Landlords often ask us what they should do about their garden and what they can reasonably expect of a tenant in terms of maintenance.
Having a well-cared-for garden can definitely help to attract good tenants, particularly if they arrive on a sunny summer’s day. However, if the garden is just too magnificent and obviously requires lots of work, then it may actually scare some people off. In an ideal world, pleasant and tidy but without too much work is probably ideal.
Once the tenant is in, then what we can reasonably expect of them? Of course, any properly prepared tenancy agreement will require the tenant to maintain the garden in good order. But we can make that demand more realistic by keeping the garden relatively simple, ie mainly lawn with perhaps the odd flowerbed and shrub. With this kind of garden, it is both realistic and reasonable to expect the tenant to look after it properly.
People sometimes ask who should pay for the gardening equipment. Our advice is that it is reasonable for the landlord to provide a garden fork and spade if they are needed, but that for reasons of safety and maintenance the tenant should provide their own lawnmower. After all, we expect them to provide their own vacuum cleaner for the house, so why not a mower for the garden? With one of the large supermarkets currently offering a mower for under £20, they can hardly object on cost grounds.
Last but not least, if your garden really is your pride and joy and reflects years of hard work, then it may be wise to keep things under your own control by employing a gardener and including the cost in the rent. This removes the possibility of misunderstandings and should ensure that you get your garden back in the same condition that you left it – albeit slightly more mature!
Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA
Chief Executive Officer