There is no denying that for some the prospect of a garden is a definite plus when searching for a property, but it can lead to an added complication for both tenants and landlords if the upkeep is not maintained or if you are restricted in what you can do to the garden. Here we look at both sides of the coin and come up with our top tips to keep everyone happy.
First the rules: most landlords stipulate that their tenants must keep the gardens ‘to a satisfactory standard’ and this is normally detailed in the tenancy agreement, however, there can be a difference in opinion as to what ‘satisfactory’ actually means.
It is reasonable to expect that ‘satisfactory’ should include:
- No litter in the garden
- That shrubs and hedges are not overgrown
- That lawns are mowed regularly
- That fences and sheds are maintained and repaired
But this begs the question if your tenant is not a gardener or is unable to do this themselves, who should bear the cost? The answer is simple, unless the tenancy agreement states otherwise, the cost should fall to the tenant. In some cases, though the landlord may prefer to maintain fences and sheds themselves, but this will normally be in writing before the tenant moves in.
But what if your tenant is a keen gardener and wants to lay a patio or erect a gazebo? Do they need permission? Yes. And who should bear these costs?
Most tenancy agreements state that when a tenant leaves a property, they should return the garden to the state it was when they moved in. This would imply that if a patio was laid, then it should be lifted prior to leaving the property, right? Well yes and no, strictly speaking, it should but it is unlikely that the ground underneath will be suitable for the next tenant, so we suggest that tenants and landlords talk about these sorts of larger projects before they are built.
Many landlords will be happy if the changes to the garden are improvements and particularly so if their tenant is showing an inclination to stay. Long-term tenants being preferable to short- term ones in most cases.
If, as the landlord, the garden is especially important to you, it may be worth hiring a gardener to make sure everything is kept to the correct ‘satisfactory’ standard. You could include this cost in the agreed rent. Having a ‘maintained’ garden could be a selling point so you might find that this actually works in your favour, and if your tenant is a keen gardener then you could offer a reduction in the rent if they choose to maintain it themselves.
So as the summer months approach and we look forward to lighter evenings and summer BBQs, considering your gardens and tenants responsibilities should be top of your list. For more information call us on 01749 681356 or email email@example.com.