Is the Tenant or Landlord Responsible for Yard & Pool Maintenance?

Rental Property FAQ: Who’s Responsible for Yard and Pool Maintenance?

For rental property owners a well-manicured lawn and a clean pool is one of the top ways to attract new tenants. Once a tenant chooses a property, it takes extensive work to keep up with yard and pool maintenance and it’s usually more than what they thought they signed up for. It gets even more complicated when the tenant receives a bill and they start to ask, “Can my landlord charge me for lawn care?”

On the other hand, it’s frustrating for landlords to drive by their rental property and discover the lawn is overgrown and the pool is becoming a hotbed for plant and algae growth. Rental owners may be wondering, “Is the tenant responsible for cutting the grass and keeping the pool clean?”

Both of these situations are extremely common for Southern California tenants and landlords. We’re here to clear the air and finally answer the age-old question, “Who’s responsible for yard and pool maintenance?”

Is the tenant responsible for yard and pool maintenance?

No law says whether the owner or renter should be in charge of landscaping and pool upkeep. When it comes to lawn and pool maintenance, the most important thing is for landlords to clearly define the conditions in the lease agreement and explain them before a tenant signs the lease. We’re sharing 3 common types of lease agreements for rental properties regarding pool and lawn maintenance.

3 Types of Lease Agreements for Pool and Lawn Maintenance

Self-Service Agreement

Self-service agreements mean that the tenant is responsible for all pool and lawn maintenance. Lawn maintenance includes things like mowing, weeding, fertilizing, watering, and trimming. Tenants are additionally responsible for cleaning the pool, maintaining the water’s proper chemical balance, cleaning the pool filter, and more.

Because all the responsibilities fall to the tenant, this type of agreement could provide benefits for the landlord. However, there are major drawbacks to this type of agreement.

One major con in this agreement is that the tenant can fail to keep the pool clean and consistently choose to not care for the yard. This can negatively impact curb appeal and decrease the value of the property. If tenants fail to maintain the lawn or pool, expensive repairs are on the horizon for landlords.

Full-Service Agreement

Although landlords do have the option of putting the tenant in charge of cutting the grass, we highly discourage this route because it’s destined to cause problems. The full-service agreement is a great option for both the tenant and the landlord. In a full-service agreement, property owners hire and pay for a landscaping and pool maintenance company to service the property.

By paying for the service, the property owner guarantees that it will get done and avoids expensive landscaping repairs if a tenant doesn’t do it right or uses a poor service provider.

Another advantage to the full-service agreement is that the maintenance company will notify you if the tenant isn’t doing something right, like not giving the lawn enough water, or allowing the dog to tear up the flower beds. Getting ahead of problems early can save you damage to your landscaping and costly fixes in the future.

As for pricing, the rent price usually includes the costs of the landscaper and pool cleaner. Just think of it as being built into the rent price. Here in Southern California, most tenants are accustomed to having the property owner pay for these services.

A La Carte Agreement

The third type of agreement offers the tenant yard and pool services a la carte; it’s a mix of full-service and self-service agreements. In this case, landlords and tenants split up maintenance duties based on agreed-upon responsibilities. For example, as a landlord you could be in charge of landscaping while the tenant takes care of watering and mowing the lawn. Or, you can hire a company to check the pool’s chemical balance while the tenant agrees to keep it clean throughout the week.

If you choose to go with the a la carte option, make sure to divide and assign pool cleaning and lawn upkeep responsibilities. This saves time and potential conflicts with tenants.

3 FAQs From Tenants

To conclude, we’re going to answer a few frequently asked questions from tenants regarding rental properties.

Can I put up a pool on the rental property?

With Southern California’s warm weather, it’s tempting to ask about installing a pool on the property you’re renting, but there are a few things to consider first. When looking over the lease, make sure to read through what is or is not allowed on the property. This will ensure that you’re being extra careful to follow your landlord’s wishes. Before putting up a pool on the rental property, consider the liabilities and precautions needed to create a safe environment and talk it over with your landlord if it isn’t already defined in the lease agreement.

As a landlord, clearly state what’s allowed to be added to the property and outline the consequences if these rules are not followed. To prevent a tenant from doing something that breaks the lease agreement, it’s helpful to hire a property management team who will make frequent visits to the rental property.

Can my landlord evict me for not mowing?

When different property maintenance tasks aren’t assigned to the landlord or tenant, things can get messy quickly. For example, we’ve heard tenants ask the question, “Can my landlord evict me if I don’t mow the grass?” There are two sides to this question.

First, if the lease agreement clearly states that the tenant is responsible for yard upkeep, including mowing, then the landlord has every right to declare that the tenant violates the lease agreement. On the other hand, if the lease agreement doesn’t state who is responsible for mowing the lawn, both the landlord and the tenant can come to a consensus on who does what tasks. If both parties can agree, make sure to write it down, date and sign it, and keep a copy for your records.

Can I install a garden or plant flowers on my rental property?

In general, it’s smart to avoid changing the landscape of a rental property without the landlord’s permission. To hinder future misunderstandings, make sure to read the lease agreement carefully and see if the landlord has already stated anything about altering the landscape. If nothing is stated in the lease, talk to the landlord directly and be clear about what you want to add or take away from the property’s landscape. If the landlord agrees to letting you add to the landscape, make sure to write it down, and date and sign it.

Our Property Management Team Can Help You With Your Rental Property

If you’re a landlord in Southern California, we’re here to help take away the stress of daily property management. Or if you’re a tenant looking to rent the ideal home, we will find you the perfect property to suit your needs. We’ve been serving Orange County and Inland Empire residents for over 40 years, and we’d love to expand our resources to more locals. Contact us today to experience expert property management services.