Q1. My landlord refuses to fix a sprinkler system, saying that if I as a tenant choose to fulfill my responsibility to water the grass using the automatic sprinkler system, then I should be the one fixing it. Unless I would water the grass manually with a hose. Is his argument valid? The sprinkler was working fine when I first moved in, and the breakdown was due to the harsh winter as confirmed by the irrigation company.
Q2. Would I be held responsible if the grass dies for not watering?
Landlord / Tenant Lawyer
In order to answer this question, I would have to review your lease. Generally, you are obligated to perform the acts that you have agreed to perform, and if you fail to perform such acts, the landlord can sue you for any damages cause by such failure.
You should immediately contact an attorney experienced in landlord and tenant law for more detailed advice based upon the specific facts of your case because this answer is for general educational and guidance purposes only. This answer is based entirely upon the facts that you have provided and could be different if different or additional facts exist.
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Administrative Law Lawyer
As Atty. Miller answered, more details are required. However, if we presume that your lease held you responsible for the lawn, but not to maintain the plumbing, then if you have proof that its failure was not your fault, (ex. failing to winterize?) then after notice to LL, you could have the sprinkler's fixed and deduct the cost from your rent. Then the courts could decide. Your argument is that the LL was to provide the tools to maintain the grass. So, if you let the grass wither, it would be your breach.