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Who’s Responsible? The Rental Home Lawn Care Debate

Chanda Gunter/Jason Schmitt

Questions to ask regarding tenants doing lawncare

Can you expect your property to be taken care of as well as you would if it’s a rental property?

A good looking lawn requires a lot of hard work and is a source of pride for any homeowner, but will the tenants take as much pride?

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 – Coeur d’Alene 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 home owner associations (HOA’s).

Full-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.

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 if the lawn is un-kept by some homeowner associations.

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.

Real Property Management is the national leader in property management and handles this and many similar situations daily. 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, just give us a call at 208-231-1964.

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