A beautiful yard can attract tenants and add to the value of a rental property. However, care and maintenance of rental property landscaping can be a real headache for any residential property manager. A lawn, shrubbery and trees are expensive assets and are costly to replace. Reviewing the following rental property landscaping tips can be helpful.
The following items should be addressed in your lease agreement in order to efficiently manage rental property landscaping:
1: Lawn careThis includes mowing the grass on a regular basis and trimming areas on the edge of a driveway or sidewalk. Lawn care also includes watering on a regular schedule. Be sure to specify in the lease that access to the property is required if the landlord is deemed responsible for lawn care.
2: Spray applications for weed removal and/or for insectsThese are considered a part of lawn care. The only way you can be certain that this task is properly performed is to hire a lawn service or to spray the lawn yourself. This is part of residential property management and is usually tax deductible.
If you have scheduled a lawn service to treat the lawn of your property, be sure to give the tenant plenty of notice before the treatment is done. You will need to get a list of chemical ingredients used and length of time necessary for the tenants to refrain from using the lawn after the treatment is applied. The lawn service should be able to provide you with this information. This is necessary so the tenants, their children and their pets are protected. It is a good idea to put a paragraph in your lease that states that you will have lawn treatments performed from time to time.
3: Tree trimming or tree removal
This is sometimes necessary for the safety of the tenants and the safety of the structure on the property. Things like bad weather storms and tree disease can cause trees, or dead branches, to fall which can pose a danger to tenants or their vehicles. Tree trimming/removal is usually the responsibility of the landlord and can be tax deductible.
4: Tenants planting a garden
From time to time you may have a tenant who wants to plant a garden. If you agree, be sure to get their plans in writing and sign off on them. If you do not, you may discover that half of the grass in the back yard has been plowed up to create a garden. When the tenant moves out, the garden area will have to be replaced with seed or sod and that can be very expensive and time-consuming.
5: If the property has a swimming pool
The swimming pool is considered a separate lawn care issue. See the LandLordStation.com article regarding swimming pool maintenance.
6: Tenants with pets
If the tenant has pets, it is a good idea to specify in the lease or in a separate lease addendum, the value of the grass, the plants and the fence in the event that the pet causes damage to the yard. Pets have been known to tear down fences, dig holes in the yard and damage trees. See the LandLordStation.com articles about pet deposits and fees.
A tenant may pay the rent on time but neglect mowing or other landscaping responsibilities. If the property is a residential property, the neighborhood in which it is located may have a home owners’ association (HOA). HOA’s can fine the owner of a property when the lawn is not maintained, and in some states put a lien on the property until the situation is remedied. HOA’s also often have strict rules about what can be planted in the yard. The ideal solution for low maintenance landscaping for rental properties is to put provisions in your lease designating lawn care and maintenance responsibilities. Make it very clear who responsible for each duty (the landlord or the tenant).
Articles on Landscaping
Some rental management experts prefer to contract with a reputable lawn care service to regularly mow and trim the yard. Depending on the climate, a lawn care service is only necessary for part of the year. Some landlords average the cost of the lawn care for each rental property over a 12-month period and add that total to the cost of the rent. For example, if the cost of hiring a lawn care service is $25 a week and they mow and trim the yard from May through September, the total amount would be $500 for the year. If you divide $500 by 12 months, the monthly addition to the rent would be $42 per month. Tenants are often very happy to find a rental where the yard is maintained by professionals, and are willing to pay more rent for that amenity. In addition, the cost of lawn care is tax deductible.
See the entire list of residential property management information at LandLordStation.com. We also offer a ‘Landlord Community’ where you can ask rental management and legal experts, as well as other property managers, to share their experience with you at no cost. LandLordStation.com strives to be the ultimate source for all of your property management questions. If you don’t find an answer using these sources, we have a friendly and knowledgeable staff to assist you.
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