Rental Maintenance

Yard Maintenance in Rental Properties: Who is Responsible?

12242 views March 2, 2024 Karina Jugo 37

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?

Typical Yard Maintenance Arrangements

The responsibility for yard maintenance in a rental property is typically outlined in the lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant. The specifics can vary depending on local laws and individual agreements, but here are some common scenarios:

Landlord Responsibility: In some cases, landlords may take on the responsibility of yard maintenance and include it as part of the rent. This means the landlord or their hired personnel will mow the lawn, trim the bushes, and maintain the overall appearance of the yard.

Tenant Responsibility: In other situations, the tenant may be responsible for yard maintenance. This could include tasks such as lawn mowing, weeding, and general upkeep. In such cases, the landlord may provide the necessary tools and equipment, or the tenant may be expected to acquire them.

Shared Responsibility: There are instances where yard maintenance is shared between the landlord and the tenant. This could mean that the landlord handles certain tasks (e.g., major landscaping or tree trimming), while the tenant takes care of routine maintenance.

It’s essential for both landlords and tenants to clearly communicate and understand their responsibilities regarding yard maintenance to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts. The lease agreement should specify who is responsible for what tasks related to the property’s upkeep. If there is any uncertainty, it is advisable to seek clarification from the landlord or consult local rental laws and regulations.

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!

 

Authors

  • Karina Jugo

    Karina Jugo is a content administrator at RentPost who works directly with real estate and property management experts to create resources and guides for property managers. She has more than 15 years of experience in content research and writing for various industries.

  • Jacob Thomason

    Jacob Thomason is the CEO and co-founder of RentPost, software platform providing property managers, landlord or owners with the tools necessary for property management. Jacob is a software entrepreneur with with a vast array of expertise ranging from business concept design to software architecture and development. He is running RentPost for more than 14 years and helping property managers and property owners.

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