Tenants and Gardens: who is responsible for maintenance?
Who is responsible for the upkeep of the garden in a rented property – is it the landlord or is it the tenant? The rental agreement should answer this question.
As with so many things, it is not as simple as that. Yes, the rental agreement should cover every aspect of the tenancy, and the garden (where there is one) will be one of those aspects.
The first problem that arises is where a number of tenants share access to a garden. Some may be more enthusiastic about mowing the lawn and pulling up weeds than others, and it may not take long before the keen ones are withdrawing their labour because the others are not pulling their weight.
Then there’s the question: what is a garden? You may be renting out a property with lawns, flower beds, and a pond. On the other hand, it may be an area the size of a small patio, or even a large window box.
Does it matter? Yes, it does – because keeping the property looking good is in your interests even more than the tenant’s. And a neglected garden will take more effort to bring it back into shape when you are looking for a new tenant than one that has been properly looked after.
In general terms, you should assume – unless the rental agreement says differently – that tasks like cutting the grass and keeping the weeds down are the responsibility of the tenant.
One idea you might bear in mind is that long-term tenants are more likely to look after the garden than short-term tenants, so if your property has a garden, it may be worth focusing on longer term tenancies.
There is, however, a better approach, especially if you have a number of properties with gardens, and that is to take responsibility for the gardening yourself, and include a gardening charge in the rent. That way, you can retain a specialist gardener or gardening firm to look after things, and you can be the one who stipulates what is to happen in the gardens attached to your properties.
This is only one of the many questions the buy-to-let landlord has to answer. You don’t need to take everything on yourself. We have been dealing with matters important to landlords for many years. Don’t think of us only in relation to our guaranteed rent scheme that provides guaranteed rent for landlords – we can also help you make sure that everything in the garden looks lovely.