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Tenant Rights: Yard & Chimney?

Phoebe recently moved to Portland and is wondering what are standard landlord vs. tenant responsibilties here in the Rose City:

The landlord of the house isn't providing yard maintenance and it's our responsibility to have the chimney swept.  When I moved to LA from New York I was shocked that most rentals don't come with refrigerators, do you know if lack of yard care and the chimney is just a common rental quirk of Portland?

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I'm not sure about the chimney, but I had to do the maintenance on the yard unless it was a condo or an apartment.

I think a variety of arrangements are made here. It should all be in the lease, though.

I think a variety of arrangements are made here. It should all be in the lease, though.

Here's a link to a previous uM conversaion on tenant rights in 8.07ecifically re yard & chimney maintenantce, but anyway: http://urbanmamas.typepad.com//urbanmamas/2007/08/dont-make-me-go.html - there are 19 comments.

we've always had to do our own yard work, but the chimney thing is weird to me. that's always been taken care of by our landlord since it's a potential hazard (to the tenants and the home) if it's not cleaned and cared for properly.

Hey - I'm actually a landlord/tenant attorney (landlord side). I can tell you it's pretty typical for most of my clients to leave yard work to the tenants, simply because it reduces the amount of times the landlord has to intrude on the tenant's household. The chimney sweep thing comes up sometimes as well. Pretty much (with a few exceptions) whatever you agree to in the lease is what you're stuck with as it's a binding contract between the parties.

We were in charge of our own yard work when we rented for 5 years. But for us, that meant mow the lawn and that was it. We decided we were not going to put any money into the yard whatsoever since it wasn't ours. We even offered to spruce things up if they would pay for plants, stones, etc. but they declined so we left it alone.

Anything else to do with maintenece the landlord took care of since it was in his best interest to keep up the house.

If you live in a single family dwelling, yard maintenance is as per rental agreement.

If you have any questions about your rights as tenants, you can contact the 'Community Alliance of Tenants', at www.oregoncat.org or at (503)288-0130. They are a volunteer-based organization, so it might take a while for them to get back to you.But they are helpful and informative.

If you feel that your landlord is in violation of Property Maintenance Regulations, you can contact the 'Office of Neighborhood Involvement', at www.portlandonline.com/oni or at (503) 823-7306. They can send you a 'Title 29' booklet, which covers all the property nuisance and maintenance stuff.

We had our rental agreement changed to exclude yard maintenance last year. But our landlord had no boundaries, kind of like a wet puppy. So changing the rental agreement barred him from coming onto the property without our permission!

Great post about chimneys. I found it to be very useful. I will have to bookmark your site for future reading.

I would say that having the chimney swept would be the landlords job.

My husband n I were in charge of lawn maintence which was find with us. When we moved out the landlord said she would have to resod patches of the yard because it looked dead. She said it was because we didn't water it enough which if that were the case wouldn't the whole yard need resoding. Oh n it's in the desert which means watering 3 days a week because of water restrictions

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