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Landscape / Lawn Damage

Suffering here with the Florida drought. The yard of my property is mostly dead due to the tenants not watering.  I have gotten quotes for resod which are upward of $5k & I have a tenant $1500 deposit. The lease agreement states: "You must maintain the lawn and other vegetation in as good or better condition as at the beginning of the lease, including watering, mowing, trimming, and fertilizing as required."  I have video evidence of before and current condition.   I have to decide to keep the deposit and eat the rest, or take the tenant to court.  They have already hired an attorney because they wanted to break the lease a month early which I declined, and now are demanding to get their deposit back.  Thoughts?

Did the local government dictate the amount of lawn watering was allowed? If so, you will have a hard time convincing a judge that it was the tenants fault. CA had the same drought problem. No more grass for me. Switched to drought resistant plants and drip system. Depending on FL state law... they are responsible until lease expires. Review the law and see what it says about tenant leaving before the lease terminates and losses you may be entitled to. Also, there should be something in your lease about breaking a lease.
The lease dispute was last month & it's now up in 5 days so that's no longer a concern.  it just made them bitter I think. The county restrictions are to water twice a week.  The neighbors' lawns are pristine.  Likely, the tenants just never watered.   At this point, I think I retain their deposit and then will have to decide whether to pursue them for the balance of resodding?  I can't think of a leg they have to stand on to get their deposit back.
Keep us posted if things change. Thanks
hi what county are you in.
Sorry, I'm in Orange....the property is in Seminole.
Well, we ended up settling and the tenant is giving up their security deposit in order to walk away unencumbered.  It's the easiest route for me as well.
Yikes.. I have a rental property that also requires taking care of the landscaping. I'm always afraid this will happen to me one day, hopefully not.
It is great I have across this thread. Some time ago, I was looking for similar information but could not find anything.
Now I see all information I need. I am currently in and will be in your area next month. So I will save this information to use it. Thanks again very much to everybody for sharing.
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