Who is Responsible for the Garden of a Rented Property?
29 April 2015 10259 Views
When it comes to the gardens of a rented property, landlords and tenants can get easily confused with what’s required from both parties. Subsequently, many disputes occur due to the withholding of deposit money as a result of garden issues.
The minimum that is expected of the tenant throughout the tenancy is that they keep the garden litter-free, reasonably tidy and not overgrown. This will usually be a standard clause in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement.
The tenant is only responsible for returning the garden in the same state that it was in when they moved in. This means that a landlord cannot expect a tenant to carry out improvements to the garden if it was already in a mess.
Tenants are permitted to have social events in the garden (such as BBQ’s) unless it is stated otherwise in the AST agreement. Therefore, if a landlord wishes to forbid such activities, it is important to include a clause in the AST agreement prior to the tenant signing. It is also worth noting here that tenants are responsible for any noise and nuisance or damage to the property caused by themselves or their guests.
If the tenant wishes to change the garden in any way (even making improvements) they are required to gain the landlord’s approval by law. This also includes planting their own garden.
For comfort and ease, it is not uncommon for portfolio landlords to hire a full-time gardener to maintain all of their properties. This cost can be applied to a tenant’s monthly rent if they agree prior. However, please note that if it states in the AST agreement that the landlord will provide a gardener, they are then obliged to do so for the length of the tenancy.
In order to protect themselves from damage or neglect of the garden by the tenant, there are various steps a landlord can take. Firstly, landlords should ensure that they are taking a sensible deposit from the tenant before the tenancy begins. It is also recommended to embed dated photographs of the garden in the inventory check-in report. These can then be compared with the check-out report when the tenant is leaving. Lastly, a landlord should have an adequate buildings insurance policy in place that covers malicious and accidental damage by tenants and their guests.
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