Who is responsible for the upkeep of the garden in a rented property – is it the landlord or is it the tenant? The answer will probably lie in the tenancy agreement, but it’s not always that simple.
Few things give a worse first impression than a property with an overgrown front garden full of weeds, rubbish and towering shrubs. Not only is a messy garden costly to put right, it will put off prospective tenants and probably annoy the neighbours too. But if you rent out property with a garden, preventing this scenario can be tricky.
Generally, it’s assumed that tasks like cutting the grass, tackling litter and keeping the weeds down are the responsibility of the tenant, who is usually required, by the tenancy agreement, to return the garden in the same state as when the property was rented to them.
Tenants should not be expected to perform tasks that require expertise; pruning a tree or nurturing a delicate plant, for example.
However, if you want to ensure your tenants to keep the gardens under control, it’s worth making sure that these terms are specifically included in the tenancy agreement, even if the garden in questions is a small patio.
If your tenants do leave the garden in a bad way on terminating their tenancy, you can use the security deposit to pay to have things put right – subject to agreement by the tenant or independent adjudicator. It’s important therefore that you take dated photos and videos of the condition of the garden at the start of the tenancy.
You should also conduct regular inspections of the property to check on the garden – giving your tenants at least 24-hours’ written notice and getting their agreement before a visit.
Remember too that long-term tenants are more likely to look after the garden than short-term ones. So, if your property has a garden, it may be worth focusing on people looking to stay for the long haul.
An alternative to hoping that your tenants will be green-fingered types is to take responsibility for the gardening yourself and include a charge for the service in the rent. That way you can either complete the tasks or employ a specialist gardening company to visit regularly during the summer months. Remember, you will need to arrange this in advance with your tenants.