Our latest TDS poll has found that garden maintenance, one of the top five most common reasons for deposit disputes, continues to cause confusion and disagreements within the private rental sector.
The results showed that almost 75% of agents and landlords believe that garden upkeep is exclusively the tenant’s responsibility, while 13% believed it was a mutual obligation and 9% agreed it was down to the landlord alone.
However, despite the high number of respondents believing the garden is solely their tenant’s responsibility, and 4 out of 5 confirming they include this detail within their tenancy agreement, just 46% offer garden maintenance guidance to their tenant.
This could be creating a gap in the communication between each party and may correlate to garden disputes later down the line.
TDS advises agents and landlords to include as much detail as possible within tenancy agreements in a garden clause that is specific to their property, and to issue guidance for maintaining outside space, so tenants are aware of their gardening responsibilities.
Of those surveyed, 39% of agents and landlords experienced damage to their rental property garden, with 3% only encountering one standalone issue and the majority experiencing multiple garden problems at the end of tenancy.
The most common issues were:
In total, 27% of agents and landlords who responded to the poll raised a deposit deduction claim for garden damage.
While most agents and landlords confirmed they check all outside areas before a new tenancy check-in, 20% of respondents do not look at every outside space during mid-tenancy property inspections. This could cause missed opportunities to review overlooked areas such as the garage, front garden, and inside the garden shed.
The poll emphasises how important it is for both tenants and property professionals to be aware of who is responsible for what, when it comes to garden maintenance. Clearly detailing this in a gardens clause within the tenancy agreement, covering all outside space at inventory, check-in and check-out, and communicating during the tenancy will help to avoid any garden deposit disputes.
In partnership with NRLA, TDS has created a garden maintenance guide, where we reveal who is responsible for garden maintenance, how to deal with common garden complaints and how to avoid a deposit dispute.
To read more about tenant responsibilities with garden maintenance, read our helpful blog.