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Top tips for maintaining gardens

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

As the country continues to experience hot temperatures, many tenants will be looking forward to spending time outdoors.

Whether you have a garden, a yard or even a balcony, with summer nearly upon us now is a good time for landlords to ensure it is safe for tenants to use.

Here, we have put together some top tips for landlords to consider. Remember, RLA members are eligible for a free TradePoint discount card.

TradePoint is the trade only arm of B&Q, and with the card landlords can get discounts on building, decorating, plumbing, electrical landscaping, and more.

Decking

There’s nothing quite like making the most of the warm weather by relaxing on the decking with a nice drink. However hot weather can cause decking to become brittle and even break. Some apartment balconies are also made of wood, and so also need to be maintained for the same reasons as well, as you don’t want tenants to have accidents.

It is advisable to remind your tenants to report such issues to you as soon as they notice them so that you can repair any problems sooner rather than later, to help stop the problem getting worse. While the temperatures at the moment are high, during the winter months, if repeated melting and refreezing of snow and ice on decking occurs, moisture can seep into the decking boards and can cause problems around screws called ‘mushrooming’. Make sure the decking is even and solid. To learn more about you responsibilities around property standards, see our Property Standards and Safety course, with dates coming up in Manchester this June, and Leeds later this year.

Dealing with wasps, flies and other pests

Calls to report insect infestations peak in the summer months. Flies can cause food poisoning, while ants and wasps can be a nuisance. It is advisable that windows are fitted with fly screens and also to encourage tenants to keep bins away from doors and windows. To deal with ants, you must first find where the entrance to the ants nest is, and then products can be bought over the counter to deal with the issue. Only trainer professionals should treat wasps nests, for safety reasons. Read this in-depth article previously published in Residential Property Investor magazine about how to deal with different pests.

Hosepipes

When it comes to hosepipes, the combination of the hot weather and stagnant water can create the perfect breeding ground for Legionella. Water-safe, the UK’s main accreditation body for the plumbing industry has issued the following guidance which can be shared with tenants.

  • DO fit an approved double check valve to hosepipes to prevent any water, or contaminants from the garden, ponds or paddling pools, flowing back into your mains drinking water supply
  • DO turn off your hosepipe at the tap and ideally fully disconnect it when not in use
  • DO fit a self-closing flow control, such as a trigger spray gun, to prevent it being used when unattended
  • DO keep your hose somewhere cool and out of the sun 
  • DO gently run the water out of the hose before you use it – without any form of spray attachment on the end. 
  • DON’T place hosepipes in drains, garden ponds, buckets or watering cans where they can be submerged as contaminated water could be siphoned back into the drinking water pipework in the home. 
  • DON’T use a hosepipe that has been sitting around and full of warm water to fill a hot tub. The warm water within the tub will allow any bacteria – including Legionella – to grow.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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