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Tenant shares struggle after landlord issues strict notice about yard work: ‘Has anyone else run into this?’

“Leaves feed the lawn; not kill it.”

"Leaves feed the lawn; not kill it."

Photo Credit: iStock

One tenant was frustrated when their landlord pushed for a type of yard maintenance that isn’t just unnecessary but also harmful to the environment.

“My husband and I are renting and we recently received a notice to ensure our lawn is free of leaves as they ‘kill’ the grass underneath … has anyone else run into this?” they explained in their post. “How to convince my landlord to not require leaf pickup?”

Raking up autumn leaves is a traditional part of lawn care, but it’s not the best practice. While this Redditor’s landlord was afraid they would hurt the lawn, they actually help. 

Leaves provide free food for plants, as well as insulation during the winter. All kinds of insects, including many beneficial pollinators and beautiful butterflies, use them as shelter until spring returns, which is why more and more people have joined the movement to Leave the Leaves.

Plus, skipping raking or leaf blowing saves residents a ton of time, and it is cheaper for those who would normally hire a yard service to do the job.

Nevertheless, many landlords and HOAs require leaf removal, like this landlord who tried to withhold part of their tenant’s security deposit for leaves in the garden during the winter. Often, they’re worried about the property’s appearance or just consider raking to be part of normal maintenance. This is sadly part of a broader pattern in which many landlords and HOAs block money-saving and eco-friendly practices.

One option is to reach out to the landlord or HOA and request a rule change. HOAs in particular have procedures for making these kinds of changes, especially if you can get community support.

Commenters also recommended some workarounds for this resident.

“Got mulching blades for your mower? Leaves feed the lawn; not kill it,” said one user.

While it was only a partial solution — reducing labor and feeding the lawn, but not protecting the bugs inside the leaf layer — it was still an improvement, and the original poster liked the idea. “We hire folks to mow our lawn; maybe we’ll just have them mulch it up!” they said.

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