If my rental house has many branches covering the yard after a snow/wind storm, is it my responsibility to pay to clean it up?

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If my rental house has many branches covering the yard after a snow/wind storm, is it my responsibility to pay to clean it up?

The lease states the tenants are responsible to keep the yard as it was when they rented it. There is nothing referring to messes created from a storm. They are demanding that I pay to have it cleaned up.

Asked on January 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, you probably are responsible:

1) The lease seems to make you responsible--from what you write, you have to keep the yard as it was when your rented it, which would include cleaning up debris. While the lease may not specifically refer to storm debris, nor does it appear to contain an exclusion for storm damage; if all it has is a general requirement on you to maintain the yard, that most likely applies to this situation.

2) Even in the absence of the lease term you describe, if you are renting the entire house and the yard, you would likely be responsible for the clean-up. Tenants are generally responsible for cleaning up, throwing away debris or garbage from, etc., the areas under their control, which they rent, unless the lease actually makes that the landord's responsibility.


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