Houston Tenant Faces $1,000 Water Bill Due to Lease Clause – What You Need to Know!

Before signing a rental lease for a house with a lawn, it is crucial to scrutinize the agreement thoroughly. Missing important clauses can lead to costly issues, as a tenant in Houston recently experienced.

A tenant shared their predicament on the r/LifeProTips subreddit, where they were held accountable for a lease clause requiring them to “keep the yard green” after a six-month inspection. Despite watering the lawn once daily, the relentless Texas heat left it parched. Consequently, the landlord insisted on watering the lawn three to four times daily during the summer.

Facing the prospect of an “almost $1000 water bill,” the tenant sought advice. Conflicts over water usage and eco-friendly living between tenants and landlords are unfortunately not rare.

Addressing Stringent Landlord and HOA Rules

If you find yourself in a similar bind, there are steps you can take to challenge and potentially modify established rules. The Texas Conservation District (TCD) has produced a guide for homeowners associations (HOAs) that offers valuable information on implementing eco-friendly changes in communities or with rigid landlords. This guide covers:

  • How to access HOA rules and understand state regulations.
  • Identifying key contacts for questions and grievances.
  • How to engage in discussions with landlords, HOA boards, and other affected community members.

Leveraging Local Ordinances

If direct action isn’t feasible, local ordinances might provide relief. With droughts becoming more frequent, statutes limiting water usage are increasingly common. The Environmental Protection Agency notes that outdoor watering constitutes a third of a household’s total water consumption.

Reddit users offered similar advice. One commented, “Many cities are enacting ordinances against this sort of waste. Check if watering that often is even legal given climate conditions.”

Another user suggested, “If it’s against local water ordinance, they can’t enforce it, but you might have to take it to court.”

Sustainable Lawn Care Solutions

Other users proposed ways to maintain the yard without excessive watering. For example, slow-drip watering at the base of trees can preserve them with minimal water use. One commenter mentioned, “The lawn will recover from being dry.”

Taking Preventive Measures

When renting a property with a lawn, it’s essential to carefully review the lease to avoid unexpected and costly requirements. If confronted with unreasonable demands, explore options for challenging these rules through local ordinances or by engaging with your HOA or landlord. With growing awareness of water conservation, solutions that are both eco-friendly and cost-effective are within reach.


Tenants should meticulously examine rental agreements, especially those involving lawn care, to prevent unforeseen expenses. By understanding local laws and effectively communicating with landlords and HOAs, tenants can find sustainable and financially sound solutions to maintain their properties.