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Gardens and Lawns: Tenant & Landlord Responsibilities

By Donna Jones

[Originally published February 2017. Updated June 2021]

When it comes to keeping the grounds of a rental property tidy and well maintained, landlords and tenants have different responsibilities. Below, we have outlined which of these sits with the landlord and which ones sit with the tenant(s).

Landlord responsibilities

Landlords are typically responsible for:

  • Pruning and maintaining trees, shrubs, and hedges.
  • Removing cuttings after routine maintenances of trees, shrubs, and hedges.
  • Ensuring that trees, shrubs, and hedges are safe (i.e., storm-damaged trees are made safe, branches growing toward electrical lines are pruned, etc).

Landlords in some cases wish to have more involvement in the maintenance of their investment property’s grounds and having a commercial lawn and garden service provider tend to the property regularly is a great way of ensuring your investment is always well presented.

It’s also an excellent way to attract and keep tenants — just make sure it’s specified and agreed upon in the tenancy agreement and allowed for in your rental price.

Tenant responsibilities

Tenants must keep the property “reasonably clean and tidy” in Tenancy Services’ words. In most cases, this includes:

  • Mowing the lawns routinely.
  • Weeding the gardens.
  • Leaving the property clean and tidy at the end of the tenancy.
  • Reporting any problems with the outside grounds to their landlord or property manager immediately.

If a tenant is unhappy with the condition of a tree, shrub, or hedge on the property, they must attain the landlord’s written permission before altering or removing the plant. If the landlord agrees that the tenant can trim or remove the plant, then the tenant will be responsible for undertaking the work and clearing away all trimmings.

When problems arise over rental property lawn and garden care

Lawns and gardens can become a contentious point for landlords and tenants. For instance, a landlord may have very high expectations for how the property will be maintained, while their tenants interpret the responsibilities listed above very differently.

If a dispute arises, it’s best to try to keep the communication up and work it out between yourselves. For example, the landlord might ask that the tenant try to mow the lawns more regularly during the summer months when the grass grows faster. Or they could offer to alter their tenancy agreement and enlist professional lawn care services in return for increased rent.

In most cases, disputes can be resolved amicably. When things don’t go so smoothly, the landlord or tenant may need to appeal to the Tenancy Tribunal for help in resolving the issue. For more information, please refer to our blog about resolving tenancy issues.

Our view on lawn and garden maintenance

We recommend that our landlords follow the grounds maintenance advice given by Tenancy Services and outlined above. This set-up works well and is the norm when it comes to lawn and garden responsibilities, so most tenants are happy with the arrangement.

When a new tenant moves into a property, we make sure they understand their lawn and garden upkeep responsibilities. If a problem with the grounds arises during the tenancy, the tenant and/or landlord can contact us, and we will work to address the problem as quickly as possible.

We believe lawns and gardens should be a source of enjoyment and pleasure — not a point of contention. By agreeing to responsibilities upfront in their tenancy agreement, our tenants can enjoy their outdoor areas, while our landlords can rest assured that their property is being cared for appropriately.

Get in touch to learn more about our property management services and ethos.

Images:

Garden Path with Flowers by Claire Thompson, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Lawn by whizchickenonabun, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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