Who handles lawn maintenance

14 Replies

I am looking to purchase my first rental property. 

It is a single family home, with a lawn (totally flat). Nothing to large. Would estimate 30 minutes using push mower.

The property has a shed.

Whose responsibility is it to mow the lawn? Mine, as the landlord, or the tenant?

Should I supply the lawn mower?

Is it best to pay a service and pass the cost through on the rent?

Thanks in advance.

It's your choice on who does it. If you don't want to personally do it, I recommend hiring a lawn service and just include that cost in the rent. Tenants don't always do a good job or keep up on it.

@Steve Colonnello The landlord makes the decision about who cuts the grass. Many renters of single family homes are responsible for cutting their own grass. The landlord, or property management company sends an email or makes a visit to the renter(s) whenever the grass is in an overgrown state for a length of time. 

We have it in our lease that the tenant cuts the grass and shovels the snow. It has not been a problem for us. Perhaps we have been lucky.

I would either hire someone to do it and pass the cost onto the tenant or have the tenants do it. I would not set yourself up for the stress of doing it yourself.

@Steve Colonnello Adding to what others have already posted - I would also look at your local market and find out what the standard is there. 

As a thought - you could have the lease require them to maintain the lawn and, if they don't, allow you to pay for a service and bill back the tenants. 

Regardless of your decision, I would make sure you have a strong lease to enforce it, while ensuring your actions are aligned with local ordinances. 

I forgot to add that we do not provide the lawn mower. The tenant does. We did that deliberately so that we would not be responsible for repairs or even worse if the tenant was to be injured with it we did not want any responsibility.

I have single family rentals with small yards. The yards would cost $20 to have mowed. If I had it mowed biweekly, I would probably pay around $250/year.

So, I give the tenant a choice. I will provide a mower and they can mow it, or $20 per month on the rent and its included. They almost always choose to mow themselves.

I do have to monitor to make sure they mow. After a while you know who will do it and who won't. So, then you only have to keep an eye on the ones who need to be prodded.

If they aren't diligent about mowing, I can always take away the option when its time to renew the lease. Most of my tenants take care of it without prodding. So, it isn't an issue. I also make sure the landscaping is simple and clean. This way all they have to do is mow. If there are other areas prone to weeds or whatnot, I will sometimes weedwack or spray for weeds a couple times a year just in the normal course of being at or near the property. I don't make any special effort.

I might be in the minority here and I do circle back to this question from time to time when I'm reviewing costs, but I've typically included the lawn maintenance in the rent.  My rentals are in Florida and the grass grows fast.  Mowing once per week is almost required.  Put it off for three weeks and you've got a jungle.  On top of that, trees, shrubs, etc need constant pruning.  I'm afraid leaving it to the tenant would mean it would't get done at all and my properties would quickly look like a snap shot from the Amazon.  

Depends, who gets cited if it is not mowed? where are you located? Who is the tenant base? how big is the yard? For the most part we mow, I never let student tenants mow and i have never provided a mower.

If it’s a single family home my tenant takes care of the lawn. No lawn service required

My tenants are always responsible for mowing their own yards. I have a house outside the city limits and trash is an additional fee. I have the tenant pay for the trash as well.

I would never provide the lawn mower. As someone else mentioned, you would then be responsible for repairs and it becomes a liability issue.

@Steve Colonnello Its your house you make the rules. I personally make all my tenants mow their own grass and maintain the yard. They supply all their own equipment. If the don;t maintain to my standards my lease says will send someone over to take care of it and charge them. They agree to this when the sign the lease.

Do you want to mow their grass or pay someone to do it? If not require them to do it.

I only need to deal with this when I have a vacancy.

@Joe Hines thanks for this. I too have rentals in Fl. And only a few tenants have maintained it as it should be. Often things become overgrown and start to look awful. I bought my properties cheap and can afford to include it and still cash flow plenty. And still be under the tent average for the area. Peace of mind.