What are my exact obligations if I’m a tenant and my lease states that lawn maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant at the tenant’s expense?

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What are my exact obligations if I’m a tenant and my lease states that lawn maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant at the tenant’s expense?

Nowhere in the lease are any quantitative requirements for the lawn set (for example, must be mowed “x” times monthly, or grass may not be longer than “y” inches tall). This has led me to believe that following local HOA ordinance would be sufficient. However, the landlord disagrees and has hired a lawn service for the lawn against my wishes and demands that I pay the monthly bill otherwise it will be taken out of the rent and any outstanding balance be charged as late rent. Is there a legal basis for what he is doing?

Asked on December 13, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, there is a basis: when a lease or other contract does  not clearly spell out the exact parameters of an obligation,  the courts would look what is considered  "reasonable"--or what most people in that area in lin like circumstances or homes would do--for that cost or function. So you could be expected to either yourself provide the level of lawncare that local homeowners, on average, do, or else to pay for a lawn service to do that.


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