Garden maintenance can be a thorny issue

Wednesday, 6th Mar 2013

tenant gardening

Garden maintenance can often lead to issues between a landlord and tenant. So, what exactly are the tenant garden maintenance responsibilities, and what is the landlord’s responsibility?

Living in a property with a beautiful garden can be a treat, especially in the spring and summer months when the weather is great and we are entertaining outdoors.

The problem with gardens is that they require maintenance. And although some people are happy to spend weekends exercising their green thumbs, for most people garden maintenance is a chore, which is why gardens are so often neglected.

Inevitably, garden maintenance, or the lack thereof, can often lead to issues between a landlord and tenant.

Unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise, the tenant is generally responsible for mowing and edging lawns, watering, weeding, pruning, and fertilising. These responsibilities could easily be termed ‘general maintenance’. Ultimately, the tenant is responsible for ensuring the garden is maintained to a standard set at the beginning of the tenancy.

Generally, the landlord is responsible for things such as providing hoses and sprinklers, maintaining the reticulation system, cleaning gutters and tree lopping. However, in some tenancy agreements it is the tenant’s responsibility to replace broken sprinkler heads.

It’s easy to see how uncertainty and issues may arise. For instance, at what point does a tree or shrub require lopping instead of pruning? And although the landlord is generally responsible for keeping gutters clean, it is the tenant’s responsibility to advise the property manager of any potential blockages or water leaks. If an issue is fairly obvious and the tenant fails to report it, the tenant may be liable for any damage caused.

A good property manager will make sure all parties clearly understand their responsibilities, and with the help of a comprehensive Property Condition Report and regular inspections, ensure these responsibilities are met.