Tenant wants to take over weeding/raking/gardening duties.

17 Replies

I have a fourplex, and one of the tenants (a young single guy looking for ways to make money) said he would take care of basic landscaping on the property for $20 per week.  Does anyone have an agreement for this that specified gardening duties that would be fair for $20 per week?

We have only allowed 1 of our tenants to do this. 

Tenants will not normally take care of the yard maintenance but will allow it to get out of control. You would have to check up on it constantly and it is normally a much bigger hassle then it is worth.

The one tenant that does do it is one of the best tenants that we ever had. They have made our rental their home. We have a neighbor that we are in contact with and they let us know if there are any concerns at the property. The only time that they called us about the grass being an issue is when we had a bum landscaper doing it. 

I would be cautious about this. What are you doing about the landscaping now? How involved is it? Is it just grass cutting or are there hedges and flower beds etc. If it is just grass cutting and trimming, does he even have a lawn mower or do you have to supply that? Weed whacker? 

And what about taxes? are you going to take $20 per cut off the rent or will he bill you and then you pay him? Could be more trouble then its worth in the end

@Logan Allec I would recommend against this.  They will likely not take care of it to your level of satisfaction, and its not like you can fire them for not performing.  The fact that its a fourplex, means that if your tenant does not take care of the property, then its affecting three other tenants.  

I tried this once with a duplex, and the tenant never kept up with the property, any only got on it went I mentioned it.  Total pain.  If you want to pay someone, pay a professional that you can fire/replace if they dont take care of the place.

Whenever I rent out a single family home, 95% of the time I have the tenants take on the yard care.  The 2 exceptions are 2 houses I have without garages, so they have no where to store a lawnmower and other lawn equipment, in which case I have a guy come over and do that.

I have duplexes, and I write in the contract (individual contract for each unit) that the tenant is responsible for grass and snow and for all liabilities if it is not performed (city fines and etc.)  Verbally, when signing the lease, I mention that is it up to them to decide who and when does what, but if I get charged, both of them are liable.  I let them work out the schedule and it seem to work just fine for me.

My question is, does your tenant do upkeep now? Is it in his lease now to take care of a corner of the lot, like Steve R.'s contract states for his tenants? Around here, its written into contracts whether its in a Notes line at the end, or addendum, or additional information, etc.  Is his area of the rental a hot mess or is it the tidiest? If he is doing nothing to take care of his portion, its going to probably the same after he gets paid weekly for the work he should be doing.  $20/week is not much of an incentive to do more than nothing. If that makes sense. You can always hire a mow-blow-and-go contractor on a weekly contract, negotiate a discount for regular weekly work, and save yourself a hassle. Vet your contractors - check out some of their other jobs they have, check their licensure, etc, and you will have a better shot at not wasting money on bad ones.  Best of luck ! 

I have nine units at this time. Out of those, three units I provide lawn care and the other six the tenants take care of. So far no issues with any of them. I would probably like to contract for the other six but with rents escalating so high in this area getting another $60 a month to cover lawn care may not be feasible. Your tenant is asking for $80 per month. I would contract with a professional for that price.

Not recommended! This applies to any and all kind of work to be done. I've been there and done that. With lawn and pool work. Just hire an independent, professional party.

Possible problems:

  • Liability
  • Reliability
  • It can affect tenant/landlord relationship and the other tenants.
  • Accounting issues
  • Possible equipment issues

It's better to hire someone else to do the work to avoid the above possible problems. 

Oh! And never hire someone you can't fire. 

I hope this helps!


You are literally hiring a tenant.  State Employment Regs come into play, meaning SSI, Withholding, Workmans Comp - - it's a bigger problem than any LL should ever undertake,

NO!

@Logan A. I would recommend not letting your tenants take care of the landscaping in return for money off of the rent.

It is a slippery slope for several reasons and almost all of them have been mentioned in this post.

  • What if they start off doing a great job and lose interest in doing the landscaping?  You think they are going to just start paying more again in rent?
  • If other tenants get wind of them getting discounted rent, what will their reaction be to them and you?
Originally posted by @Dawn Anastasi :

Whenever I rent out a single family home, 95% of the time I take on the yard care.  The 2 exceptions are 2 houses I have without garages, so they have no where to store a lawnmower and other lawn equipment, in which case I have a guy come over and do that.

 Is there any reason you decide to do it 95% of the time? I can understand having to do it with multi family but for single family I would think it'd be easier to just have the tenants take care of it themselves.

Originally posted by @Chris K. :
Originally posted by @Dawn Anastasi:

Whenever I rent out a single family home, 95% of the time I take on the yard care.  The 2 exceptions are 2 houses I have without garages, so they have no where to store a lawnmower and other lawn equipment, in which case I have a guy come over and do that.

 Is there any reason you decide to do it 95% of the time? I can understand having to do it with multi family but for single family I would think it'd be easier to just have the tenants take care of it themselves.

 Wow, somehow the words "have the tenants" got missing after the word "I" which changed the whole meaning of what I wrote.  I have the tenants take care of the yard care 95% of the time for single family homes.

I think it depends on the tenant, if it's someone you trust and you know is responsible, I'd give it a thought. But I don't think it's the best idea, simply because as most people here mentioned, you shouldn't hire someone that can't be fired. There is the issue of reliability, issues with taxes in the future, and how it might affect the other tenants as well as yourself. You're probably better off hiring a pro.

I would argue a tenant in a SFR or Duplex is just taking care of their residence. Buildings 3 units and greater, a lawyer could make an argument the tenant is an employee and has work comp rights.

Again, grey area and every state could handle differently.