Maintaining your lawn and your neighbor’s lawn can lead to keeping up your property value and preventing issues like pests or fines. However, it can be frustrating when neighbor doesn’t mow or trim their grass. An overgrown, unkempt lawn can become an eyesore next door and make other homes in the neighborhood look unappealing. What do you do when your neighbor’s front lawn grass gets too tall, and how do you make your neighbor mow their lawn?
Before taking action, understand your neighborhood’s expectations and rules around lawns and yard work. Many municipalities and homeowner’s associations (HOAs) have ordinances dictating the maximum height of grass on residential properties.
If your neighbor exceeds the limit, you may have valid grounds to compel them to mow their lawn. But first, try approaching your neighbor directly in a friendly manner. An underlying reason could be financial hardship, illness, or simple neglect. Offer to help find a solution, like mowing it yourself or hiring a lawn service. You can often resolve the issue without hostility with neighborly communication and understanding.
In our guide, “we’ll look at how to report someone for not mowing their lawn.” By the end, you’ll better understand how to approach the situation, which regulations from a HOA should be followed, and ensure your neighbors keep up with their lawn duties. (Read My Neighbor Runs A Generator All Night)
How to Get Neighbors Who Overgrow to Mow Their Lawn
When the lawn is unkempt next door, it can be frustrating. Tall grass and weeds can be an eyesore, attract pests, and lower surrounding property values. So what can you do when the condition of your neighbor’s property is like this when they don’t mow his or her lawn?
Here are some options for how to handle the situation.
Try Talking to Your Neighbor First
Before taking any drastic measures, the first step should be to talk directly to the property owner. So, head over and ring the doorbell to confront your neighbor. There could be an understandable reason your next-door neighbor isn’t keeping up with lawn maintenance.
Approach the situation respectfully, and non-confrontational, as you don’t want to offend them. Offer to help mow the neighbor’s yard or connect them with an affordable lawn care service.
If they are elderly people or disabled, volunteer to organize a community effort to ensure their lawn gets mowed. If there is a lack of time or finances, work together to find a solution. Remind them nicely that well-kept lawns help maintain the entire neighborhood’s curb appeal and property values.
Check Local Ordinances on Lawn Length
Many municipalities have rules about grass length on private property. If your neighbor’s lawn far exceeds the limit, you may be able to report them to code enforcement.
First, familiarize yourself with the specifics of your city or county’s ordinance. Grass is often limited to under 12 inches. Note if the rules refer to the whole yard or just the portion bordering a public street.
Also, check for exemptions for natural lawns and prairie yards where grass may grow to around 6 inches. Ensure your complaint pertains to what the grass isn’t cut and appears to be overgrown grass rather than acceptable landscaping choices. (Read Addressing Soil Elevation Difference Between Neighbors)
File a Formal Complaint with the City
If a friendly talk doesn’t work, contact your local government to report the violation of the city government ordinance. With the lack of grass cutting, they may do something when your neighbor won’t cut their lawn or the grass near the road. Call the non-emergency number and explain the situation. Most times, this means calling 311.
Code enforcement will then send an inspector to the property. If the lawn exceeds the legal limit, the homeowner will receive an official notice instructing them to mow the lawn. If they still don’t comply, they may be cited, or they could be fined.
Call the city repeatedly until the city cuts the grass themselves or takes serious action. They may face fines, which can quickly motivate homeowners to care for their lawn.
See If Your Homeowners’ Association Rules Can Help
For those living in neighborhoods with a homeowner’s association (HOA), the HOA may put pressure on non-compliant homeowners. HOA covenants often include lawn maintenance guidelines. Review your HOA rules for the specific lawn length required. File a complaint through the proper channels, including any evidentiary photos of the overgrown lawn.
The HOA typically sends a warning letter, then a fine if not addressed. If the homeowner refuses to pay HOA fines, the HOA can put a lien on the property.
Hire a Lawn Service to Fix the Problem
If you’ve exhausted other options, consider taking matters into your own hands. Hire a lawn care company to mow and trim your neighbor’s lawn.
Ensure the lawn service bills your neighbor directly. If they don’t pay, you can cover the cost yourself. Remember, you can’t just cut their grass when you cut your grass. Never cut grass with your lawnmower voluntarily. Doing so could mean you are breaking the law, even if you think you are doing a good deed. Rules must be followed, and you would need permission.
Can I Make My Neighbor Mow His Lawn of Tall Grass?
In extreme cases, you may need to threaten or take legal action against non-compliant neighbors. Consulting a lawyer is recommended before pursuing this route. There are a couple of potential legal bases to compel neighbors to cut their grass:
- Nuisance claims: Overgrown yards full of weeds or bugs could constitute a “nuisance” that unreasonably interferes with using your property. This is grounds to sue in civil court.
- Adverse possession: If your neighbors’ lawn doesn’t look its best all the way to the property line, you may claim that portion through adverse possession. But this requires using that land openly for many years.
Proving these cases takes time and money. Weigh the costs versus living with an unkempt lawn next door.
Understand Before You Report Someone For Not Mowing
Before getting angry, consider the reasons why neighbors fail to cut the grass and clean up their yard:
- Financial hardship: Maintaining a lawn takes time and money. Some homes may be facing foreclosure.
- Illness or disability: Health issues like injuries or chronic illness make yardwork challenging for your neighbor to clean their yard and use the mower.
- Vacant homes: Banks don’t always promptly maintain foreclosed properties. Track down the owner and report them if vacant.
- Laziness: Sure, some homeowners are simply lazy or neglectful. But try to engage them positively before turning to punishments.
- Intentional natural landscaping: Raising native plants and grasses can benefit the environment. Ensure it’s not a natural lawn, as they don’t like using fertilizer before reporting.
FAQs: How To Get Neighbor To Clean up Their Yard?
My neighbor never mows. Their lawn is over a foot tall. What should I do?
Politely talk to them about the situation and the mosquito risk. If that doesn’t work, check your city’s ordinance on grass length and report them to code enforcement if they exceed it. Consider also speaking to your HOA if applicable. (Read Airbnb Neighbor Complaints)
Can I mow part of my neighbor’s lawn that borders my property?
You should not mow their lawn without permission. Even if the grass reaches onto your property, it is still theirs. Talk to them first or report them to resolve it.
What if my neighbor can’t mow because they are elderly or disabled?
Offer to help find a neighborhood kid or lawn service to help them out. Or organize a community volunteer mowing schedule. Don’t report disabled or elderly neighbors.
Can my HOA fine my neighbor for an overgrown lawn?
Most HOA covenants require homeowners to maintain their lawns. If they don’t comply after fines, the HOA can put a lien on the property.
How long does the grass have to be before the city will intervene?**
City ordinances vary but often restrict grass over 12 inches tall. Check the specifics for your municipality. The height limit usually applies only to front yards visible from the street.
What if I live next to an abandoned, foreclosed home with an overgrown lawn?
Contact the bank that owns the home and report them to the city if they don’t fix it promptly. You can also see if the city will mow abandoned properties and then bill the owner for the upkeep. (Read Plants Chickens Hate)
If talking to my neighbor and reporting them doesn’t work, what recourse do I have?
You can sue for nuisance or take other legal action as a last resort. Or you can hire a lawn service to mow their lawn and bill the neighbor. Mow your lawn to perfection rather than obsessing over theirs.