Who is in Charge of Landscaping My Investment Property in Philadelphia?

March 10, 2023 TCSMgmt

Who is in Charge of Landscaping My Investment Property in Philadelphia?

Landscaping your Philadelphia investment property so it’s attractive and healthy is a big part of maintaining it. Once you have some tenants moving in, you’ll have to decide whether it’s your responsibility to keep the outdoors looking great or whether you want to leave that responsibility to your tenants. 

As you are considering who should do the landscaping, understand that there’s no one right answer. The landscaping duties will depend on how seriously you take the upkeep of your lawn. You’ll also want to evaluate your tenant’s interest in mowing and weeding. Finally, think about what your property needs. Is it simply a courtyard that needs to be groomed or do you have several acres that need attention? 

There are some good reasons to hold onto this responsibility yourself, as the property owner. There are some equally good reasons to allow your tenants to keep up with the landscaping. 

Let’s take a look at what your options are, and how you can decide what’s best for you and your investment property.  

Option 1: Philadelphia Tenants are in Charge of Landscaping

In some cases, it makes sense to leave your tenants in control of the landscaping. This makes sense if you’re renting out a single-family home to tenants who are looking for the experience of owning their own home. They might want to mow the lawn, take care of the gardening, and enjoy having their lawn look good because of their hard work. 

This will probably work best if you have a small and simple backyard or outdoor space with your rental property. Talk to tenants as they come to see the property and try to get an idea of their level of interest. If you’re going to make tenants responsible for landscaping, you might also want to indicate this in your advertising and marketing. You want tenants to understand the responsibility before they see the property or apply for the home. 

In a multi-family property, leaving tenants to manage the lawn and landscaping isn’t the most practical idea. You’ll have shared and common lawns, courtyards, and outdoor spaces. You don’t want any arguments or misunderstandings about who should be mowing. 

You can require tenants to manage the landscaping. Either they can do the work themselves or they can hire a service themselves and pay for it.  

Option 2: Landscaping as a Philadelphia Landlord Responsibility

Are you fussy about how green your grass is in the summer? Is there a specific water schedule that you like to follow? Are those rose bushes in front of your rental property your pride and joy? 

If you have high standards for the look of your landscaping, it’s best that you keep that responsibility yourself. It’s unlikely that your tenants will do the job you want them to do, especially if there’s a lot of work required. In many cases, tenants rent so they don’t have to worry about things like maintenance and landscaping. 

So, another option is to keep the responsibility for landscaping and lawn care to yourself. 

You can literally do the landscaping yourself, which may require you to go to the property more often than your tenants would like. Don’t make things awkward. If you’re showing up every week with a lawnmower, they might feel like they have no privacy. 

Instead, hire professional landscapers who can tend to the property in a way that meets your standards. You can be sure that everything is green, watered, and trimmed. Tenants who don’t want any lawn responsibilities will be attracted to this set-up as well. You can always build the monthly landscaping charges into the rental amount to keep your own costs down.

Who Shovels the Snow?

When we think about landscaping, most of us think about:

  • Mowing the lawn in the spring and summer
  • Keeping the bushes trimmed
  • Weeding flower beds planted in the spring
  • Watering the lawn during dry periods
  • Gathering leaves in the autumn

What about the winter time? Who should shovel the snow at your rental property? Who will treat the sidewalks and walkways for icy conditions? 

This isn’t necessarily part of landscaping, but it does require you to decide how you will handle dangerous conditions in the winter. You don’t want a tenant or a tenant’s guest or a vendor slipping outside of your property. Consider hiring someone to shovel or plow snow as needed. 

A Word about HOAs or Condo Associations 

If your Philadelphia rental property is in an HOA, this matter may be partly resolved for you. In some associations, there’s landscaping provided. In others, everyone is on their own. Sometimes, you’ll have partial landscaping provided. Usually, snow removal will be one of your HOA’s responsibilities. 

Outside of who is responsible, remember that your HOA will likely have their own standards that need to be met. They won’t tolerate overgrown lawns, weeds, or a lot of lawn debris littering the community. Keep this in mind as you’re deciding who should do the landscaping and how you want it handled.

Make Sure Your Lease Agreement Reflects Responsibilities 

Snow RemovalWhichever direction you decide to go, make sure you include the lawn and garden maintenance as well as snow removal protocols in your lease agreement. 

Be specific. Let tenants know who is responsible for it logistically and financially. You’ll want to be absolutely sure your tenants understand how you want this handled. You don’t want your tenants to assume it’s not their responsibility, and you also don’t want your tenants to be out there with a lawn mower if you’re already paying for a professional service

This is just one example of the myriad of decisions you need to make when you decide to rent out a home in Philadelphia. If you’d like some help organizing the logistics and putting together a lease agreement, we can help you. Contact our team at TCS Management. 

TCS Management is a full service property management company headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, also serving Harrisburg, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ, Wilmington, Delaware and the surrounding areas. We focus on single-family and multifamily residential property management of homes, condos, townhomes, and apartment buildings.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,