In my Multifamily Owner Expenses series, the topics that have been covered are Property Taxes, Property Management, Utilities and Property Insurance. This week of the series is addressing Landscaping & Snow Removal.

Landscaping largely contributes to the curb appeal for apartment complexes. While landscaping alone will not likely bring owners higher rent per month, it can significantly help in attracting new tenants and retaining current tenants. A beautifully landscaped apartment complex can create an inviting atmosphere that tenants will be proud to call home.

Items that are important to consider to properly landscape your apartment complex include:

  1. Creating a welcoming entrance
  2. Planting flowers, shrubs, and trees that can spruce up the appearance
  3. Strategically placing lighting around the complex for safety and to highlight its best features

For owners with apartment complexes that have grass, costs will include:

  • Mowing
  • Trimming
  • Edging
  • Blowing
  • Sprinkler maintenance

Several owners I know have have installed turf in their apartment complexes, and while there is a higher upfront cost, can ultimately save them money long-term with lower maintenance costs.

Snow removal is necessary to be removed from walkways and common areas by apartment owners. Owners are typically responsible for snow removal and can be liable for tenant injury caused by slipping and falling on snow and ice.

Case Study:

I recently spoke with an owner of a duplex community on just over an acre in the North Idaho area. On average, that owner pays $7,000/year in landscaping and $1,500/year in snow removal. This complex is likely to be on the higher end of costs due to each unit having a private backyard as well as common areas with grass and shrubs. The landscaping and snow removal costs of a 25 unit apartment complex I sold last year, on the South Hill in Spokane, totaled approximately $4,500/year.

Costs for landscaping and snow removal differ from property to property and depend on how large the property is and how much of the landscaping is lawn. These costs will also depend on weather. This last year Spokane had a milder winter than normal which kept snow removal costs lower than average.

While costs for landscaping and snow removal vary, it is important for owners to have a plan for regular lawn maintenance and to keep common areas clear of snow and ice in the winters.

SVN Cornerstone Multifamily

Jordan Lester is an Associate Advisor with SVN Cornerstone. Jordan served as a brokers assistant for 3 years with SVN Cornerstone before becoming a full time broker. Jordan specializes in the multifamily sector of commercial real estate. To get in touch with Jordan, email or call 509.496.6922