Outdoor Maintenance on a Single Family Home

9 Replies

Hi folks. We are renting out a SFH for the first time and I was wondering what are the customary maintenance requirements normally imposed on the tenants. I'm thinking of things like mowing the lawn, weeding the gardens, trimming the hedges and the like. What do you do?

I'm currently re-writing mine and after living in the lower part of a duplex between two SFH rentals, I don't want mine to end up looking like theirs when I move out. Tenants will never take as good of care as you will, so put it in their lease. Require them to be responsible for mowing, snow removal, edging and weed wacking, cleaning out landscaping beds of leaves and weeds, trimming shrubs and trees in the spring and fall.

Hi Bob.

You could have them do any of these. Mowing the lawn is very common. I could see trimming the hedges. I know quite a few homeowners that don't do much with weeding so good luck with that one...:) I think the biggest thing is to make sure that whatever responsibilities you decide on are clearly stated in the lease. I would also go over this with the tenant at the lease signing and have them initial this section.

Sine this is your first time landlording the MOST important thing is the tenant screening. It is an absolute must to be through in the due diligence of this if you want to be successful.

Landlording on Autopilot by Mike Bulter is a great book\resource on landlording.

@Marcia Maynard did a podcast that discusses a lot about landlording. Here is a link to it...there is also an very good list tenant screening interview questions.

http://www.biggerpockets.com/renewsblog/2014/08/14...

Good Luck!!! Let us know how it goes or if we can help.

Hi Bob --  I include yard maintenance in the lease and we discuss it during the lease signing.  I also mention that uncut grass can result in a fine from the county and if I get fined, I pass that on to the tenant.  Then I mention that if they do not have time or interest in maintaining the yard, I can have the company that cuts my yard give them a call.  In the past I have also offered to increase the rent and add yard maintenance.  

Best, 

Teresa

With my SFH rental the lease states that the tenant is responsible for mowing the lawn weekly, spring and fall clean up and snow removal. I'm responsible for cleaning the gutters, fence painting, fertilizing, mulch and shrub trimming. I provide a new lawn mower, gas can, rake and tarp. This allows for no excuses.

In most of the flower beds I have put down landscaping fabric and 3/4"- 1" washed river stone. If the tenant decides not to plant flowers in the stone beds I spray them with round-up. This keeps the weeds down and makes them look presentable with minimal effort.

Originally posted by @Amy L. :

If tenant  is responsible for lawncare and the Azaleas die, can i deduct the replacement costs from the deposit? 

 Not unless you can prove they killed them. Plants die sometimes. You might "know" they died because they were neglected, but proving it is another thing entirely.

Originally posted by @Richard C. :
Originally posted by @Amy L.:

If tenant  is responsible for lawncare and the Azaleas die, can i deduct the replacement costs from the deposit? 

 Not unless you can prove they killed them. Plants die sometimes. You might "know" they died because they were neglected, but proving it is another thing entirely.

 There would have to be a coroner's inquest...  :)

I'd check your local city ordinances on what you can ask of the tenants and what you can't. I have rentals in places where I cannot ask them to do yard work or shovel the snow without some sort of written agreement between me and the tenant and some consideration (rent reduction or $ in exchange for doing those services). 

I'd also consider what you trust your tenant to do with your property! Like "yard work" could turn into them making an eyesore overgrown, crazy garden out of your once meticulously landscaped front yard. Snow removal can also be tricky. For example, I have a rental in MN and I have to plow/shovel if a certain amount falls within a certain amount of hours. It snows a lot there, of course. I hired a snow removal company. I'd reduce rents to have a tenant do it, but I don't trust the tenants to do it promptly or well. Maybe they are out of town or at work, or just don't care. If someone slips and falls on some icy steps, and I didn't remove snow...uh oh...

So, I don't give my tenants any responsibilities that I'm not allowed to give them, of course, but also ones that would potentially hurt the value of my property or put me at risk if not done correctly or on time. 

For me, leases have become more restrictive over the years. Like tenant cannot _____ (paint, remove/attach fixtures) etc without written consent. They do crazy stuff sometimes! Ha.