Renter Advice

Yard Maintenance in Rental Properties: Who is Responsible?

1228 views January 23, 2023 January 23, 2023 Angelina Zurzolo 5

Whether you own, manage, or live in a rental property, numerous tasks and responsibilities fall on the landlord and tenants, respectively. Sometimes landlords and tenants have different opinions on how to allocate these responsibilities.

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?

Type of Rental Property

Should yard maintenance fall upon the tenants’ backs? Or is lawn care part and parcel of the lease agreement? 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.

yard maintenance in rentals

Townhomes, apartments & condos

If we are talking about an apartment-style property, 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.

Yard maintenance is a too vital task to risk letting tenants complete. That is why most townhomes, condominiums, and apartment complexes have contracted lawn maintenance businesses to ensure their property is always looking its best.

Single-detached homes

Gardens and yards in multiple-unit properties are meant to look uniform and well-managed. For this reason, tenants shouldn’t be maintaining these themselves. However, what about single-detached properties? Singular properties, like houses or mobile homes, are a different story. A single-detached home does not need to look uniform with an adjacent home, and the neighborhood does not have a central management system.

However, a homeowner’s association may require a resident’s yard to be cut regularly and well-groomed. In that case, the property owner has a choice regarding the allocation of lawn maintenance. If the homeowner’s association imposes a fine for non-compliance with their ordinances, the landlord must ensure their lawn is up to code. 

The landlord can hire a lawn care business to take care of the yard and raise the property’s rent to compensate for the cost of the yard services. Alternatively, the tenant may offer to do the yard upkeep in exchange for a lower rent. If fines result from failure to comply, the tenant is responsible for shouldering the cost.

What the lease agreement says

If you are a tenant who thinks your landlord should be responsible for lawn care, check out your lease before approaching your landlord. Your argument on who should mow the lawn may be over before it even begins. That’s the first best step, regardless of the type of property you are renting,

If the lease clearly states that the renter is responsible 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 the weeds and cutting the grass. The lease will have the final word on many landlord-tenant disputes, and that includes the lawn care issue.

yard maintenance in rental property

Long story short

Hiring a lawn care company is an investment. Overgrown grass and weeds are not only unsightly; they can also be a hazard, as they create a welcoming environment for pests and dangerous animals, such as fire ants and snakes. With that in mind, potential tenants would rightfully look elsewhere if any rental property looked unmanaged.

In most cases, it is not practical for landlords to expect tenants to maintain their own yards. Making sure your property is presentable for future tenants is a responsibility that falls on you, the property owner. That said, refrain from banking your return on investment in the hopes that your tenants have the same landscaping aspirations as you do. Therefore, it is best to handle that initiative yourself.

However, that does not mean you cannot incorporate the cost of lawn service into the price of the rent. That way, in the end, everyone is happy, and your property will look pristine and attractive at all times!


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