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

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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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


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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