In this episode Carla & Adrian are getting into the weeds of ... who's responsible for cutting the grass and pulling the weeds in a rental property.
Welcome to Canada's Property Management podcast, your number one resource for investing, managing, and maximizing the value of your real estate assets. And now here's your host, Carla Browne and Adrian Schulz, Canada's rental property experts.
Adrian Schulz (00:18):
In today's episode, we're talking about cutting the mustard. No, just kidding. We're talking about who is cutting the grass and pulling the weeds. And we mean literally. Because guess what? In single family home rental property management, the tenant is the one that's responsible, in most cases, for yard care. Carla, so who cuts and who pulls?
Carla Browne (00:52):
Okay, who's cutting the grass and pulling the weeds? We want all of our tenants to cut the grass and pull the weeds.
Adrian Schulz (01:01):
Why? I'm living in a rental.
Carla Browne (01:03):
I know. Well, it's not that part though. I don't think that the tenant expects us to do it, but I think that not every tenant necessarily realizes that grass gets cut quite regularly in the summer months. And you have to water it. And that weeds will grow, and if you don't pull them more will grow. Because we do a lot of, I'll say higher end, mid to higher end single family homes, this is a big concern because somebody is handing over a property that could have been owner-occupied and they loved their yard. So they've got this oasis in the backyard. And a tenant moves in, and we tell them that they're responsible for yard care, but they don't really understand what that means. So I feel like we do a lot of explaining. And I'll be honest, I don't know how to overcome this.
Carla Browne (01:49):
Other than if the yard is really important to an investor, then allow your property management company to take care of it for you, which we offer that service. And when we do vacant weekly yard care, as it is, and when we take over a property or have a move out and the yard isn't as great as it should be, we try to take care of it. So you can overcome it by maybe hiring a lawn care service, I guess, or you could hire the property management company if they're willing to look after it for you. And you could build that into rent, if that's important to you, so that it's offsetting. But the reality is we have a lot of people out there as residents that it's not that they don't want to look after the grass, they just don't get it. Maybe they didn't come from a family that cut the grass. I don't know. Did you have to cut the grass every Saturday morning? Come on.
Adrian Schulz (02:38):
Oh, we're going down this road. So yeah, I did have to cut the grass. I did have to shovel the snow. And so there used to be a time when parents would maybe spank their children or parents would wash their children's mouths out with soap. I actually got to enjoy all of those. And I also got to enjoy having to weed a very large garden on a daily basis as punishment for having a potty mouth. So I do know how to pull weeds. And I have personally sort of committed, or made it a goal, never to have to do it again. But the answer is yes, I had to cut grass. I had to pull weeds. I had to bring out the garbage, and I had to shovel the snow. On all of that, and I also had to make my own lunch for school.
Carla Browne (03:24):
Wow. You were hard done by.
Adrian Schulz (03:26):
I think I was an abused child.
Carla Browne (03:29):
Adrian Schulz (03:30):
So my kids on the other hand-
Carla Browne (03:33):
Counseling is the next podcast.
Adrian Schulz (03:35):
Yeah. Yeah. That's the next episode with Dr. Carla. But so my kids now watch the lawn boy cutting the grass. But here's the good part, the four year old boy, William, he's almost four, he wants me to buy a lawn mower. And this is actually on topic. Is there are now reasonably priced electric lawn mowers that you can buy. You don't have to go buy gasoline every time. I used to have to carry a thing of gasoline.
Adrian Schulz (04:02):
So I think that from a tenant's perspective, I think you could sell it to a tenant as, "Hey, by the way, you can actually buy an affordable lawnmower." Maybe the property comes with one. I'm sure that's happened. It's great exercise. You take pride in furnishing your home, why not take pride in your lawn space? And if you have kids, and chances are you do, because you're renting a house, who then doesn't want to control that lawn where your kids are playing on. So I think there are really positive ways of looking at it from a tenant's perspective. And hey, if I, as a renter of a home, if I don't want to cut the lawn, which personally I wouldn't, then I would say to one of your property managers at RPM, I would say, "Hey, do you know of a grass cutting service that I can buy weekly, biweekly service from?" And it still solves the problem.
Carla Browne (04:50):
Yeah. I would say it's one of those things that, like anything, is communication. So make sure that you're putting it into your lease and having that conversation with your tenants. Because I do think that tenants, a lot of times would be like, "Wow, you charge me. That's not very much money. I'll just pay the money and then you guys can do it for me." The other thing that just came to mind is when you were talking about a lawnmower, we actually recommend to our investors that they leave the lawnmower there. It is the one thing tenants seem to not want to buy. They'll buy a shovel. They'll buy a broom. They'll buy the odd tool. But they don't want to buy a lawnmower. And I get it. I totally get it. So we do say, "Leave that."
Adrian Schulz (05:28):
Well, you talked about buying a lawnmower. So I have bought a lawnmower now for William. It's made by Little Tykes and it actually makes popping sounds.
Carla Browne (05:39):
Adrian Schulz (05:39):
No, the bubble ones-
Carla Browne (05:41):
[inaudible 00:05:41] bubbles.
Adrian Schulz (05:41):
So wait. Just wait, just wait, there's more to the story.
Carla Browne (05:43):
Adrian Schulz (05:44):
So the five year old girl also wants a lawn mower because she thinks it's unfair that William gets to cut the grass. So I then had to go back on Sunday, the day after, to buy another lawn mower also made by a Little Tykes, I think. And it does in fact make bubbles.
Carla Browne (05:59):
Yes. I've bought that one myself. Not for myself, but [inaudible 00:06:04]-
Adrian Schulz (06:04):
It's OK. Carla. We're all just big kids.
Carla Browne (06:07):
Okay. There's one other thing that I want to talk about when it comes to yards.
Adrian Schulz (06:11):
Carla Browne (06:11):
Adrian Schulz (06:12):
Carla Browne (06:12):
Okay. COVID has exploded the aboveground pool market. Everybody wants to get an aboveground pool, make sure that if you're writing your lease, that you do not allow this. First of all, if it's in a shared space and you're dealing with water, you're going to have an issue with your other tenants if you're splitting utilities. And the second part of that is it kills the grass. Don't tell me it doesn't. It kills the grass.
Adrian Schulz (06:40):
Well, our kiddy pool kills the grass. So I'm sure a full size aboveground, yeah.
Carla Browne (06:46):
It's sitting there all the time. So that's another thing that is really, really popular these days that I would just put it in the lease that you can't do it. Because it's a big thing. So yards are, if you are a yard lover, serious business. So just as an investor, realize not every tenant's going to do that. But tenants also need to be aware that there's a lot of bylaws in municipalities, so if you don't cut the grass, the city, the municipality will come and cut it for you. And that's a much bigger bill than hiring your property management company.
Adrian Schulz (07:12):
Cutting the grass, cutting the weeds, cutting the mustard, popping bubbles, pink Little Tyke lawnmowers for Carla, Dr. Carla, the psychiatrist for your raising your children encouragement program. Anyway, I think that's about as real as property management gets.
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