Is the tenant responsible for lawn maintenance?

Household 2 min read

Your rental agreement should define who will handle yard maintenance. While property owners are often responsible for maintaining the property, some landlords may expect you to handle lawn care. Cities or states may have different laws regarding landlord and tenant yard maintenance responsibilities. If your rental agreement doesn’t specify who’s responsible for lawn care, you can negotiate a yard maintenance lease addendum that specifies everyone’s responsibilities to avoid disputes.

Do renters mow the lawn?

In a rental agreement, lawn maintenance responsibility typically defaults to the landlord as the property owner. This is because proper home maintenance is often a neighborhood or city requirement. The property owner is the one whose name is on file. Defaulting to the landlord ensures maintenance continuity regardless of whether tenants live in the home. Check if your local jurisdiction requires the landlord to perform exterior maintenance like lawn care. If your jurisdiction mandates landlords to handle lawn care, you can negotiate lawn maintenance responsibilities with a yard maintenance lease addendum.

Learn more about other questions to ask when renting an apartment.

What are tenant yard maintenance responsibilities regarding property damage?

While the law generally requires landlords to maintain properties, it also requires tenants not to damage the property or create unsafe, unsanitary, or illegal conditions in the house through neglect — like mold growth or violating fire codes. If a tenant’s careless actions damage the lawn, they may be responsible for repairs even if the lease agreement doesn’t require them to do ordinary maintenance.

Defining lawn maintenance responsibilities in rental agreements

When you first offer a unit for rent, you might wonder who is responsible for landscaping — landlord or tenant? If you’re a landlord concerned about taking good care of a rental home’s yard, it’s always better to specify each party’s responsibilities in the lease. According to Payrent.com, if the landlord assigns lawn and yard maintenance to the tenant, the lease must clearly state the details about the tenant responsibilities for yard maintenance. There are three basic models for framing a rental agreement regarding lawn maintenance.

Full-service

A full-service lawn care agreement means the landlord will provide lawn care services for the property. Having an agreement is the safest choice for landlords since they can ensure someone is caring for the property how they want. Landlords with multiple properties can negotiate a bulk rate with a lawn care company to care for all of them. Landlords can consider adding lawn care cost to the rent and including a tenant lawn care agreement. That way, the property is maintained, landlords don’t have to pay for the lawn service, and tenants only pay their rent.

Self-service

Self-service agreements specify in the lease that tenants are responsible for lawn care, shifting the burden of worrying about lawn care or hiring a landscaping company to the tenant. That’s one less thing for the landlord to manage, but there’s no guarantee that the tenant will take care of the property the way the landlord wants them to.

A la carte

Some rental agreements specify certain tasks for the tenant and assign other lawn maintenance responsibilities to the landlord. For instance, a tenant might be responsible for day-to-day maintenance like cutting the grass, while the landlord is responsible for extraordinary or seasonal maintenance like trimming trees or properly winterizing a home. Some a la carte agreements incentivize the tenant to perform the necessary work, like a discount on the water bill to offset the cost of watering the lawn or garden.

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