Who Mows the Lawn? Handling Rental Lawn Maintenance

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on July 21, 2009 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs, Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

mowing-the-lawn on tenant screening blogNow that we’re in the middle of summer, some of you might be wondering how to handle taking care of the outside of your rental property. Whose responsibility is it to mow the lawn and trim the shrubs? Landlord or tenant?

Landlord practices are as varied as the colors of summer flowers. If your current procedure works, great! If not, here are some options you can explore, according to our informal survey of landlords:

Multi-unit building: Most agree it’s up to the landlord to maintain the common areas in an apartment complex.

Duplex: Our poll shows a majority requiring the tenants to keep up the lawn. Each tenant can be responsible for their half of a side-by-side; two-story tenants can take care of either the front yard or back yard.

Single Family Residences: These lawns are the tenant’s responsibility in almost all cases. Some landlords will supply the lawn mower (but certainly not the gas!). Be aware of two important facts: 1. You are incurring liability if you do supply a lawn mower for tenant’s use; and 2. If it’s a cheap one—it will break down.

Hiring a Service: Lots of landlords, especially those with multiple properties, hire a landscaping and lawn service to take away the hassle of mowing lawns or making sure their tenants do. Most add the cost into the rent.

Landlords Who Mow: Many landlords replied that they mow their own lawns, either because that’s how it’s done in their area, or because it gives them an opportunity to check on their properties. Good idea!  While it could be a major time consumer for you, it could make things easier overall—no issues with enforcing your rules!

Lease Language: If you expect your tenants to mow their own lawns, you must say so in your lease agreement. You can include language stating that if the tenant fails to keep the lawn mowed according to your wishes, you reserve the right to hire a professional and charge it to the tenant.

Whether you mow your tenant’s lawn or require them to do so, landscape maintenance is constant issue–and can be a major headache–for most landlords.

For more landlord resources, including forms and information on tenant screening, turn to E-Renter.com. You’ll know that you have the best possible tenants when you prescreen tenants.

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