A Landlord’s Guide to Avoiding Garden Disputes

Gardens can significantly boost a rental property’s appeal, especially during May when spring is in full bloom and summer is just around the corner. However, as beneficial as they may be, gardens can also be a source of garden disputes between landlords and tenants, particularly over maintenance responsibilities. To skillfully swerve such garden disputes, landlords should adopt a proactive approach.

Here are five straightforward strategies to help keep your garden an asset, not a liability:

1) Simplify Garden Designs

Choose garden designs that are both appealing and easy to maintain. Opt for plants that require minimal upkeep, such as perennial shrubs, to reduce the burden on tenants. Avoid planting species known for rapid growth or those that can become invasive, like bamboo. Simpler garden designs mean less room for garden disputes over maintenance and care.

2) First Impressions Count

Before a new tenant moves in, ensure the garden is in excellent condition. This sets a clear standard of how the garden should look and be maintained throughout the tenancy. Basic tasks like weeding, mowing the lawn, and cleaning the gutters can significantly influence how the tenant perceives and cares for the garden, potentially reducing garden disputes.

3) Clarify Responsibilities in the Contract

Clearly outline garden maintenance responsibilities within the tenancy agreement. While tenants are typically expected to handle routine tasks such as lawn mowing and garden tidiness, landlords should take responsibility for structural garden maintenance, including fences and garden paths. By explicitly stating these responsibilities, you can prevent misunderstandings that lead to garden disputes.

4) Keep Detailed Records

Maintaining thorough records of the garden’s condition when the tenant moves in can be invaluable. Photographs and detailed descriptions in the check-in report can provide a clear benchmark for the garden’s required state throughout and at the end of the tenancy. This documentation is crucial if any garden disputes arise.

5) Regular Inspections are Important

Don’t neglect the garden during routine property inspections. If you observe issues, such as excessive weeds or accumulated rubbish, address them promptly with your tenant. Early intervention can prevent minor problems from escalating into major garden disputes.

By using these strategies, landlords can minimise the potential for garden disputes and ensure their property remains attractive to current and prospective tenants. Clear communication and setting expectations will help grow a harmonious tenancy.

Have questions about rental property and garden management? Contact us today – we’re here to help.

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