What can I get my landlord to do about the backyard?

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A question by :  So, I recently moved into a new studio. It is a three-story building with another renter on each floor (I live in SF). We all share the backyard which no one goes into because it is dreadful looking. Weeds and bushes everywhere. It looks like it hasn’t been tended to in years?


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Depending on the terms of the legally binding lease agreement. Both some tenants and some landlords do. Please check your lease, I would suggest. However, it is vital to read your lease as it may include tenant chores or needs including general upkeep of the garden and grass. The landlord offers general landscaping services such as lawn trimming, tree trimming, and the disposal of debris or plant matter following storm damage. This includes filling in any holes in the ground or fixing any harm done to the grass and flower beds by animals.


“He is obligated to maintain the yard if the lease states that he is obligated. If this is the case, it doesn’t hurt to NICELY request he take care of the back yard for you and your fellow tenants. If he refuses, you can take it to court, but you’ll have a rough battle and it’ll cost a lot. Alternatively, you might be able to pay a landscaping company out of your own pocket to maintain the yard and reduce your rent by that amount, but those laws vary by location and you definitely need to consult an attorney before reducing your rent. Another alternative is to just maintain it yourself regardless of the lease agreement (especially if you can get on a weekly rotation with your fellow tenants).

If the lease agreement states that the tenants are responsible, contact your fellow tenants and see if you can agree on a schedule to do the yard. You could trade off weeks. With three floors of tenants, each tenant could do only every third week. You’ll probably have to agree to do the initial work together though, since it sounds like a mess right now.”

Poisson Fish

“You seem to have a landlord that does n t care to tend for the property as well as two other tenants in the building that have no problem with the conditions or they would have done something themselves. There is nothing you can do to get the landlord to remedy the cosmetics as long as there are no rats and the like. You bought a rusty car and now want it painted. You do the body work.”


“The landlord is under zero obligation to maintain the yard of a multi-unit building to YOUR specifications. If you’d like to use the yard, perhaps you could ask for permission to do some gardening yourself.”


“I would ask the landlord to please get someone in so that all of you can use the yard. I would be very nice about it. You can get someone to maintain the yard for very little and that’s what he needs to do. My leases tell the tenant that they are responsible for their part of the yard and I still have to go over and water and weed to keep it nice. You know that cities get upset with overgrown yards because they breed vermin and such. If he refuses, report him anonymously.”


“So, presumably you saw this yard before you rented it. Now that you rented it, you want to find a way to compel them to improve it. That’s just like you renting a rundown apartment and then demanding that they renovate. It just doesn’t work that way.

Your city probably has some minimum standard for lawn care, and that is the most the LL has to do.

If you don’t like it, offer to weed it and take care of it.”


“Does your lease specifically say that the landlord is responsible for maintaining the yard? If not, does it say that tenets are responsible for doing such?

Your lease gives you specific legal rights and obligations.

Seek legal counsel if you cannot understand the lease agreement you signed.”


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