Having spent a large part of the last twelve months trapped within our homes, those lucky enough to have a garden will surely have appreciated it even more than usual. And keeping that garden neat and tidy makes it a far more enjoyable place to spend time.
But if you’re a tenant, whose responsibility is it to look after the garden? Most tenants will be aware that it’s their job to keep the inside of the house in good condition – and will quickly notice the difference if they don’t – but may feel less motivated when it comes to the outside space. And the last thing a landlord wants is to get their property back with a very overgrown garden.
Here are a few useful tips to help you work out what your responsibilities and rights are when it comes to the garden of your rented property.
What sort of tenancy is it?
There are no hard and fast rules, but generally, if you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and have sole use of any garden, you’ll have some level of responsibility for maintaining it in some kind of order.
However, if you’re living in a flat or a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) with a communal garden, it’s more likely to be the responsibility of the landlord, with any costs being covered by your rent or service charge.
The first thing to do is…
Check your tenancy agreement
Your tenancy agreement should make it clear exactly what your responsibilities are. Most Assured Shorthold Tenancies will have a clause stating what is expected of the tenant, which is likely to be that the garden is left in a similar state to which it was found. This will normally include basic gardening such as mowing the lawn and weeding, and perhaps also pruning or cutting hedges and larger plants, although it would be unreasonable to expect you to do anything that requires expertise.
What you certainly shouldn’t be doing is making any substantial changes without the landlord’s permission – this can include digging up plants, laying a patio or even creating a vegetable patch. The landlord may be quite happy if it makes the property more desirable, but make sure you get permission in writing before doing anything.
If work is needed to restore the garden to its original condition at the end of your tenancy, the landlord will be within his or her rights to deduct the cost from your deposit.
What is the landlord responsible for?
The landlord has to ensure that the garden is safe for tenants to use, so any patios, walls or outbuildings need to be kept in reasonable condition. He or she is also responsible for maintaining and replacing boundary fences.
As mentioned earlier, tenants cannot be expected to carry out maintenance that requires expertise. This can include trimming large hedges that may be affecting neighbouring properties, or pruning and maintaining any trees. Landlords will use professional tree surgeons to carry out this kind of work, as it can be dangerous and will usually require specialist equipment
Give our team a call today to find out how we can help you and get a free estimate.