Should landlords or Property management pay city fines?

14 Replies

I got a violation letter from the city 3 months ago. They had the wrong owner address so kept sending them to a different address, so it took a month for the letters to reroute to my current address (I requested change to the city just this week). They also send a violation letter to the rental property, so I thought, the property manager would get the notification as well. Turns out they had no idea. The fine comes above $500. I am a bit annoyed because I thought the PM would at least know about this. Is this something I have no choice to take a hit for?

@Account Closed , I have to deal with such issues all the time both on my own properties and for my employers.  Why was the property fined?  Is it a single-family home or multi-family?  Can you identify the individual tenant who created the problem for which you received the fine?  If you can then you should chargeback that tenant for the $500.  If you can't identify an individual perpetrator then you might have to eat the fine yourself.  The cities on send Violation Notices to the mailing address listed on the Property Appraiser's web site.  Please provide more details.  

As @David Cruice mentioned.  Track down the tenant that caused the violation and have them pay for it.  Otherwise it is your problem.  A solution to ensuring this doesn't happen again would be to hire a yard maintenance crew.  

@Account Closed , when you say "refusing to move" what do you mean?  Do you have a lawn maintenance agreement in place?  Are you paying your property management company to arrange for this work to be performed?  It basically comes down to however you are paying to maintain the landscaping of our your property.  However, part of the blame lies on your shoulders because you didn't update the property with your new mailing address.  Nearly all cities give you a grace period to correct a violation before they hit you with a fine.  

How would the PM have known about it? They likely don't see mail that arrives at the property. The tenants, on the other hand, should have known about it AND were responsible for the weeds. I'd say it's on you for the wrong address situation, but it's more so on the tenants and you would have every right to charge them the $500. I would think.

@Ali Boone shouldn't the property manager be on the Tennant and reminding them about weeds/lawncare if the Tennant is taking care of lawn maintenance per the lease? If I had a PM for a SFR I would expect them to know the grass isn't being taken care of before the city starts sending notices.
Originally posted by @Matt P. :
@Ali Boone shouldn't the property manager be on the Tennant and reminding them about weeds/lawncare if the Tennant is taking care of lawn maintenance per the lease? If I had a PM for a SFR I would expect them to know the grass isn't being taken care of before the city starts sending notices.

Yes, that part they should for sure be on top of. But sometimes it's not always possible to catch it every time because they aren't always driving by the property. What I was talking about though was how the PM could have known they were being fined if the notice was mailed to the tenants.

@Jonathan Oh I literally went through this exact problem yesterday. I had some random “officer” call me and leave a message to call her back but no message as to what for. Call back no answer. Leave message no return. Do some digging, find it’s from the housing department. Alright look up my name, sure enough some violation for uncut grass from back in May. Total fees and violation 150 bucks. I pay it, and the tenant will be charged for it. But the good news is I got the name and number of a super helpful person in the housing department. So now I’ll just call him every couple months to check to see if I have any issues.

@Ali Boone I actually had a violation before this with the same situation with wrong address. I asked the PM to ask the city to send them a copy as well and to change my mailing address, but I turns out they never did it. I am just going to take care of it myself. It also irritates me that it's been an entire week before they even reply.

@Caleb Heimsoth Good idea! The city has a site where I can check any pending violations. I'll check that periodically from now on.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

@Ali Boone I actually had a violation before this with the same situation with wrong address. I asked the PM to ask the city to send them a copy as well and to change my mailing address, but I turns out they never did it. I am just going to take care of it myself. It also irritates me that it's been an entire week before they even reply.

They sent all the notices to the wrong address.  Not sure how that works but whatever lol

It's not clear from the original post if it's a SFR or multi, nor what lease provisions are in place regarding landscaping.

I have multi's where I am responsible for landscaping or designate a tenant to handle garbage and landscaping, but with a rent concession. The responsibilities are written into the lease and I go over it with the tenants.

With multi's especially on the city, tenants have a tenant mentality, and customarily they pay the rent, expect the sidewalks to be swept, garbage taken to the curb, grass if any mowed. So it's not for me to say "why didn't you take care of it" as it's something they would say to me. And if I show them a $500 ticket, say pay it, and ask him to work on weeds, they would give me a stunned look, think I'm crazy, and move out. In your case, the long delay cause by the wrong mailing address isn't even the tenant's fault.

For my SFR, I use to have arrangements with tenants to mow. I explain all this at lease signing, walking the tenant through the lawn. So they can't say they didn't know about it. Did you or your PM do that? Through the years, I got complaints from neighbors when grass grows to a foot high, and threats they'll call the town. For the last 15 years, I paid landscapers to mow, and it's a much better job. They do spring cleanup, weed control, and a professional job mowing including edging. When my tenants did it, they never edge, so the grass on the end grows sideway, sometimes to a foot long.

All the neighbors on the block, and in the area generally have well manicured lawns, properly edged, and I was the only one with an unkempt lawn, even after tenant mowing.

Some other benefits having a landscaper for an SFR if the vacancy occurs in winter, like two winters ago when it was vacant, my wife and I were both sick, they come and shovel the snow. And when I had spider infestation at the property the exterminator advised us to clear the area of grass next to the house, and the landscaper came and did that. Its not something that I would expect a tenant to get to.

While I was interviewing PM's once, I was told by one if I have a good reliable landscaping service, I could even skip a PM. He tells me during vacancies, I can have them come by and clear the place of debris and flyers that inevitably gathers. The with snow removal, I got most tasks outside the house taken care of. The landscaper I hired lives two blocks from the rental and pass by my property several times a day on the way home, something a PM doesn't even get close to doing.

My property manager handles all the maintenance, so it would fall on them, they should be checking the properties to make sure they are taken care of. the town has my address, cell phone number and email, they also know who my property manager is for all my properties. i would call the town hall and make sure that all the departments know how to get a hold of you or your property manager. all your information should be on their books for the taxes, start with the tax office, that's usually the main records they go by.