Am I as a tenant responsible for tree trimming/cutting?

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Am I as a tenant responsible for tree trimming/cutting?

Recently, the landlord told my husband that they had gotten a complaint about overgrown trees. They would be coming over the next few days to work in the yard. They did and then sent us a bill for $800 in which is specified the trees had not been trimmed or cut. However, about 15-18 months ago my husband spoke with the landlord who verbally said that they knew they needed to get someone in to trim and cut the trees because they were showing signs of overgrowth. Our lease states, “tenant will keep and maintain the premises and appurtenances in good and sanitary condition and repair.”

Asked on July 27, 2011 Montana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You were astute to read the written lease between you and the landlord first to try and solve the issue as to whether its terms obligate you and your husband to do tree trimming and cutting. Typically the written lease controls the obligations of the landlord and the tenant subject to state law on the issue in dispute.

From the provision you cited, my opinion is that unless there is specific mention of pruning overgrown trees and other expensive landscape maintenance issues (apart from mowing the lawn, weeding and watering the lawn) the landlord is on the hook for the $800.00 tree pruning cost, not you.

You rented the structure to live in as the main item of the lease. $800.00 worth of tree trimming does not come under the provision "tenant will keep and maintain the premises in good and sanitary condition and repair."

The landlord's verbal admission to your husband 15 to 18 months ago shows his state of mind that the tree trimming was his responsibility, not yours.

Good luck.


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