It is standard practice for maintenance work to the front and back yard to be completed by the same contractor who performed the junk clearance and the clean up. However, make sure you list these services in a separate section in any quotation you generate. You can then offer a package price for the provision of all the services. The services that you will provide as part of maintaining the garden, yard, and landscaping may be as follows:
Maintaining grass areas. This will include cutting the lawn, removing any weeds, trimming the edge of the lawn, removing any debris, sweeping all paved areas, and removing clippings and garden waste. These activities are included in the permitted HUD cost for initial and subsequent work.
In some areas, there may be a homeowners’ association that is responsible for maintaining the area outside the property. Check in advance if this is the case to save yourself from performing unnecessary work.
The initial cut will usually be provided shortly after the bank has acquired the property and maintenance will be completed according to a pre-agreed schedule thereafter. This is generally every two weeks.
HUD Guidelines for Lawn and Shrub Maintenance
The HUD have issued guidelines for lawn maintenance, as follows:
- Grass should be cut every two weeks between April and October unless the climate of the area dictates that the grass is cut more frequently. This is indicated by the chart below.
- Grass should not be cut between November and March unless prior written approval is obtained. In the event that the grass does grow beyond six inches high in the off-season, the mortgagee can request approval for the grass to be cut.
- The grass and weeds should be cut to a maximum height of two inches.
- Any grass or weeds around the property line, bushes, trees, fences, flowerbeds and any other constructions should be trimmed.
- Shrubs should be trimmed between the growing season of the area, which typically runs from April through to October. Shrubs should generally be trimmed once a year. If additional trimming is required, take photographs to document the state of growth and seek appropriate approval.
Oversized yard: If you are asked to produce an estimate for an oversized yard that is larger than 15,000 square feet, ensure that you measure and record the exact dimensions to produce an accurate calculation of the total square footage. Use photographs to document the size and scale of the area.
When you produce a quotation, make sure it includes a separate price for the initial cut, and the subsequent cuts thereafter.
Local Variations from General Requirements
SANTA ANA Homeownership Center Arizona/ California/ Nevada
Grass should be cut year-round. Properties with desert landscaping require only once a month weed removal and are reimbursed as a re-cut.
Grass should be cut year round.
ATLANTA Homeownership Center Florida
Grass should be cut year round.
Property Preservation Grass Cut Video(s)
Grass Cut Season Start and End Dates
HUD Guidelines for Snow Removal
The lender is required to ensure that the property is safe and accessible throughout the winter. It is, therefore, the lender’s responsibility to ensure that all snow is cleared from the walkways, paths and entryways surrounding the property following a minimum three‐inch accumulation. Before commencing any snow and ice removal activities, ensure that you check the snow removal requirements in the area in which you are operating because there are usually local variations pertaining to how much of the sidewalk you will be required to clear.
Once you have removed all offending snow and ice, put some salt or grit down to melt any remaining ice.
If this is work that you intend to complete yourself, it’s a really good idea to purchase a snow blower, it will make your life significantly easier.
Always take “before” and “after” photographs to document the work you have completed in the event that your invoice is disputed.