A common cause of dispute – who is responsible for maintaining the lawns and garden of a rental property?
Tenant responsibility for garden maintenance
Tenants' are responsible for keeping the rental property reasonably clean and tidy.
This includes mowing the lawns and weeding the gardens where applicable. In some circumstances, your landlord may be happy to mow the lawns or contract someone to do it for you. If this is the case, you should ensure this is in your tenancy agreement.
Landlords are not required to provide notice before coming onto the property (the land). So, if they are coming to do agreed tasks i.e. mowing lawns, pruning trees or cleaning gutters, they don’t need to let you know. However, landlords must avoid interfering with the reasonable peace, comfort and privacy of their tenants.
Removing trees and shrubs from your rental property garden
Some trees or shrubs may require particular care to maintain. We recommend contacting your landlord/property manager to seek permission to remove or prune the trees. Tenants should note that if they do this, they are responsible for removing the cuttings from the property.
Making additions to the garden
You may be considering starting a new vegetable garden, or adding a garden shed in the lead up to spring. In February 2021, new tenancy law was introduced, making it easier for tenants to make minor changes to the property. However, tenants still need to submit a request to their landlord before making the change.
While landlords are not permitted to decline minor changes, they can set reasonable conditions.
Landlord responsibility for garden maintenance
Landlords are usually responsible for pruning and maintaining trees, shrubs and hedges at their rental properties. This includes the removal of all clippings from the premises.
It also falls under the landlords’ responsibility to ensure that any trees found on the property are safe. Including any trees damaged by storms or growing towards electrical lines.
Before starting a new tenancy, it’s a good idea to talk to your prospective tenants about the lawns and gardens. Ensure all parties have a comprehensive understanding of what each person will be responsible for and include this in the tenancy agreement.
Accessing the rental property to maintain the garden/lawns
If you intend to come to the property to mow the lawns or maintain the gardens, you are not required to provide your tenant with notice. But, you do need to make sure that you are not interfering with your tenants’ reasonable peace, comfort and privacy.
While not required, a heads-up that you will be visiting the property is good practice. This can also help build positive, working relationships with your tenants.
Carrying out regular inspections will allow you to check in on the property and make sure everything is in working order and that the tenants are keeping the property clean and tidy – including the lawns/garden.
It’s a great idea to have the tenants present at these inspections so that both parties can raise any issues.
Want to know more? Learn more about lawns and gardens at rental properties here, or, contact our team for expert advice.