Hiring a resident to cut grass

I am interested to hear thoughts from the group on the pros/cons of hiring a resident to mow vacant lots and other green space at a park I own. The previous owner provided a mower for a resident and paid them a small fee to perform the work. I don’t love the liability aspect of this, but perhaps I am being too overly cautious since this is my first park. Thoughts from the group?

Thanks!
Dustin

Can’t comment on if you should or shouldn’t do this, but if you do hire them to cut grass, you need to make sure you take out the appropriate insurance for hiring employees.

The park I acquired had a tenant getting free rent ($500) for mowing and leaf blowing. But no one was checking up on him. He liked to mow but when I got a property mgr to look things over he told him the leaf blower he had was a “toy” and get a real one to do the work since you are getting $500 a month. I checked prices of landscape companies and could get it done for $325/month. I switched.

In a way I could have asked this person to continue for less than $325/month (with a contract about being an independent contractor but that doesn’t solve the insurance questions), but then I’d need someone checking on him all the time. For my situation it seemed I would have better chance of it being done right with a company. So if you have your tenant’s help, have a way to double check that he’s really doing what you are requesting.

Whether you hire a resident to cut the grass or hire a landscaping service, you still have to monitor their work. I find it easier to hire a service. You don’t have the costs of equipment, repairs of equipment, purchase of fuel and supplies. If they don’t do a good job it’s easy to let them go and find another service. No hard feelings. Not always the same outcome when you take the job away from your resident. Just make sure you and they have insurance.

Never hire tenants!!

I’ve had a tenant mow for over a decade. Zero issues.

I hire Tenants for almost everything.
I give them rent credits. There are a few laws about doing this check your Labor Law Poster.
Be sure to have Worker’s Comp coverage even for Rent Credits.

Plus’s

  1. Lower’s your tax burden (payroll Taxes).
  2. Everyone knows who is supposed to Mow the lawn. The Tenant’s name is on it. Social Pressure to do a good job is great.

Minus

  1. Equipment can get abused
  2. Park Manager must oversee work