Can a landlord keep your deposit if the grass is dead?

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Can a landlord keep your deposit if the grass is dead?

When I moved in 7 year’s ago the grass was green but due tothe  high water bill and the squirrel’s eating the grass, it’s dead.

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the circumstances. Squirrels eating the grass would not be your problem. However, if you failed to water the grass and if it was your responsibility to have watered the grass, then the landlord may be able to charge the cost of reseeeding or resodding or etc. to you, the same as they could the cost of making other repairs. (If the grass were not your responsibility, then the only way the landlord would seem to be able to charge you would be if you affirmatively did something which killed it--e.g. spilled herbicides or toxic chemicals in some fahion, let pets urinate on it, etc.) It depends entirely on what  were your responsibilities under the lease. Note that if it is not clear what your responsibilities are, then if you and the landlord can't work matters out, you'll need to go to court to resolve this; since  that can cost time or money, it may be in your interest to work out something mutuallly acceptable to both of you.


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