I live in Minneapolis, and my landlords are not properly maintaining my yard, which is shared with the other unit.

In Minnesota, lawn care is the landlord's responsibility, unless the lease explicitly and clearly states otherwise, and tenants must be remunerated for lawn care. Ours has no such provision.

I don't want to go into detail about the lawn, but it's quite unambiguously poorly maintained, so let's assume for the purposes of this question it is, and has not been maintained for a month. It's also a hygiene issue because it's much harder to pick pet waste up out of long grass than short grass.

Calling city inspections seems like the wrong course, but I couldn't find any state or city statue that addressed this situation.

I'm not paying rent to also have to do lawn maintenance, but what can I do about this?


As a general principle (not specifically in Minnesota), I would not expect city inspections to be involved here. This is a straightforward contract dispute. You are paying money, and the landlord is failing to honour their side of the contract by maintaining the lawn. The normal way to resolve contract disputes is first by negotiation and if that fails, through the courts. (You would either be seeking an order for specific performance, or damages so that you can pay a lawn contractor yourself.)

The only reason my analysis might not apply, is that tenancy contracts are very highly regulated, and there might be some sort of additional layer of mandatory arbitration/mediation which is interposed by the either the law or possibly the contract.

IANAL, and I am definitely not your lawyer.

  • The statutory basis for an obligation on the landlord is a nuisance statute, which trumps contracts. An unkempt yard is a public nuisance and prohibited by law. But the details of such statutes are local and usually interpreted subjectively. A typical unmowed lawn doesn't rise to the level of nuisance, but might, and the only way to trigger a citation is to file a complaint. – user6726 Oct 15 '19 at 14:12
  • @user If I understand, it becomes a nuisance at 5 inches, which we aren't quite at – Azor Ahai -him- Oct 15 '19 at 14:51
  • " An unkempt yard is a public nuisance" - gosh. I have never encountered that concept in England and Wales. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Oct 15 '19 at 15:26
  • @MartinBonner It is not common but in the US sometimes the city will mow the yard and bill the property owner. But things have to basically get out of control before that will happen. – emory Oct 15 '19 at 16:53

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