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The dividing line between tenant and landlord garden responsibilities isn’t always clearly spelt out unless you read the fine print of a tenancy agreement.
This can often lead to disputes. Especially when each side is expecting the other to shoulder the lion’s share of the responsibility.
Ultimately, as a landlord, it’s you who is going to suffer the most in the long-run if your garden is left to go to pasture.
Your tenant might not particularly enjoy the sight of huge weeds blocking the windows of the house they live in. But it’s your property which is going to be potentially damaged by neglect and its value which might end up suffering.
In the UK, there aren’t really any hard-and-fast requirements which are always a tenant’s responsibility when it comes to garden maintenance.
The tenancy agreement – properly called the AST or Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement – which the tenant and landlord sign at the start of occupancy will usually lay out each party’s responsibilities, though.
For the tenant, these tend to include:
As a tenant, you can’t be asked or required to handle any garden maintenance which calls for special training. This generally means your landlord can’t demand that you do anything like don your safety gear, whip out your chainsaw and take care of some tree surgery for them.
Equally, you can’t be forced to carry out any improvement work. So if the “garden” was a two metre-square patch of concrete when you moved in, your landlord can’t require you to transform it into a green paradise complete with a water feature before you move out.
Landlord responsibilities for garden areas are the balancing side of this equation. This means that common jobs that you might be expected to handle as a landlord include things like:
In general, a rough rule of thumb is that landlord garden responsibilities cover everything which it would be unreasonable to expect the tenant to take care of. Again, there are usually some stock phrases which feature in most tenancy agreements (ASTs) which cover and define what this means for a specific property. If you’re a landlord, it follows that it’s a good idea to carefully peruse the AST which any property management service you might be using presents you with.
Given the fact that the potential negative outcomes of overlooked landlord responsibilities relating to the garden are fairly serious ones, many property owners decide to solve the problem in the simplest way possible. This usually involves having a go-to gardening service they know they can trust for any garden maintenance which might be required on their property.
Technically, having an actual service available is not a part of landlord responsibilities for a UK garden. But knowing that your valuable property is covered for both standard maintenance concerns and for when or if disaster strikes is the kind of peace of mind which most landlords are keen to get.
Unless you are a landlord offering a secure, long-term rental situation, most tenants won’t buy their own gardening equipment. But does a landlord have to provide gardening tools?
Only if there are certain tasks – usually these will be defined in your AST – which you are expecting the tenant to carry out. Tasks which, crucially, they have signed on the dotted line to confirm they are happy to be in charge of.
This might mean that you will ensure there is a well-maintained lawnmower available at the property if you are expecting your tenant to mow the lawn on a regular basis. It’s also expected that you ensure there is an accessible – and properly surge-protected – socket, usually called a Residual Current Device or RCD, to make using any powered tools safe.
Of course, as a landlord who wants to ensure their property will be well-cared-for, it makes sense to provide some basic tools if you want to… “encourage” your tenant to take care of the outside space. Having a hard brush, trowel, garden hoe, and some other simple tools neatly stored will be all the encouragement most good tenants need to take proper care of a garden space.
The other option is to set up an ongoing garden maintenance service. This effectively draws a line under any potential for disagreement between tenant and landlord over garden responsibilities. Plus, as a landlord, it means the exterior of your property will always be properly cared for and its value need never suffer.
Garden maintenance can be a tedious chore especially when you’re already working a fulltime job and want to relax after work. Plus it does require some experience if you want your garden to look good. However, by booking a garden maintenance service with Fantastic Service you can rest assured that your garden will receive the utmost care in the world. The gardening specialists we work with are all insured, qualified and bring all the necessary tools to transform your garden into a lush greenery. You just need to book your service online and we’ll take care of the rest.
Why not try our garden maintenance service out!