How to manage the garden maintenance of your rental property
If you are a landlord or a letting agent who lets properties with a garden, it is important to consider the maintenance and upkeep of it as part of any tenancy agreement.
A neglected garden will not only make your property harder to rent out – or sell – but rectifying an overgrown backyard could be both expensive and time-consuming to you in the long run.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid your garden from becoming a jungle.
Get the right tenants
Families, older tenants or those with pets who are looking for a longer-term tenancy might be more likely to take care of a garden than younger tenants in a short-term, multiple occupancy flatshare.
Include garden maintenance in the tenancy agreement
Make it a condition of the tenancy agreement that tenants must keep the garden well maintained and be clear in the contract as to the finer details – this usually includes mowing the lawn, weeding and trimming the beds and keeping it free of rubbish. But what about pruning hedges or cutting back trees? (these are usually the landlord’s responsibility). And during a dry spell, would a tenant be expected to keep the lawn watered?
Many tenancy agreements can be rather vague on these points, so ensure you are precise about who is responsible for what. Take an inventory at the start of each tenancy and specify in the agreement that the garden should be left in the same condition at the end of the tenancy as it was at the beginning.
Supply the tools
Consider providing a lawn mower and a few basic tools as part of the tenancy. Ensure any gardening equipment you supply is in a good state of repair and compliant with current health and safety standards. If there isn’t a Residual Current Device (RCD) built into the fusebox, then a plug-in RCD should be used – any socket that may be used to plug in a lawnmower, hedge trimmer or other power tools should have RCD protection.
Keep it simple
The lower maintenance a garden is the less things can go wrong. Opt for hardy plants and perhaps consider decking some of the lawn so there is less to mow (although decking also needs to be cared for).