One of the first questions asked by homeowners looking to rent their property is if they should provide regular lawn maintenance service, or just ask the tenant to keep the grass trimmed and healthy. Every rental home situation is different. You’ll have to make your own decision for your own home based on the following list. However, there are several pros to delegating the gardening to a professional and only one con.
PRO: Grooming Expectations You Can Agree On
Ever stood next to a stinky man in a cramped elevator? Your idea of good grooming may be a shower, shave, and a freshly cleaned suit. To him, hygiene is making sure he has less than one mustard stain on his shirt. The difference between your tenant’s lawn care standards may not be as stark, but if he’s working 50 hours a week, he may not care as much about the lack of curb appeal in that slightly shaggy lawn. Getting him on the same page as you can lead to a debate and even if he agrees with you that those uneven hedges look too scruffy, you’ll have to wait for him to find time. A gardener comes at his appointed day and hour and does the job exactly as he’s paid to do it.
PRO: The Right Tools For The Job
It’s never a good idea for owners to leave tools at the property, even if the tenant is comfortable with them and capable of doing the job. Gardening shears, motorized hedge clippers, and lawnmowers in particular can cause serious or even deadly accidents, leaving owners open to liability. If a well-meaning tenant loses a finger to one of your tools, the resulting injury can be your problem! Even if they have their own consumer equipment, a tenant is still unlikely to be able to keep up with an experienced gardener using professional grade tools.
CON: It’s Not Free
Depending on the size of the lawn, frequency of visits, and presence of additional vegetation, professional lawn care typically costs between $60 and $100 a month. You can build this cost into your rent, but tenants usually opt for the slightly cheaper property next door. Left to their own devices, a tenant will almost always spend less than you would on lawn care or do a worse job.
If you or your property management provider choose to include professional lawn care without raising rent over the local market value, the service can pay for itself by getting new tenants into the property faster. As bad as it is to give away money every month, it’s much worse to collect nothing at all for a house that sits unoccupied for weeks. A properly maintained lawn increases curb appeal and gets new tenants faster. The cost effective nature of preventative maintenance becomes especially apparent when an old tenant moves out and you can quickly move in his replacement without having to remove weeds, re-sod an entire lawn, or deal with dilapidated sprinklers.
A well-selected tenant can be a match made in heaven. They’re like a houseguest you never have to see who pays you every month, making them the opposite of visiting in-laws. However, a tenant is usually not a professional caretaker. They have their own jobs and obligations and cannot be as focused or professional in their duties as a gardener. In the end, the only con to hiring outside help with your lawn is actually a pro. By spending a little money now, you can save a lot of money and avoid potential headaches later.
Share your experiences below to help gauge the pros versus cons of providing lawn care maintenance for your rental home.