Can my landlord charge me for dead spots on the lawn?

UPDATED: Mar 29, 2012

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Can my landlord charge me for dead spots on the lawn?

The lease obligates me to care for the lawn by watering, mowing, and fertilizing. I watered fertilized and weeded as prescribed in lease but still parts of the lawn don’t look good. My state had a horrible drought last summer which, I believe, is the cause of the damage. My efforts to keep the grass green failed and there were mandatory watering restrictions in place. My landlord says I have to pay for new sod on the lawn. Is that true? Should I refuse and take him to court if he withholds my deposit?

Asked on March 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a tenant is only reponsible for conditions which he or she causes or at least has control over. In theory, if the lawn is dying due to drought, you should not be responsible for it. Of course, if you landlord does withhold part of your security deposit to pay for sod, you'd have to sue to try to recover it--which means you'd have to establish that you did everything required of you and the problem was beyond your control. It may or may not be worthwhile doing that.

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