Lawn maintenance frustrates tenants and landlords alike. Landlords don’t really want to pay for it and tenants don’t want to deal with it. But who is actually responsible for keeping the yard under control?
When tenants ask us, we tell them it’s more common for them to be responsible. When landlords ask, we recommend that those with high-maintenance yards hire a lawn service.
In this common tenant-vs.-landlord debate, the responsibility shifts depending on the circumstances.
If you’re trying to figure out the best option for your property, these key considerations may swing your decision.
When Landlords Should Handle Lawn Maintenance
Landlords, will a tenant take as much pride in the property as you? Probably not, but does that matter? A tenant can easily take care of a simple yard that requires regular mowing and edging. Just build those terms into the lease. However, if you have extensive landscaping, multiple levels to your yard, or a garden to maintain, it’s best to hire a lawn service.
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Also, if you’re nearing the end of a lease and starting the search for future tenants, consider curb appeal. When you rely on the tenant for lawn care, you put yourself at their mercy. Maybe they meet lease requirements for mowing, but don’t take the time to edge and trim. Tenants typically aren’t as thorough as a lawn company. To keep your house at its best for upcoming showings, it’s better to take responsibility for the yard.
Marketing for an Owner-Maintained Lawn
Owners, be deliberate in your phrasing as you market your owner-maintained lawn. Rental applicants respond much more positively to the idea of “lawn care included” as opposed to “plus an additional” amount to cover lawn service each month.
Sometimes, landlords want to add $100 for lawn care each month. When you itemize added expenses (either for the yard, a fridge, or a washer/dryer), tenants turn down the extras. In order to save a little money, they’ll opt to do it themselves.
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Instead, if you want responsibility for the yard, set the rent a little higher and market it as “lawn service included.” The premium price will attract a more premium buyer. Those are the people who value their time enough to pay a little more for not having to take care of the lawn.
The Tenant’s Lawn Maintenance Checklist
If you opt to let the tenant care for the yard, give them a checklist of items to maintain. Then, divide the list into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Add seasonal tasks that only need to be done at those specific times of year. If there are easily overlooked tasks specific to the property, include those as well. Also, keep in mind that water bans are frequent in the DFW area. Give an action plan for when they take effect.
By communicating specific expectations, you’ve equipped your tenants to keep the exterior of your house looking clean and well-kept. You and your yard will be in much better shape!
Not sure how to get started Managing Your Rental Property Lawn Maintenance? Give us a call!