I own a duplex. Is it okay to ask my tenants to cut the grass if i provide the lawn mower? Or is this tacky? The yard isn’t that big.
Lawn care, for their unit, should be specified in the lease. Typically in a age/duplex it is their responsibility. You can make any deal you want though.
Yes absolutely. Matter of fact we ask a tenant in unit one of a duplex to be responsible for all lawn care.
Best of luck in all your endeavors.
As Wayne said, they should be cutting their half of the yard anyhow. If you want them to do both sides, pay them to do the side that isn't theirs.
It's a stacked top and bottom duplex. Maybe I'll ask one tenant to be responsible for the front and the other to be responsible for the back.
I would not, under any circumstances, provide the lawnmower. If someone gets hurt via its use, your butt will be in a sling of epic proportions.
Usually landlords have a provision in the lease that says X tenant is responsible for mowing the grass, and if that task is neglected, the landlord will pay for it to be done and bill it back to the tenant.
In a duplex there is thee ways to handle lawn care and it should be detailed in a lease:
1. Owner provides - advantage is you know it gets done in a timely manner, so nobody is complaining (the city or one of the tenants). Disadvantage is cost and having to deal with it.
2. Each tenant mows their half of the yard - this can be a problem if it is not a side-by-side with defined property. It could also be overkill to have two people mowing a small yard.
3. One tenant is responsible - In this case I would give the tenant a rent reduction and detail that amount in the lease. Should they decide to stop mowing the lawn, you would start charging them the added rent.
Never provide the lawn mower. Not only due to liability but also because you will be stuck repairing it. Check your lease to see what it says about lawn care. If it is not spelled out that the tenant is responsible, it means you are responsible. You can modify the lease to make the tenant responsible, but compensate them with reduced rent.
If it is an up down and both have access to the front and back yard, at lease renewal, I would up the rent to include lawn cutting. You can then hire a company to come and do it.
I have never cut the grass for any tenant in any home I own.
I don't cut the gross nor remove the snow
As others said, go with what your lease says. If it's not outlined that they are responsible for the lawn, then you'll probably need to cut it.
Quite honestly, I just build the cost of the lawn into the rent amount for my duplexes. Then I atleast know the yard is being taken care of by my lawn gal.
@Samantha P. I am really not a fan of having tenants provide maintenance services... I still have this arrangement in place with one of my tenants in a 19 unit in Berwyn and I don't like it. When that tenant moves on, I will hire a landscaper to do the grass. The thing I don't like about having tenants perform maintenance is that they typically do not do as good of a job, and they do not take care of the equipment. For instance, I purchased a mower last year for the tenant and this year it wouldn't start because he left gas in it all winter. Guess who he called? Me. My landscaper would have been responsible for his equipment and baked it into the price.
@Samantha P. Lots of great suggestions. I’ll simply add to NOT provide the lawnmower. The liability is far too great.
I guess I will start putting it in the lease but It's never been an issue in any single family home I have. They all assume they had to cut grass and take care of the home's appearance.
We have allowed our tenants to mow the lawn in a single-family home they rented from us. Big mistake! They couldn't start the mower, although I could, and very easily.
Either do it yourself, or make sure their rent is high enough to cover the expense. Good luck!
@Paul Ouellette I just have to assume that is an isolated event. I don't cut the grass on any of my single family homes and no one I know does this either. In most cases, a person who can't do basis stuff like that moves to a condo. People moving to single family homes have a mentality to do it anyway. Why pay for something or have an unneeded headache you don't have to be responsible for? I have never had an issue there and they were In all low income areas.
I would not have the tenant cutting the grass in anything except a sfh.
In the suggestions above I would be very careful about any of the following:
Providing the lawnmower = I got burned on the lawnmower or a rock flew into my eye and it was becasue the lawnmower you provided me was not maintained and serviced to safety standards per the manufactures recommendations. And here is the letter from my lawyer saying you are responsible for all of my hospital bills as well as my workmans comp payments seeing that I was an employee of yours cutting the grass for your rental proerties.
Oh, you have insurance. Great. My lawyer cant find the workmans comp coverage you had on myself when you hired me as an employee under the laws of this state. By the way, I have missed several days of work due to this eye injury and will not be able to pay rent until you pay me the workmans comp salary I am due. Its all covered here in this letter from my lawyer.
Paying the tenant to cut the grass = see answer above
Reducing the rent to cut the grass = see answer above
Solution = Raise the rent to cover the cost of lawn care and hire a legit company with Liability and Workmans comp insurance and sleep well at night.
Or...cut it yourself and sleep better because you are tired.
Piling on to many similar responses...
I've been SFH landlord and renter many times in the past 20 years. In almost every case, the tenant has been responsible for mowing the lawn. We did own one investment property where the HOA did all the yard maintenance (condo). As a tenant, I was never provided a lawnmower. What's more, in one house we rented with a more strict HOA, we had the additional responsibility of making sure the entire yard was within suitable standards (mowing and edging the lawn, trimming bushes, removing weeds, etc.).
Whatever your policy, make sure it's in the lease.
In our apartment complexes, we do pay for the landscaping and maintenance of grounds. It would be rather difficult deciding who mows or who mows what in an 80-unit building....
I have always spelled it out in the lease who is responsible and what my expectations were for maintaining the lawn. This works well for single family homes and even duplexes. As noted, be careful about providing the equipment. If the lease stated that the tenant was responsible for lawn care and I noticed that it wasn't being done properly, I would then pay to have it done and bill it back to my tenants by putting a charge on their account. If they didn't reimburse me I would deduct it from the deposit.
Do not offer a rent credit prior to the work being done, as it will never get done. Credits can come the following month and/or at the end of the season. In NY the lawns may get mowed biweekly, so it's a marginal expense in the scheme of things.
Separately, this makes me think of when tenants ask "can we paint?" Earlier in my career I fell for this once or twice, but I have yet to find a tenant that can paint.
@Samantha P. Why not hire out lawn care and increase the rent. Early on I tried to let tenants care for the lawn. It just does work out well. That is no longer an option I offer.
Need to include it as part of the rules on the lease so that that they understand the expectations up front. Then you can enforce it.
I personally cut the grass at my rental, but it’s bc I’m a new landlord so A. I don’t trust my tenant to do it and keep it looking nice B. He’s older and I “inherited him” and per previous lease, landlord is responsible and C. It gives me a reason to lay eyes on the property once a month. I pay someone to cut it once a month so we essentially alternate and it’s cut every 2 weeks. I don’t think it’s a one size fits all.