As a landlord canI charge for repairs/fixing the yard after a tenant neglects it and leaves it in terrible shape?

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As a landlord canI charge for repairs/fixing the yard after a tenant neglects it and leaves it in terrible shape?

As a landlord I know that I can charge to the deposit the repairs needed to bring the house back into the same shape it was given in, but what about the yard? My tenant has mowed religiously but all of the flower beds are overgrown with weeds, and many many bushes and plants have died from lack of upkeep. Can I charge to weed, clean up outside, and possibly to replace the dead plants?

Asked on August 11, 2011 Washington

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

To answer your question, you first need to read carefully the written lease (assuming you have one) with your tenant in that its terms and obligations control the obligations owed to you by the tenant and vice versa in the absence of conflicting state law.

Most residential leases do not impose upon the tenant the obligation of significant outdoor maintenance.

Most likely, the custom and practice of residential leases do not impose upon the tenant the costs of having to replace dead vegatation or the costs of having a gardener to come in and weed and clean up the yard of the rented unit. It is expected that the tenant will not take care of a rented unit's landscape like an owner would. That is why many landlords have gardeners come so many times per month to the rented unit and the costs for the gardener is in the monthly rental of the occupied property.

I doubt that you can legitimately charge the tenant the repairs and maintenance costs for the rented unit.


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