Tenants not keeping up with yard maintenance

11 Replies

My lease does state tenants are responsible for yard maintenance. The tenants are not doing a good job of edging/ mowing the yard. I am trying to be nice but I keep receiving letters from the HOA. What is the best way to approach this? I keep reminding them but it is getting old. thanks.

@Jeffrey Townsend I have language in my lease stating "...if tenant fails to mow and maintain lawn and grounds, Landlord will have the right to hire a professional service to mow and maintain the lawn and grounds, and Tenant will be responsible for all such expenses" to cover this issue. I also have something in my lease about being in compliance with "any and all HOA rules affecting the property".

If I were you I would look to not renew with them once their lease is up for renewal, find a tenant that is willing to take care of the property without constant micromanaging. 

I completely agree with Kevin. The number of months left in the lease will determine your course of action. You can ride it out or hit them with a bill. Are they treating the inside of the property this way?? 

My inexperience with being a landlord wants me to drive over and show them the HOA letter, but it's probably a terrible idea. haha

I was totally this tenant.

I took excellent care of everything, paid on time, great tenant, boring accountant. 

I just hated mowing the lawn. I ended up finding a neighbor kid to do it and paying him. 

Some people LOVE it, and will keep your lawn amazing. Spend all day Saturday out there. For others it's a chore. 

I think the solution is to have a clause in the lease that if a HOA notice is received or on an inspection shows the lawn not maintained- you will hire someone to maintain it for the tenant at the cost to the tenant. I think the flip side is it has to be a reasonable amount. If it's $200 a month- they won't do it and will want to maintain themselves, and you'll be stuck.

If it's $50 a month. Everyone wins. 

99% of tenants want nothing to do with maintaining the rental they live in. This is one one the big reasons they rented instead of buying a house. When they signed your lease their heads were in the clouds about this great new place and the trip to Bed Bath and Beyond for all the fun things to make it more homey. They yard maintenance is a drag and actually costs them money they hadnt really planned for...even though its listed in the lease as their responsibility. 

For any costs like this that potentially incur liablilty for you if the tenant does not pay, you must control them and figure the cost into the rent so it gets done/paid. Same goes for city/town water/sewer bills. 

come up with an addendum to your lease and charge the $XX more to have the yard maintained. At the very least, give them the names of a few dependable lawn services who do work in the neighborhood to call and get service set up. If you leave it in the tenants hands you will loose. 

@Jeffrey Townsend I have seen this on one of our properties, and it makes sense interestingly. The previous tenant was into planting tomatoes and gardening and all that, and a new tenant left it to overgrow. 

For the most part, tenants have no interest in maintenance and that is why some people just rent. 

More notably, they no financial interest to maintain your property, I mean some of them don't even take care of inside of the house (Class A or D) - doesn't matter.

For this reason, I just get a guy to go there to do it for a few bucks and it beautifies my property... Cost of doing business. 

I give them a choice and it's stated within the lease...they will maintain the property and I list what that entails.  Also a simple clause that prohibits any in ground planting without written permission from the landlord.  I will have the grass cut for them if it's determined before the lease is signed that they want me to be responsible...I then invoke that within the lease at an exorbitant rate that covers my time and expenses plus profit, regardless whether I do it or hire out.  Choices work in your favor since one way or another they will have to pay whether they do it, hire out or default to you.

For more than one of our properties, there is a local ordinance requiring the grass to be no higher than a certain amount, leaves have to be at the curb by two specific dates for city pickup, no snow on sidewalks, etc.  These ordinance based items carry municipal penalties to the property owner....A landlord induced penalty for a municipal penalty is also outlined in a simple lease clause.  Same sort of thing with utilities that are billed to the landlord if the tenant goes into arrears.  Penalty added and full amount demanded immediately.  Humans by very nature are pain avoiders.

Options are pretty straight forward. They are in breach of the lease....
(1) They start doing the maintenance as stated in the lease or you evict or non-renew
(2) You hire someone to do it and the tenant pays the added fee
(3) The tenant pays the HOA penalties until compliance is met

Unless you have a VERY basic yard or a very motivated tenant, the best option is to hire someone to do it and take that option out of the hands of the tenant.....the majority wont do it to a reasonable standard

Forward them the letters so they know you aren't making it up and then have them sign an addendum to your lease that states if you get another letter from the HOA that you the landlord will hire a professional landscaper to come and mow the lawn at the tenants expense.

See how they react to that and take it from there. They may be fine with paying you to hire a professional landscaper if your home is somewhere they like living and if they are good tenants otherwise. 

@Jeffrey Townsend how much time is left in the lease? I would simple not renew it when the lease is due to be renewed. In the meantime I would find out if you can legally charge them if you pay someone to cut the grass in your town or city. If you can I would charge them and pay someone to cut it. Even if you can't charge the tenant I would find someone to cut it and pay them. The HOA fees will likely be more than paying someone to cut the grass and the tenant could leave without paying the fees.