If you own investment property in the Orlando area, it’s safe to assume that you want to keep it looking nice. A well-maintained yard adds curb appeal, keeps the neighbors happy, and contributes to the health and wellness of your tenants.
But who should bear the responsibility of maintaining this outdoor area: the tenant or the landlord?
The tenant lives on the property, but the property manager owns the space.
You can see both sides of the debate. But if you leave this aspect ambiguous, you run the risk of nobody taking care of it.
How to Avoid Ambiguity
Rather than leave maintenance to chance or create misunderstandings without setting clear expectations, discuss this topic upfront.
If you have a policy on who does care for the yard, tell tenants upfront before they sign the lease. Remember to include specific language in the lease for expectations, level of care, and any ramifications—if not done to par.
Some tenants may think that if they maintain the lawn, they’ll receive a big discount on rent. Therefore, it’s best to be clear about this before you start seeing new landscaping or “fixed” edging.
Benefits of Tenants Yard Maintenance Responsibilities
When tenants take responsibility for a yard surrounding their rental, they feel a greater sense of pride. They may not own the property itself, but wow, it looks good because of them!
Landlords should love this. Tenants will often keep better care of it than owners by adding it to their weekly chores. Having a tenant do self-service maintenance would also cost far less than hiring a lawn service company.
To incentivize this arrangement, some landlords opt to “pay” their tenants or adjust their monthly rent rate accordingly. This works especially well for landlords who are too busy to do the yardwork themselves or who live too far away to warrant weekly trips.
Benefits of Property Owner Covering Lawn Care
While self-service lawn care has become an industry standard, the results aren’t always satisfactory. Sometimes, for example, even the tenants with the best intentions, cannot properly handle all these tasks. Or their standards don’t match those of the owners.
If you want something done “right”, sometimes, you have to do it yourself. Just ask your significant other about your laundry folding or dishwasher stacking capabilities—whatever you do, it’s probably “wrong.” Towel folding and fork tine directions aside, when property owners take responsibility, the quality rests on their shoulders.
That said, landlords owe tenants a clean, well-maintained rental.
Hybrid or A La Carte Approach
Because yard work is a lot of…well, work, some landlords and tenants decide to divvy up responsibilities. Maybe the tenant agrees to mow every other week. Then you hire a lawn care service company to perform a thorough maintenance job.
Another option may be for the landlord to pay for fertilizing and intensive care while the tenant does basic weeding and mowing. Whatever the arrangement, this should be made official in the rental agreement and well communicated!
So, Should You Create Tenant Responsibilities for Yard Maintenance?
Finding the right balance between landlord, tenant or a shared responsibility for lawn care takes careful consideration. You may also find that one arrangement with one tenant won’t work with another. As long as you keep expectations clearly communicated, you can avoid the question of responsibility when the grass grows high.
Get More Property Rental Tips
For more tips on property management, contact The Realty Medics today or call 321-218-4753. We offer professional rental services to manage your real estate investments and can help you update your lease agreements and find the best tenants in the area.