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Lawn Care and Tenants

Since spring is now in full force on the Front Range of Colorado, we are starting to get ready for sprinkler activations and the first grass mowing.  As we approach this time, we also approach the question of who is responsible for lawn care.  Many of our investment property owners have different feelings about who should be responsible for the lawn.  So, we will share with you the three different ways most property owners deal with this question.

First, the most common approach is that the tenant is responsible for all facets of lawn care.  With the exception of sprinkler activations, which are typically always the responsibility of the owner, this arrangement requires the tenant to care for the lawn.  From fertilization to weed control to watering to mowing, the tenant is responsible for everything.  The reason most owners choose this arrangement is that it reduces costs and improves profitability, which is a pro to the owner.  As the property manager, it is our responsibility to make certain that tenants understand their responsibility and we enforce it if neglected.  The con to this approach is that tenants typically never care for the lawn as well as owners.

Secondly and another common approach is that the owner hires a lawn care professional for all facets of lawn care.  This is a common approach when the property is located in a covenant-controlled Home Owners’ Association.  The pro to this approach is that the lawn and surrounding areas will be professionally maintained.  The con to this approach is the additional cost to the owner and the impact to profitability.  However, as a property manager, we help owners determine an appropriate rent price where this cost can be absorbed as part of a lease period.

Lastly and the least common approach is a hybrid between the two arrangements above. This is where the owner pays for some of the responsibilities and the tenant takes care of everything else.  For example, the owner may provide fertilization but the tenant is responsible for all other facets.  The reason this is the least common approach is that it is sometimes difficult to determine who is reliable for overall care.  This approach can still be used but the realms of responsibility need to be clearly defined and understood.

So, as you can see, there are a few different ways to handle the lawn care question.  The last item that is sometimes negotiable when you think about lawn care is, who pays for the water bill during heavy watering months?  The old concern is that tenants will not water as much as they should because they are trying to save money.  If owners subsidize the water cost, tenants are much more willing to water.

Even though there is much to think about, as your trusted property management company, we can help advise and create a perfect plan that makes sense for both owners and tenants.   If you are in need of property management services in Northern Colorado including Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Timnath, Wellington, Berthoud, Johnstown and the rest of the surrounding areas, please contact us.  We would be honored to become your trusted property manager.

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