If you are fortunate enough to have a garden, no doubt you have been enjoying it throughout lockdown – especially last year when we had a far better summer than 2021! This year they seem to have had a bit of a battering… No doubt you’ve seen your lawns, shrubs, borders and weeds grow at a rate of knots due to the amount of rain and humidity we’ve had, and whilst we only had a heat wave for all of one week, flowers and plants really struggled to survive. And let’s not forget the 50mph winds blowing our fences over and knocking our sheds and greenhouses about! So who is responsible for maintaining everything if you are in a rented property, as the last thing you want to do is return your garden to the landlord in an unrecognisable state!

Firstly, check your Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) contract, as responsibilities may differ from tenant to tenant. A good letting agent will have ensured there is a clause in there about garden maintenance which clearly states what tenants and landlords are responsible for. Hancock & Partners’ contracts for example state that the tenant shall cultivate and manage their garden and keep it clean and tidy, and free from rubbish. They must not destroy, maim, move or make any alternations to any trees, plants, lawns, paths and other arrangements of the garden either.

Here are some key points to consider:

Lawn maintenance

Mow your lawn (s) regularly with a good lawn mower to keep the grass neat and tidy. In our contracts, the tenant is responsible for maintaining the lawn to the condition in which it was handed over. If this involves weed killer and so on, then this will be included in their responsibilities.

Weeds

Don’t let weeds grow 10ft high! Keep on top of them in your flower beds, grass, borders and so on. It’s amazing how quickly they can grow out of control. Top tip: try and kill them if you can rather than pulling them out every week – it will save you a lot of time and hassle!

Hedges

Regularly trim hedges to stop them encroaching on neighbours’ fences or across the pavement in front of your house.

Bushes, shrubs and flowers

Landlords tend to be responsible for pruning trees and large boundary hedges, but tenants usually have to prune back bushes and shrubs, and also deadhead flowers in order to encourage future growth.

Improvements

Check your AST as you may need your landlord’s permission to make changes to the garden. For example, installing a vegetable garden which requires digging up a section of the garden, removing plants and flowers to add your own, or drilling holes into the exterior of the property to allow wisteria to climb nicely. Hancock & Partners’ agreements specifically state that tenants cannot remove or destroy plants, shrubs or trees without their landlord’s permission.

Broken items

If you have broken something in the garden that belongs to your landlord, such as a greenhouse glass panel or a piece of garden furniture, you will be responsible for organising and paying for them to be fixed. Remember to let the landlord (or your property manager) know immediately rather waiting until you leave – honesty is always the best policy to maintain a good relationship between both parties. This will also stop a charge being taken off your tenancy deposit.

Garden equipment

Many landlords provide basic gardening tools for tenants to encourage them to look after their gardens. However, they are not obligated to do this. Obviously, you will be responsible for looking after the tools though if they are available.

Hire a gardener

If of course you don’t fancy doing any of this yourself, you can always hire a gardener – but it’s always worth checking with your landlord that they are happy for you to do this. Either way, if you’re unsure as to what your responsibilities are, do give your landlord or property manager a call – they will respect your care and attention to their property, and may even offer to provide you with the appropriate tools if they haven’t done so already.

Want to be kept up to date of our rental properties offering gardens?

Hancock & Partners let out some lovely properties with gardens. Do make sure you’re registered with us so that we can keep you informed. Register with us on 01243 53 11 11.