Renters are often responsible for the lawn care duties a property requires. Although some leases might outline a different approach, the tenant must usually care for the grass.
If you’re renting and don’t care for the lawn, that could be grounds to initiate a breach of contract action. Although it would be unusual to pursue eviction for refusing to mow, it isn’t unprecedented.
When it’s your responsibility to care for the grass, and there isn’t enough time in your schedule to do so, hiring a professional lawn care company can meet the obligations of your lease.
How Do I Know If I’m Responsible for Lawn Care as a Tenant?
When you look at your rental agreement, you’ll see one of three options included when reviewing the property care section.
- Full-Service Lawn Care. If you see this kind of language in your lease, it suggests that the property owner is responsible for taking care of the lawn. This stipulation includes snow removal, ice management, and landscaping improvements. Landlords using this option usually hire a professional team for their maintenance needs, and the cost is typically incorporated into the rent.
- Self-Service Lawn Care. When this terminology is included with a lease, it indicates that the tenant is 100% responsible for the grass, flower beds, landscaping, and other needs. The benefit of this strategy for landlords is that they don’t need to deal with the maintenance work, but the downside is that there could be modifications made that aren’t appreciated. The easiest way to avoid a conflict here is to hire a local agency to handle the task.
- A la Carte Agreements. Some rental agreements outline specific responsibilities that tenants and landlords must perform when caring for a property. In this situation, the landlord might agree to pay for fertilizing, aerating, and a portion of the water bill to care for the lawn. The tenant might be required to mow, weed, and irrigate the grass to ensure it stays lush and green.
State and local landlord-tenant laws govern stipulations that can or cannot be put into a rental lease. If you’re unsure of your responsibilities in this area, it helps to speak with an attorney familiar with these matters.
All agreements for property care should be in writing.
What If I Have a Separate Contract for Lawn Care?
Some landlords or property management companies might offer a small rental discount in exchange for taking care of the lawn and landscaping needs. This opportunity isn’t always included in a lease, but it should be available as a separate written contract.
If you have a contract, even if it is a verbal agreement, the terms are likely enforceable.
When lawn care is included in a lease, most states say the tenant is only responsible for keeping it in the same state as it was in when they moved into the home. If the lawn is already a mess, it’s an unreasonable expectation to have the tenant make improvements. That’s why having a lawn care company you trust is essential for maximizing the value of a rental property.