Is our landlord obligated to clean up the backyard?

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2012

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Is our landlord obligated to clean up the backyard?

My girlfriend, 4 other roommates and I moved into a house 2 months ago. My girlfriend had lived in the same house the year before with a different set of roommates. We share a backyard with our neighbors. The previous tenants who lived in the neighbors house completely trashed the backyard and there is splintered wood and glass and tree debris all over the backyard. I assumed it would be cleaned up when we moved in but the landlord had made no attempts to clean either the backyard or the house when we moved in. The only maintenance they did was paint a wall and fix a toilet.

Asked on August 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The landlord MAY be obligated to clean up the backyard. If the debris, etc. in it is so bad as to render the backyard not safely usable, then the failure to clean it  up could be violating your lease (you are effectively not getting all the space or amenities you are renting) and/or the implied warranty of habitability (the landlord is unlawfully providing you space that is not fit for its intended purpose--i.e., residence). However, if the landlord will not voluntarily clean it up, you would have to litigate (sue) to force him to or receive monetary compensation. It may be best if you can work matters out with him--for example, if he will pay to rent a dumpster and buy some heavy work gloves, would you be willing to pick up the yard?

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