While some parts of the country (like Thunder Bay) are still covered in snow, other parts of the world are gearing up to start cutting grass – and that’s what landlords need to schedule into their property maintenance schedules to ensure that their properties look great all year round!
There are several options for dealing with lawn care as a landlord. For a single family home, providing the tenant with a gas lawnmower and a jerry can for gas is often the best solution. Be sure that their lease agreement acknowledges that they are responsible for the lawn care. Often tenants will do a great job of taking care of the exterior of their home – pride of “ownership” thing. Of course, this doesn’t always work! How many times have you passed a property with an overgrown yard, and flags in the windows as curtains, and you just KNOW that is a rental property… likely with an out-of-town landlord!
For larger properties landlords will want to hire a “professional”. It is often more problematic to find a tenant to care for the lawn at a multi-unit property, unless you are extremely fortunate. For these properties it is often advisable to hire a professional lawn-care company – one with insurance and WSIB coverage. Set up a contract with them, spelling out what you expect them to do, how often you expect it done, and how much you will pay them each cut. An all-in contract can also work – where you pay a flat fee for the season, but often the all-inclusive contracts find the contractor losing interest at the end of the season…
And one of the best ways we have found to find a contractor for grass-cutting is through Kijiji. We have posted ads, and responded to ads, on Kijiji. We talk to the contractor and then call some references. It takes a little bit of work to get set-up, but there is nothing more satisfying than driving by your property during the summer months and seeing the well-tended lawn.
One final note, again depending on the type of rental property you have, spring for a pot of flowers at the building and have one of your tenants be responsible for the watering of them. Nothings says “home” like flowers!