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Who is Responsible for Lawn Maintenance Landlord or Tenant?

Posted by sonrise on May 3, 2023
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Spring is in the air, and that means the season of lawn care and yard maintenance is upon us. Time to gas up the mower and sharpen your hedge trimmers.

It’s also a good time to revisit a frequently asked question about rental properties during this season: Who is Responsible for Lawn Maintenance Landlord or Tenant? Ultimately, it’s a question that doesn’t have a clear answer, but we have some thoughts and best practices on the subject!

Who is Responsible for Lawn Maintenance Landlord or Tenant?

State and local laws

As a general rule, there are no laws that state that either the landlord or the tenant is required to be responsible for lawn care and maintenance. That being said, in rare instances there may be state or local laws that make a distinction.

Minnesota, for example, is a rare state in which landlords cannot require tenants to take care of the yard on their own without compensation. Laws of this kind are very uncommon, but be sure to do some research in your local area in case there are specific requirements in your municipality.

Who mows the lawn?

As a general rule, lawn care and yard maintenance tasks are more likely to fall under the responsibility of the landlord. That being said, it is usually up to landlords and tenants to come to their own arrangements regarding outdoor maintenance.

The only situation in which it is common for tenants to be responsible for lawn care is if they live in a single-family rental unit and have sole access to the yard. In instances of a property containing more than one rental unit and having a shared outdoor area, it would be highly unusual for tenants to be responsible.

Three ways to assign lawn care responsibility

As a landlord, you essentially have three paths to choose from when deciding who is responsible for lawn care in your rental property. These are your basic choices:

  • Landlord is solely responsible: This is arguably the most common arrangement. In this situation, the landlord assumes all responsibilities for lawn care and maintenance, along with other tasks like snow removal, where applicable.
  • Tenant is solely responsible: Though relatively uncommon, there are situations in which the tenant takes full responsibility for mowing, watering, fertilizing, and other lawn chores.
  • Landlord and tenant share responsibility: In many cases, landlords and tenants each take on part of the responsibility. For example, you may come to an agreement that the tenant mows the lawn, but the landlord is responsible for watering, fertilizing, and pest control.

Document lawn care responsibilities

What every way you end up deciding to divvy up lawn care responsibilities, make sure it is clearly outlined in the lease agreement. It’s always important for both the landlord and the tenant to clearly understand their responsibilities.

In most places, it is perfectly legal for landlords to compel tenants to be responsible for lawn care. But, you should also consider that this might not be a very desirable lease term for the average tenant and you could be losing potential renters who would rather not have to deal with lawn care.

Let property management take care of it

Loopholes are rare in life, but here’s one: if you work with a professional property management company, then neither the landlord nor the tenant have to oversee lawn care. One of the most important jobs that property managers take on is making sure landscaping and maintenance are taken care of.

Contact us today to learn more about landlord and tenant responsibilities, and talk with our team about the many ways property management can make life easier for both parties.

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