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Who’s Responsible? The Rental Home Lawn Care Debate


Is it my responsibility to mow the lawn in my rental home?  Who shovels the snow, rakes the leaves, or pulls the weeds?

A good looking lawn requires a lot of hard work and is a source of pride for any homeowner, but what if you don’t live in your home? The rental home lawn care debate is a very common issue that should be addressed, agreed upon, and put into your rental agreement or lease. If your home is occupied by tenants, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does a tenant take as much pride in your lawn as you do?
  • Can you expect your property to be taken care of as well if it’s a rental property?
  • What are the expectations and responsibilities of the tenant/landlord relationship when it comes to lawn care?

As a property owner, you want to make sure your lawn looks good, is healthy and well taken care of. Discussing your concerns and expectations with a future tenant is recommended as is documenting your agreed upon terms in your rental contract or lease.

Our professionals at Real Property Management Excellence, suggest 3 different strategies for lawn care; Self-service, full service, and an a-la-carte-agreement. There are pros and cons to all three strategies and you want to make sure you consider all rules, regulations, and laws in your local municipalities and homeowner associations (HOA’s).

Self-Service Lawn Care

A self-service lawn care agreement means the tenant is responsible for all aspects of lawn care, i.e. mowing, fertilizing, watering, weeding, and any other care or maintenance needed. The advantage to this scenario is you, the landlord, don’t have to deal with it. The downside comes if or when the tenant either neglects the lawn completely or doesn’t care for the lawn as agreed to. In some areas, penalties and fines can be imposed on the property owner from their local municipality if the lawn is un-kept and homeowner associations can do the same.

lawn service yard care weed eating leaf blower worker gardener landscaper rental home lawn careFull-Service Lawn Care

A Full-Service lawn care agreement is when the property owner takes all the responsibility of lawn care. In climates where there is frequent snow, snow removal is sometimes included in this scenario.  Usually, the landlord hires out a lawn care service to care for and maintain the lawn. The advantage, of course, is having a professionally licensed company responsible for your lawn. The downside, if any, would be the additional cost of the service however, some property owners include this added fee into the rent.

A-La-Carte Agreement

An a-la-carte agreement is a “middle of the road” type of agreement made between the property owner or property manager and the tenant. For example, the property owner may be willing to fertilize the lawn and pay a portion of the water bill to ensure the tenant waters the lawn adequately and the tenant is required to only weed, mow and water the lawn.  This arrangement can be very beneficial to both because only a portion of the responsibility is on either party.

In our experience, the first step is to decide on what works best for you, the property owner, but try to be flexible. Weigh the pros and cons, check your local laws and regulations surrounding your home, perform proper tenant screenings, discuss the options and no matter what you and your tenant decide upon, make sure your agreement is in writing, preferably in your rental agreement.  Should you need professional assistance with any aspect of your rental property, we are here to help.

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