yard maintenance on 3/1 single family house

12 Replies

Hi, We have a nice 3BR/1 Bath house that we just rehabbed.  Everything is new.  Roof, HVAC, kitchen, baths, flooring...  

It also comes with a decent sized yard.  It takes me 45 minutes+ to push mow.   I have been mowing it personally through the rehab, but we have decided to rent it rather than sell.   

We would like for the property to be maintained inside and out.   

What does everybody here do about mowing the lawn? Do you require the tenant to mow the lawn? Do you include it? If included, I'm sure you hire it out. We are in the Richmond, VA area if anyone cares to recommend a lawn care group that could service our growing portfolio.

Thanks in advance!


Most of the investors in my area require the tenants to mow for single families, and even duplexes.  In my multi-families with private yards, I require the tenant maintain their yard and I pay for the common areas to be maintained.  

You could require the tenants maintain and if they don't, you'll hire it out at their cost.

@Robert Stamper

You don't want to be in the lawn care business. Nothing eats at your profits like $250-$350 a month in lawn care services. Once you offer lawn care services, other lines are blurred. Do you offer snow shoveling? Do you remove leaves? Do trim bushes and mulch flower beds? Keep things simple and make it the tenant's job to maintain the yard.

That said, tenants generally don't take great care of a yard. Many avoid cutting the grass at all, and few would attempt such tasks as trimming bushes, mulching flower beds, and raking leaves.

My recommendation would be to let the tenant take care of the yard to their own level of satisfaction, and not get involved in unless they are breaking city laws such as letting the grass grow taller than 12 inches high. If you call a tenant every time you find the yard to be not maintained to your satisfaction, you will quickly find yourself in conflict with that tenant. When dealing with tenants is best to choose your battles and most lawn care battles aren't worth fighting.

If you are insistent on having the yard maintained to a high standard, then it is best to screen for that in a tenant from the beginning. If you rent a college kids that don't own a lawn mower, they probably aren't going to take care of the yard. If you rent to someone that owns their own lawn mower and takes an active interest in gardening, they may do a better job of maintaining the yard.

@Robert Stamper I manage a bunch of property in Richmond, VA and out of all of our investors, one of them hires/pays for a landscaper. He is buying $400,000+ houses cash in the best neighborhoods though, so it makes sense that he does it. Everyone else who is worried about cashflow does not. It is the tenants responsibility and they expect it.

Definitely do not supply a lawnmower!  That's asking for liability / injuries / repairs / etc. and filling it up with gas every two weeks :)

You definitely want the tenant to take care of the yard. Yard maintenance is much more than just mowing, it includes things at least in my state and my lease like trimming the trees, fertilizing the yard, trimming the bushes, treating for weeds, etc. There is also significant damage that can happen from mowing the yard such as rocks being thrown by the mower and breaking windows etc., and if you take responsibility for it, then you take responsibility for all of it. Let the tenant do their own lawn!

Supplying a lawnmower is just asking for trouble.  And it comes with more calls like the mower won't start or is making weird noises. 

I tell my tenants it will be an extra 150 each month to mow the lawn.  Not one has taken me up on that offer.  You can get a cheap mower for under 50 bucks used at a garage sale around here.  I have even hired out teenagers to mow my lawns if I can't get to it.  If you do go that route and take care of the lawn make sure you charge them the actual cost.