Garden maintenance can often lead to issues during a Tenancy and heavy negotiations between a Landlord and Tenant surrounding the deposit at the end of the Tenancy. So, who is responsible for garden maintenance.
Both parties will need to abide by the terms in the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) Agreement that were signed prior to the Tenancy commencing. However, are these terms clear enough? Is the Tenant responsible for the garden? Is the Landlord responsible for the garden? Does the Agreement state exactly what the Tenant is responsible for and what the Landlord is responsible for? Unless it is clearly detailed in the Agreement, issues when the deposit is to be returned can often end in dispute.
Unless the Tenancy Agreement says otherwise, the Tenant is generally responsible for mowing and edging lawns, watering, weeding and the cutting back of invasive weeds and brambles. In most cases, it is considered to be the Tenant's responsibility to deal with basic garden maintenance. The Tenant is responsible for returning the garden in the same condition that was recorded at the inventory check in. This means that a Landlord cannot expect a Tenant to carry out improvements to the garden, if it was given to them in a mess. Therefore it is in the Landlords interest to supply basic gardening equipment including a lawnmower, basic gardening tools.
Landlords are usually responsible for pruning and maintaining trees, shrubs and hedges, and removing the cuttings. Tenants cannot be expected to perform tasks that require expertise. This is because some trees and shrubs may require special care, skill or knowledge to properly maintain them, which a Tenant may not have. Consideration has to be given to trees or shrubs being protected species, or specimens of local or historical interest which therefore cannot be removed. Cutting down a tree without checking whether it is under a TPO or if the tree is home to a protected species of flowers, moss or even nesting birds, then you may not be allowed to do so.
A Landlord should give considering to the services of a gardener to carryout regular maintenance, as part of a Tenancy Agreement, especially if there are large grounds and/or a mature garden.
A good knowledgeable agent will make sure all parties clearly understand their responsibilities, and with the help of a comprehensive Property Condition Report and regular inspections, this will help ensure both parties’ responsibilities are met.