I began renting a house in Omaha, Nebraska last fall. When I moved
in, the front yard was in terrible condition. There were weeds almost
as tall as the house around the shrubbery (not kidding). This last
spring, I tore all of the weeds out, removed a small tree from the
front yard (with landlords permission), and trimmed down the shrubs
and hedges to manageable condition.
Recently, I received a call from my landlord (a company) stating that
they received a notice from the city about the "condition of the yard"
including "weeds" etc. I told them that I have been taking great care
of the front yard and the accessible portion of the back yard, but
there is a steep hill full of trees and weeds to the rear. It would
be nearly impossible for me to clean out this area due to the trees,
the retaining wall disallowing access to this part of the yard, and
the steepness of the hill. It has been this way since I moved in.
I can foresee a nasty situation arising in which I am held responsible
for this area of the yard.
Here are some important parts of the lease contract:
"17: CONDITION OF PREMISES: Tenant hereby acknowledges that he has
examined the premises and that no representations as to the condition
or state of repairs thereof have been made by anyone. The Tenant
hereby accepts the premises in their present condition. The Tenant
further agrees during his occupancy of the premises to keep them in
good repair and, at the expiration of the term, yield and deliver up
the same in the condition as when taken, reasonable use and wear
thereof alone excepted. ..."
It now occurs to me that I should have inspected the property more
closely before signing the lease and either forced the landlord to
clear this area of the yard into a more manageable position or
suggested a change to the contract.
But, what are considered repairs and what are considered yard work?
Should the removal of trees be the responsibility of the landlord or
of me? Whose responsibility is this area of the yard?