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Tenant calls out landlord over 'unreasonable' lawn care expectations: 'What's the exact wording of your lease?'

"Does it say the grass length must be equal to or shorter than your neighbors' grass?"

Lawn care expectations

Photo Credit: u/toughfeet/ Reddit

One Redditor recently posted to complain that their landlord's lawn care expectations are unreasonable.

On the r/mildlyinfuriating subreddit, the original poster shares a photo of a tidy, green lawn. While there are a few weeds here and there, the lawn appears to be healthy and is trimmed short. But this apparently isn't good enough. 

"Landlord says my lawn doesn't pass inspection," the original poster says, and in a comment adds, "They specifically said length as it is longer than my [neighbors], who get it done professionally every week. No concerns about edging or grass species or anything like that."

The landlord's complaints seem off given changing views on lawns across the country. Once a sign of wealth, lawns are now seen by many as a waste of water and a source of pollution from pesticides and fertilizer, as Columbia University explains

Many property owners are beginning to "rewild" their lawns — replacing grass with native plants that are supportive to local pollinators and other animals and that take very little care because they're adapted to the environment. 

One Maryland couple recently changed state law to protect their yard full of native wildflowers, and California is paying residents to make similar changes.

While this poster isn't looking to make such a dramatic change, their low-maintenance approach is still more eco-friendly than the frequent mowing and other upkeep their landlord wants. Commenters offer advice for challenging the demands.

"What's the exact wording of the landscaping clause in your lease?" asks one commenter. "Does it say the grass length must be equal to or shorter than your neighbors' grass?" 

If the original poster is abiding by the lease terms, the landlord has no legal standing to penalize them, and the original poster may be able to get them to back down by pointing out the fact. 

Another commenter, who says they are a landlord, adds, "A contractual gray area benefits the person who signed the contract, not the company or landlord who wrote it. If there are no clear definitions, he cannot claim you violated any rules regarding maintenance of the property as long as you are in legal compliance with any local or state laws that would apply to the property's lawn."

The original poster could also meet their landlord's requirements and save time with an automatic lawn mower.

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