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Who is Responsible for Garden Upkeep?

Flower garden (1)

There can be many issues that arise between landlord and tenants due to the confusion between responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is the garden.

The main thing that you have to remember is that the tenant is responsible for keeping the garden in the state it was when they moved in. So as a Landlord, you can’t expect the tenant to keep the hedges trimmed if it was overgrown when they moved in.

If you are a bit of a green fingered landlord, it is best to put it in the tenancy agreement that the garden should be kept tidy, then you have it in writing if it later becomes a problem.

If you’re living in a rented property and you love your garden, you should always get permission from your landlord before making changes to the property. This is because your changes may affect the landlord in future financially, even if you think it is an improvement.

So if you were to install a beautiful water feature, this may later add extra costs onto the landlord’s upkeep of the property such as cleaning, so be sure you ask first. This includes adding flower beds and trees.

Trees can cause extra risk to homes and increase insurance premiums, and also block light from the house, which can decrease value for future tenants, for a landlord, they may be pretty but are best to be avoided.

A tenant is however entitled to use the garden for social events like barbeques and gatherings, but if the landlord has a concerning problem with this, they can apply to stop their tenants on the grounds of noise complaints and more.

When a landlord owns a number of properties or a block of flats with a communal area, it is a good idea to hire a gardener to be sure that these areas are kept tidy for all of the tenants, and be sure conflicts don’t arise.

A Landlord can add to the tenants monthly rent to cover these costs by adding maintenance charges to the rent, tenants have to be notified of this and it should be printed in the tenancy agreement. However, if this later becomes a problem, the landlord is liable to provide the gardener until the end of the tenancy.

As a landlord owning an individual or a few properties, it is probably worth your while to expect the tenant to keep the garden tidy, but to protect yourself you should:

  • Take a sensible deposit.
    When a gardener hasn’t been employed, in some cases a tenants may not be given back their deposit due to the garden being full of litter and overgrown, however this does have to be in the tenancy agreement.
  • Take photographs.
    Photographs can be later used as evidence to compare the condition of the garden from when the tenant first moved in if you should later have to prove it.
  • Take out Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses Insurance. (Before tenancy begins)
    If problems later arise which involve evicting a tenant or going to court, Rent Guarantee and Legal Expenses will covet these costs. These can be added onto our Landlord Insurance policies to save you money.

If you have any more questions about any of our insurance policies you can give us a call and we will be happy to help. If you’re having problems with tenants you may also want to read How Should a Landlord Tackle a Tenants Abandoned Property.

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