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A landlord’s guide to avoiding garden disputes with tenants

If there is anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased, it is the desire to enjoy the outdoors and nature.

Because of this, there has been a rise in demand for properties with more outside space. Luckily for many landlords, this is a great marketing tactic to attract new tenants to their properties.

However, the lines can often become blurred when defining responsibilities between a landlord and tenant regarding garden care.

Recent research suggests that almost a quarter of all deposit disputes with tenants are over garden maintenance issues.

Who is responsible for garden maintenance?

In most cases, tenants are responsible for keeping the garden in the same condition as it was when they started their tenancy.

This is the case when involving minor maintenance tasks such as removing any litter, water plants or weeding.

When garden care involves tasks that require additional expertise, such as fixing a broken fence, the landlord may be responsible for this depending on who or what caused the damage and whether it poses a safety risk.

To avoid any disputes rising between landlords and tenants regarding garden care, here are some crucial and easy steps landlords can take:

Set the standards – landlords need to ensure that the garden is in its best condition before the tenants move in.

Whether it be clearing any excess weeds, mowing the lawn, or removing old furniture, this will set the standard of maintenance for the new tenants and demonstrate what is expected of them throughout their tenancy.

Put it in writing – tenants should be aware of what they are responsible for in the garden. Therefore, landlords should put a clear garden maintenance clause in place within the tenancy agreement which both parties’ sign.

In this clause, make sure to include the greenery in the garden and what type of upkeep this will require in the long term.

Keep a record – landlords should keep reports and good quality time-stamped photographs of the garden, so they have clear documentation in case of any future disputes.

You would usually take these measures for the interior condition of the property through a diligent record, so the garden should be no different.

Carry out inspections – when landlords conduct property inspections for the tenancy, they should not neglect the garden either. Checking over the garden and documenting any changes is crucial for avoiding any garden disputes in the future.

If there are any clear issues with the garden, the tenant should be asked to resolve these at the time of the inspection.

The laws that regulate landlord and tenant agreements can be complicated, but it is important that both parties are aware of their obligations – especially when it comes to property or garden disputes.

At Mander Hadley, our experienced team of legal experts offer a full range of services for landlords, including advice on any disputes that arise during a tenancy.

For more help or advice on related matters, please contact us today.

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