Responsibilities beyond the walls

Tuesday, 2nd Jun 2015

tenant gardeningWhile the division of responsibilities between landlord and tenant for all ‘dwelling-related matters’ are commonly known, what about those of the land?

Gardens typically aren’t at the top of a tenant’s priority list when searching for a rental property.

Subsequently, if a tenant leases a house with a high-maintenance garden, the ongoing upkeep and care may fall by the wayside.

Given this, it’s important that all parties hold a comprehensive understanding of their responsibilities regarding garden maintenance – any good property manager will ensure this is the case.

Generally, unless the tenancy agreement states differently, tenants are responsible for the maintenance of lawn including mowing, edging, watering, weeding, and fertilising.

This is also the case for garden beds and bushes and shrubs, which are to be pruned by the tenant.

These tasks fall under the ‘general maintenance’ responsibilities, which usually require the tenant to ensure the garden is maintained to a standard set at the start of the tenancy.

On the other hand, landlords are generally responsible for providing some equipment, such as hoses and sprinklers.

In some tenancy agreements, though, it’s the responsibility of the tenant to replace broken sprinkler heads.

Landlords also typically need to maintain reticulation systems, clean gutters and lop overgrown trees.

While landlords are generally responsible for keeping gutters clean, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to advise the property manager of any potential blockages or water leaks.

If the tenant doesn’t report an obvious issue, they may be liable for any damages.

Given the divide of responsibilities, it can be easy for confusion or misunderstandings to occur, which is why landlords and tenants need to be aware of their garden-maintenance duties from the beginning.