So who is responsible for handling lawn care services in a rental property?
Who should be responsible for mowing the lawn?
What about trimming the hedges, raking the leaves?
Cleaning the gutters?
As if that weren't enough, don't forget removing the snow?
If you are obligated to water the lawn, does the landlord have to pay the water bill?
As a tenant or a landlord there are many factors to consider when figuring out who is responsible in paying for lawn mowing, and lawn care services.
Here's the thing, whether you are moving into a new place, or have invested in your first rental property, you should be informed about the lawn care laws that affect the property.
This is an age old question that has plagued the minds of both landlords and renters from the beginning of property ownership, and rent.
Though there may be laws about the appearance of a lawn, or property, lawn care agreements are largely determined by the location and the local market.
When considering who is responsible for handling the necessary lawn maintenance services, there are several things that both the landlord and tenant should consider.
Lets take a look at what it takes to make a working lawn care agreement.
There are 3 types of lawn care agreements that landlords and renters may chose to agree upon.
- Self-Service Lawn Care
- Full-Service Lawn Care
- A-La-Carte Agreements
1. Self-Service Lawn Care-
This type of lawn care agreement leaves the tenant responsible for all aspects of lawn care.
Anything that needs doing, is to be done by the tenant. This includes mowing, weeding, fertilizing, watering, mulching, cleaning gutters,etc.
Though this agreement leaves the landlord free of lawn care responsibilities, they also run the risk of improper, or incomplete lawn maintenance. This may lead to fines or penalties to the landlord from the local municipality, if any laws apply. This type of agreement is particularly risky for the landlord if the rental is in a Homeowners Association (HOA).
But there’s a catch this agreement can work if the responsibilities for the tenant are clear and defined, otherwise there may be disagreements down the road. However, landlords should remember there are few tenants that will care for the lawn as much as they would expect.
If you do enter a self service agreement, check out some of our articles like this one The Ultimate Guide to Trimming Bushes
2. Full-Service Lawn Care-
With a full-service lawn care agreement, the property owner will handle all aspects of lawn care.
In most instances the landlord would contract a professional lawn care service to conduct regular lawn care duties. In climates where snow is common, snow removal would often be included in the yard maintenance as well.
The advantages of this for the tenant are that they don't need to worry about handling lawn care, and the landlord knows it is getting done right. The downside of course for the landlord being that they are stuck with the bill. This type of lawn care agreement would likely raise the rent a bit too, but all in all there are no questions or headaches for either party. This is likely the best option for landlords renting out a property in a HOA, apartment complex, or if they many properties in the same area.
As a landlord you can find great lawn care professionals using GreenPal.
You can also find many articles on hiring the right service like What is a fair hourly rate or lawn care?
3. A-La-Carte Lawn Care agreement-
This agreement is simply somewhere in between the other two.
The agreement may state that the landlord will pay professionals for garden maintenance and lawn fertilizing, but the renter will be responsible for mowing and watering the yard.
This type of agreement can work well for both parties as a middle of the road agreement. By cutting the costs the landlord will have to pay, and requiring less work for the renter. This type of agreement should be laid out with specific the specific responsibility for each party, as any grey area may not fare well for the either party.
Looking to learn more, check this out
What's the Bottom Line?
There are many types of agreements that can be struck between a tenant and landlord, regarding lawn care duties.
- Be able to uphold the requirements.
- Be sure that the responsibilities are fair.
- Be informed about what is fair and normal for your area.
- Be aware of the expectations, and duties you are responsible for.
- If you want ask a local rental agency to help you be more informed.
- Be aware that it may be best to at least pay for some yard care services.
- Be aware that tenants will almost never treat the lawn as well as you will.
- Be aware that town laws or HOA rules may obligate you to maintain the yard.
In the end, there aren't many laws obligating the landlord to include lawn care services in the rental lease.
The role of the tenant in the lawn care is largely determined by the landlord, both parties must be certain as to the specific roles that each party will take in caring for the lawn.
Looking for more to read? Check out These Lawn Care Tips