to contact me every other week about how she can hire someone to cut the grass but it’s gonna cost me. I feel this is a bit of harassment since I’ve only been in the house 5 weeks.

  • The landlord of Cavalier Estate gives us the number that we can call if we need a yard maintenance just like cutting the grass, and then the day after we call the maintenance they will finish the job, sometime its our responsibility but they took the responsibility cause I’m busy at work too.

  • where can I report that a property owner who is renting is not assuring that the property is up kept.This home has cars in the front of the home for weeks and several in the back yard.

  • As a prospective renter, my perspective is that I’m paying the landlord to rent–they’re not paying me to house sit.

    Yard care is a part-time job that requires significant time for work and money for equipment. A property owner should take responsibility here and either do the work themselves or contract the work out to a lawn care company. As a tenant, I would assume this cost would be tacitly included in the rent like anything else.

  • I rented a place early spring and liked it because it was left ‘wild’ and I thought there would be nothing to do.
    I couldn’t use the back portal due to wind whipped dust and false sunflowers growing taller than I am. There is also a mother-in-law suite across the back area where there front door is.
    I decided to put in an Eco lawn and just maintain that area, which is a lot of work. The landlord did help some but it cost me a lot of time and money for research + push-pull to get things done right. (like not putting mud-caked decorative rocks on the weed barrier material around the lawn border).
    The perimeter I handle in stages though this year a weed from decades ago and took over the immediate perimeter and along driveways used by the neighbors behind me and the mother-in-law suite.
    I simply cannot handle it all. Most neighbors have tractors or weed eater machines which I don’t intend to buy. I did just spend another $300 on tools for a local gal to work on it by hand up ’til fall. I don’t wish to be indebted to neighbors or possibly ruin their tractor blades mowing around 1 acre of land – I technically use maybe 1/3 of it for extra parking, the rest is partially the mother-in-law suite and driveway-easement for 4 units total.
    I had cleared the direct perimeter (outside of an adobe wall) to do some weed material and rocks, hoping the landlord would pitch in but if the strange 30 year weed infestation happens again, it would be futile unless a huge amount is spent on slate rocks. The weeds could easily grow on top of weed barrier material with the amount of dust that flies here.
    I love my place but I’m not sure what is a fair solution and also don’t have money to move right now.
    It is ever a touchy thing to approach my landlord about even the smallest repair or cost so I’ve done most of it myself over 8+ years.

  • I have a lot of large limbs that came down in the dog pen after a bad storm. I am a tenant-at-will and my landlord used to do heavy stuff like this. He is threatening me with raising my rent because he can not longer do this stuff and would have to hire someone. He says it’s my responsibility but I have been asking him for months because I’m afraid the trees will fall on top of the house. Is it my or his responsibility. We have nothing in writing and I’m a senior citizen now and can no longer do this heavy work myself.

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