How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask socrateaser Your Own Question

socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34180
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
10097515
Type Your Legal Question Here...
socrateaser is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What is standard of care for lawn maintenance by tenant on

Resolved Question:

What is standard of care for lawn maintenance by tenant on a single family home?

Our executed Standard Washington rental contract says " Maintenance: Tenant will at all times maintain the property, including any yard and lawns, in a neat and clean condition and upon termination of this agreement will leave the property in as good condition as it is now, reasonable wear and tear excepted."

Our move out date was April 19, 2013, but without notice in February and March, landlord sent gardeners to cut down about 6 trees, chip tree branches for removal, power wash house, clean gutters, cut back Ivy which grows on house and radically trim shrubs and do general yard clean up. He claims bill was $4,200 and our share was $2,000 which he deducted from our $5,000 security deposit and gave us $3,000 on 4/19 without an accounting of the deductions. He claims he paid cash to the gardener and doesn't get receipts. After a request for itemization over a week ago, we still have no accounting.

The home and yard were in good shape when we took occupancy on Jan 5, 2011. In April of 2011, the home won an award for "yard of the week" and was featured in the local paper. Obviously we kept it up from January to April.

We had no choice in the matter prior to leaving and feel that the deductions are both not warranted and not legal.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

Are you located in Seattle? I'm asking because Seattle has a landlord-tenant ordinance that may provide additional protection, not available in other areas of the state.

Thanks in advance.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I am in Blaine WA which is Whatcom County

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.
Okay, thanks.

Rev. Code. Wa. 59.18.260 requires that where a security deposit will be used to pay for damage to the premises beyond ordinary wear and tear, the landlord and tenant must sign a checklist specifically describing the condition of the property at lease commencement. Without the signed checklist, the landlord cannot retain the security -- in fact, the landlord cannot even collect that portion of the security deposit when the lease begins.

Rev. Code Wa 59.18.280 requires that the landlord provide the tenant within 14 days of the termination of the tenancy, "a full and specific statement of the basis for retaining any of the deposit together with the payment of any refund due the tenant under the terms and conditions of the rental agreement." Normal wear and tear cannot be taken from the tenant's security, and the tenant can sue for up to twice the amount of the entire security deposit, if the landlord fails to follow the law.

"Normal wear and tear" means things that happen over time due to regular and routine use. Landscape grows on its own. General yard cleanup is normal wear and tear. So, is ordinary growth. Gutters fill with leaves, just as paint wears off the exterior over time. Everything you describe is ordinary wear and tear. Four thousand dollars worth of landscape work is huge. The average bill for weekly maintenance is $30-60.

The court is not going to let the landlord keep four grand -- unless you let everything die.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 34180
Experience: Retired (mostly)
socrateaser and 8 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
 
 
 

Related Legal Questions