In what kind of condition does a landscaped yard have to be for a landlord to legally hire a gardener and add maintenance costs to the rent?

I am renting a house and the lease states that yard maintenance is my responsibility. In retaliation for me requesting repairs, my landlord has threatened to hire a landscaping company to come work on the yard at my expense. Now, I take good care of the yard. The grass is rarely above 2 inches, everything has sufficient water, and nothing is overgrown to the point of being a nuisance. There are a couple dandelions here and there. He could hire someone to come trim the hedges into impressions of mid-19th century surrealist paintings. What would hold up in court?

Asked on July 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From what you are writing about any hiring of the landlord of a gardener at your costs would be retaliatory based upon your description of the yard. To protect yourself in the future, I would take video tape and photographs of the yard you are maintaining and send copies of such to the landlord with a letter explaining them.

Keep a copy of the letter for future use and reference as well as the depictions of the yard.

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