Healthy Homes | Reading Time: 3 Minutes | August 2020
Who looks after the garden in a rental property?
With spring on the horizon the demand for rental properties with their own green space is increasing, but it is imperative to identify who is responsible for garden maintenance tasks before the rental agreement is signed.
Clarifying who is responsible for the maintenance of rental property gardens should be set out at the beginning of a tenancy. Identifying who will take responsibility for which tasks helps avoid any disputes later on. It is also important to consider your responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act.
Areas for consideration
It is worth considering which areas the landlord is expected to maintain and which jobs may fall to the tenant. For example, the landlord may take responsibility for the mowing of lawns and the trimming of hedges, while the tenants might be expected to keep the garden reasonably tidy and not allow it to become overgrown.
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants are responsible for keeping the property reasonably tidy and clean until the end of their tenancy and this includes the garden. However, tenants are only expected to mow the lawn and weed the garden unless other duties have been specified in the tenancy agreement.
If a tenant wishes to remove or prune a tree, shrub or hedge, they must get the landlord’s written consent first. If they do this, the tenant is then responsible for removing the cuttings.
However, tenants should not be expected to undertake maintenance tasks that require a particular expertise. Tasks such as the pruning of tall trees should fall to qualified professionals and should be undertaken at the expense of the landlord. Landlords must also ensure the property is safe under the Residential Tenancies Act. Trees damaged by storms or growing towards electrical lines could be considered dangerous and will need to be dealt with.
Should I engage a professional gardener?
Engaging the services of a professional garden maintenance company makes good sense for many landlords. You can rest assured that your property will be well maintained and this is also a strong selling point when you are looking for new tenants. Remember to specify which gardening services are included when advertising your property.
The first step is to talk to your tenants or landlord if there is an issue with the lawns, gardens, or trees. If a property’s grounds aren’t being maintained properly, this is a breach of tenancy laws.
You can also talk to the local council for information and guidance.
Landlords and tenants both have a part to play in keeping rental properties in a good condition. If you’re a landlord you should carry out regular inspections to ensure the tenant is fulfilling their obligations and to identify any tasks that you may need to deal with.
For further advice on garden maintenance in rental properties, or to answer any other Property Management queries, contact the Crockers team today.