Tenants & Yard Work
Many Tenants want the benefits of renting a house versus an apartment or condo, but then fail to properly maintain the yard.
We just received a citation warning from a local municipality about an overgrown lawn. Just another example of a tenant not taking care of the lawn as per their lease agreement.
Now we have to call the tenant and send them a warning email or letter. As the municipality has only given us seven day to correct the issue or they’ll ticket us, we can only give the tenant three days to address the lawn issue before we have it done and charge them for it.
This is not a fun part of our job as property managers.
About 80% of the tenants in properties we manage at least cut the lawn on a regular basis, so we don’t receive citations from municipalities. Really though, only 20% of our tenants maintain their yards properly – weeding, trimming, raking and cleaning gutters as required by their lease agreement.
This lack of proper attention to yard maintenance catches up to tenants when their lease ends and they move out. We have to deduct the cost of bringing the yard back to the state it was when they moved in, from their security deposit, which no tenant is ever happy about.
We’ve tried to address this yard maintenance issue by offering our tenants the option of paying us to take care of their yard work. For a flat monthly fee, we will have all the yard work handled for the tenant. Due to the number of properties we manage, we can negotiate a bulk price with landscaping contractors that is usually going to be cheaper than a tenant can hire it out for. It’s surprising though, how few tenants take us up on this offer.
So, we’ve had to add language to our lease agreements that states if a tenant’s failure to maintain the lawn results in us sending them two or more warnings, then we have the right to put the property on a monthly maintenance schedule and bill the tenant for it. Also, if there’s a ticket issued for a lawn problem, the tenant has to reimburse us for the ticket plus pay a processing fee for our inconvenience. Not what we want to do, but there’s really no way to “babysit” lawn issues on a daily basis to avoid issues with municipalities.
So, if you’re a tenant reading this, please understand that if your lease states you are responsible for maintaining the yard or your rental home, then you have a legal responsibility to do so. Failure to do so will probably have financial repercussions.