As the warm weather looks like it is here to stay, many tenants will be heading outdoors to relax in the garden.
This week’s Forum spotlight looks at a question that is typical from our landlords at this time of year- when it comes to maintaining gardens, who is responsible.
The landlord that posted in our Forum said that they run a HMO property. All bills are included, and the property has a fortnightly cleaner.
The landlord normally asked that an older gentleman came round to the property every so often to cut the grass, however the man was currently unwell.
As a result, the grass had grown very long and now a tenant had contacted the landlord to request that the grass be cut, with the weather getting warmer as she wanted to use the garden.
The landlord wanted to know whether this was their responsibility, or whether they should provide a lawn mower to their tenant in order for them to cut the grass themselves.
One of the many benefits of our members-only Forum is that landlords can seek the advice of their peers when it comes to questions such as this.
What the landlords on our Forum said
The first landlord to post in our Forum said that in her opinion it is up to the tenants to cut the grass, and the landlord could provide a grass cutter for the tenants to use.
“Provide a grass cutter for your tenants to use”
She also suggested that the landlord shouldn’t provide the tenants with a lawn mower to use, because tenants can sometimes hurt themselves with this.
The landlord shared that she does this, because when she was renting a property herself as a tenant in the UK, she was expected to provide her own lawnmower.
Alternatively, this member suggested that landlords could pay a little bit extra for a weekly gardener to come round and cut the grass until September.
“It is your responsibility”
Another landlord who frequently users the Forum offered his advice, saying that as the property is a HMO, it is the landlords responsibility to maintain the garden in their opinion. They thought this because the garden is ‘communal’ to a HMO room occupier, just as a kitchen is also a communal space.
“Specify this in the AST”
There was also a suggestion from a few of the landlords that responsibility for cutting the grass should be defined in the AST. If this is not specified then it is hard to tell where responsibility rests. One landlord said that they have HMOs and in the AST they have explicitly specified that the upkeep of the garden is the tenants’ responsibility.
What our Landlord Advice Team said
Gardens in rental properties can be a complicated area in terms of who is responsible for maintaining them. This particular case is a very grey area, because the landlord has not shared whether they specified in the AST who is responsible for maintaining the garden.
It is very important that both parties understand their responsibilities when it comes to maintaining the garden, and this is something that should be included in the AST.
Good to know:
- If the responsibility for maintaining the garden is not specifically stated in the AST, then further down the line if there is a deposit dispute then deductions may not be able to be made from the deposit.
- If tenant do not want to cut the grass then there is nothing to stop the landlord getting a gardener in, and the tenants, as one landlord has stated above, can pay a service charge for this.
- If it is up to tenants to maintain the garden, then they must be provided with the tools in which to do this.