Module 3 – Yard Maintenance

Chapter 11: Common Yard Maintenance Misconceptions

Occupied Properties

If a property is determined to be occupied, the necessary reports and photos are required representing the visit to the property, such as front of house, address verification, etc.  A minimum of three occupancy indicators should be documented with the completion results.  Additionally, photos in support of the occupancy status are required whenever possible.

Limited Growth

Completion reports of “limited growth” are not generally accepted.  This is to help avoid potential violations, neighbor complaints, or escalated issues, as well as ensuring all sidewalks, fence lines, and building edges are being trimmed and maintained to client regulations. Contractors are required to complete the grass cut as ordered when within the client allowable, or within the seasonal grass re-cut approval, when applicable. Even when parts of the yard, or the majority of the yard is under 2” in height, contractors must still complete weed-eating, edging, or mowing on any and all parts of the yard that are not under 2” in height.

In these cases, contractor results must include comments indicating that parts of the yard were under 2” in height, but identify what Yard Maintenance services were completed (for example, “all areas of yard were under 2” except around garage and sidewalk, which were trimmed”). In this situation, client expectations may vary regarding what may be billed but full supporting photos and documentation should always be provided.

Some clients may allow trip charges for grass cut work orders when lawn growth is less than 2” in height.  Check with the client to determine their policies regarding the payment of trip charges.  In these cases, the report should be fully supported by photos and documentation showing all areas (front, back, sides, fence lines, etc.), property/building edges, etc.  These trip charge orders may occur in the following situations:

     ●  Grass cut completed by HOA

     ●  Gated community / no access

●  Desert landscaping

     ●  Over-allowable estimates

     ●  Occupied / Bad Address

Weather-Related Issues

In some cases, contractors may not be able to complete Yard Maintenance orders as a result of inclement weather (snow, excessive rain, standing water in yard, etc.).  Every effort should be made to complete the Yard Maintenance; however, if a Yard Maintenance order cannot be completed by its due date, an extension should be requested as soon as possible, including supporting information and/or weather reports for the area, as well as the requested extension date.  The Yard Maintenance order should then be completed by the new due date.  Final completion reports of “too wet to cut” will not generally be accepted.

Conveyed Property (FHA orders)

If upon arrival the property is found to be posted by HUD or an authorized HUD agency, no work should be completed unless specifically instructed otherwise in writing.  The conveyance date, posting agency, and case number should be provided in the order results comments.  Additionally, digital photographs should still be provided representing the visit to the property, such as front of house, address verification, etc., as well as photos to support the presence of the conveyance postings.