If your rental property is a single-family home, or any type of property that has an outdoor space, it is important to outline who is responsible for what when it comes to property maintenance. Often, yes, you do leave some of the responsibilities to your tenants, but you’ve got to think carefully about what you really want them to manage – otherwise, you may just have to kiss any curb appeal goodbye. So, think about the common landscaping tasks and weigh the pros and cons of having the tenant do it vs. taking care of it yourself.
- Mowing – this is one of the easiest tasks that you could pass along to your tenant. I mean, really, it’s almost impossible for anyone to do it wrong. Sure, they might let the grass grow a little bit too long at times, but that’s just something you’ll have to live with. Just remember, in your lease, you need to outline whether the tenant needs to have a lawn mower or if you’ll supply one.
- Plants – this is one area where you’re probably going to share the responsibility. You may choose to put in a simple garden for the sake of curb appeal, while also allowing the tenant to add (but not take away) things. However, it is not worth your while to trudge over to the property in the hot summer months when the garden needs almost daily watering. If the tenant forgets, it’s likely they’ll kill the annuals they planted themselves, not the more sturdy items you put in, anyway.
- Weeding – this area is trickier, because if your tenant fails to weed the lawn, the grass might just die. However, this is a pretty basic task that should usually fall to the tenant. You can’t expect them to pull out all of the weeds if the lawn started out in bad shape, though. So before they take over the property, spend some time weeding, use weed killer, and use fertilizer to strengthen the grass if you need to.
- Pruning – if serious pruning of the trees and bushes is needed on your property, consider this: branches take time to grow back. If your tenant doesn’t know what they’re doing, you could have some funny looking foliage for a while. Not to mention, you can’t require them to use things like chainsaws for the heavy-duty work. Spend some time every spring and get it done yourself!
At the end of the day, you can ask that your tenant pitch in with anything reasonable. But sometimes, it just isn’t going to be worth it; so think carefully, landlords!