Is the Landlord Responsible for Tree Trimming, or Is the Tenant?

Who is responsible for caring for trees on rental properties? This article explains the basics of tree upkeep in rentals, covering responsibilities and best practices for both landlords and tenants.

Nichole Stohler
Last Updated
July 5, 2024
Is the Landlord Responsible for Tree Trimming, or Is the Tenant?

Say you're renting a house, and the trees are getting overgrown. Can you just take matters into your own hands and start trimming the tree, or would that upset the landlord, as tree trimming is their responsibility?

Leases lay out expectations for tenants and landlords around the maintenance of a property, but the responsibilities surrounding tree care can be a gray area. This article covers who is responsible for tree maintenance in rental properties, covering everything from when it's time to trim to who's responsible for the work.

We'll also cover tips on taking care of the trees and ways to make managing ongoing maintenance easier. Knowing the rules surrounding tree maintenance will help prevent disagreements between tenants and landlords and keep your rental property safe and attractive.

When is tree trimming needed?

If, for example, people walking on the sidewalk outside your rental property have to duck due to overhanging branches or tree leaves completely block one of your windows, it's probably time to get your trees trimmed. There are other good reasons to have well-maintained trees, including:

  • Safety: Removing dead or weak branches prevents potential accidents and reduces the chances of falling debris during storms.
  • Property value: Trimming trees can enhance curb appeal, which is helpful when you're trying to increase tenant interest in your rental property.
  • Legal compliance: Many cities have ordinances regarding tree maintenance, such as how close the branches are to power lines or how tall the tree can be.
  • Preventing property damage: Overgrown branches can wreak havoc on your property. They can cause structural damage to roofs and siding, and that's not all. These unruly limbs can also clog gutters, leading to water drainage issues.
  • Improved tree health: Trees provide great benefits, like providing shade and reducing strain on the HVAC system during the summer. Regular trimming promotes better growth and longevity, so your renters can enjoy these perks for years to come.
  • Pest control: Trim trees to stop pests from taking over your property. Well-maintained trees are less likely to become breeding grounds for pests like termites or disease-carrying rodents.

Who is responsible for tree trimming: landlord or tenant?

When a the time comes for a tree to get a trimming, who's supposed to lead the charge? The answer will depend on what's in your lease. Here's a quick breakdown on the 2 possibilities:

  • Landlord's responsibility: If your lease doesn't specify responsibilities, it's safe to assume that the landlord should take care of major upkeep. This includes tree trimming, especially when it affects safety or the property's condition.
  • Tenant responsibility: As a tenant, your maintenance responsibilities may include regular yard work like mowing and weeding. Sometimes, your lease might assign minor tree care to you, but that's less common.

Tenant yard maintenance responsibilities

Your lease agreement should also detail the tenant's responsibility for maintaining the property, including for both indoor and outdoor care. Common duties include:

  • Mowing the lawn.
  • Watering the grass and plants.
  • Raking leaves and removing debris.
  • Trimming hedges and bushes.
  • Clearing snow from walkways.
  • Reporting any major landscaping issues to the landlord.

Rental property tree maintenance tips

As a property owner, here are some tree maintenance tips to keep everyone safe and protect your rental property:

  • Regular inspections: Add tree trimming to your regular preventative maintenance checklist and inspect trees at least twice a year in the spring and fall.
  • Pruning and trimming: Remove dead or overhanging branches that could pose a risk to tenants or structures.
  • Watering: Make sure trees receive the right amount of water, especially during dry periods.
  • Local ordinances: Stay updated on local laws and regulations regarding tree height and other rules.
  • Neighborly responsibility: Verify that your trees don't barge onto neighboring properties. Overgrown trees may frustrate your neighbors and cause disagreements or legal issues.
  • Reporting issues: Ask renters to report any tree-related issues quickly. This way, you can handle problems before they get serious. You don't want fallen trees just sitting there or small issues growing until they require full tree removal.

Managing the landlord's responsibility for trees in rental properties

Thinking about tree maintenance can be challenging when you've got so many other things to manage. One way to make this easier is to use Azibo's property management software to help you with areas like:

  • Lease agreement: Create legally compliant state-specific leases using Azibo's online platform. In the agreement, you can specify who is responsible for tree trimming. You can even add a landscaping addendum for tenants' outdoor maintenance responsibilities.
  • Maintenance management: If you have an issue with tree limbs or branches, you'll want to know about it right away. Azibo's maintenance and messaging feature makes it simple for tenants to report issues so you can take care of them quickly.
  • Insurance: Azibo offers landlord insurance, which can help cover costs if a tree branch falls on your rental property and causes damage.

Are renters responsible for tree removal?

Tree maintenance in rentals can be straightforward when everyone understands their role. Landlords and tenants who stay proactive and on top of issues keep the property looking sharp and avoid hassles down the road. Regular care is worth the effort, since it keeps trees healthy and creates a safer, more attractive living environment.

Take care of tree issues quickly to stop minor problems from becoming major issues. Nobody wants a small branch problem turning into a "tree crashed through the roof" situation. For routine trimming or dealing with storm damage, have a clear understanding of responsibilities to avoid conflicts. A little communication goes a long way — it's better to talk about maintenance now than argue about repairing damages later.

Well-maintained trees aren't just nice to look at; they can boost property value and keep everyone happy. Landlords and tenants alike benefit from staying on top of tree care, which means it's a win-win for all involved.

Who is responsible for trees on leased land? FAQs

Who is responsible for trees in a mobile home park in Arizona?

Arizona mobile home park owners are generally responsible for tree maintenance. Arizona law requires landlords to keep the premises fit and habitable and all common areas clean and safe.

Who is responsible when a neighbor's tree falls in your yard in California?

If a healthy tree falls due to natural causes, the California property owner where the tree lands is responsible for the damage and cleanup. The homeowner's insurance for the affected property typically covers the damage, subject to policy terms and deductibles. If the tree was dead or poorly maintained, the neighbor may be liable.

Who is responsible for cutting overhanging tree branches in Oregon?

Property owners in Oregon can trim branches from a neighbor's tree that overhang onto their property up to the property line provided they follow trimming rules and do not injure the tree. They cannot force the tree owner to do the trimming.

Important Note: This post is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be taken as legal, accounting, or tax advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for such services. Always consult your own legal, accounting, or tax counsel before taking any action based on this information.

Nichole Stohler

Nichole co-founded Gateway Private Equity Group, with a history of investments in single-family and multi-family properties, and now a specialization in hotel real estate investments. She is also the creator of, a blog dedicated to real estate investing.

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