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Home NewsAdvice ClinicI’m renting a flat, who should pay for the garden to be maintained?

I’m renting a flat, who should pay for the garden to be maintained?

Q. I’m renting a flat, so who should pay for the garden to be maintained?

As at last we see the return of warmer weather, many tenants are starting to think about spending time in their garden. After a long cold winter, this may be the first time they have properly looked at their outside space and they may not have thought about who is responsible for its upkeep. So this month we will be looking at tenants’ responsibilities in their garden. This is particularly important for tenants who don’t live in a property with professional property management in place.

As a tenant, what are my responsibilities for maintaining any outside space?

As a general rule, as the tenant you are responsible for maintaining any outside space at the rental property. At the end of the tenancy, you are expected to leave the garden in the same condition as when you moved into the property.

Thinking ahead, it can be useful to take photos of the garden and include them in the inventory when you move in so that you can provide detailed evidence of how the garden has been maintained when you leave the property at the end of the tenancy.

Read your tenancy agreement carefully

Most tenancy agreements will include specific terms and wording, making it clear who is responsible for maintaining the garden. The agreement might say, for example, that the tenant should mow the grass as necessary, keep the garden tidy, maintain any bushes and not let anything get overgrown.

Tenants would not however be expected to carry out major works such as pruning tall trees as this would require expertise. If this is necessary, the landlord should organise and pay for the work. Neither can the tenant be expected to carry out improvements if the garden was overgrown when they moved in. In these circumstances, the landlord would also be responsible.

What happens if my apartment does not have access to the garden?

Again, responsibility is usually defined in the tenancy agreement. Generally if you have sole use of the garden you will be responsible for the costs of maintaining it. However, if it is a communal garden then the cost will often be paid (by the landlord) through the service charge.

What happens if the garden is too much for me?

For a typical garden, if you are unable to keep it tidy yourself and decide to use a gardener to do the work for you, you would be responsible for paying the cost of employing them. Again, this would be stated clearly in the tenancy agreement.

However, if the property has a large or elaborate garden that you could not be expected to maintain yourself, a landlord might employ a gardener to ensure it is well maintained. Tenants would very rarely look after a garden in the same way an owner would!

This would typically happen if, for example, the landlord usually lives in the property themselves and is perhaps moving overseas for a few years and letting it during that time. In this case they would probably employ a gardener to maintain it to their own standards and will probably pay the cost themselves. If they expect you to pay for the gardener, this would need to be agreed at the start of the tenancy and written into the tenancy agreement.

Who pays for maintaining communal gardens in residential developments?

The cost of employing a gardener to maintain communal gardens in residential developments is included in the service charge paid by the landlord.

I enjoy gardening – can I make changes to the garden?

If you wish to make changes to the garden you must obtain the landlord’s approval. If you are enhancing the garden, then most landlords will probably be more than happy to agree.

In practice, we often find that many experienced landlords organise a gardener to maintain their properties to ensure the work is done regularly. This usually avoids disagreements at the end of the tenancy and also ensures the property is looking its best and ready to let again as soon as a tenancy ends.

If a gardener is employed, this will be clearly stated in the tenancy agreement and must be agreed at the start of the tenancy.

If you are still unsure as to your responsibilities as a tenant, please get in touch with your local branch manager and we will try to clarify matters.

If the rented property has a garden, is the landlord obliged to provide a lawnmower and/ or other equipment?

Ideally, the landlord should provide equipment so then the tenants have no excuse why the garden is not looked after.

Does it depend on whether the tenant is obliged in the tenancy agreement to cut the grass?

The Tenancy Agreement will outline who is responsible for looking after the garden which may or may not include grass cutting depending on the size of the property and the agreement made between Tenant and Landlord.

Does the answer differ depending on if the property is let furnished or unfurnished?

Whether renting a furnished property or unfurnished property, it has no impact on the garden equipment or maintenance responsibilities.

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About the Author

A qualified lawyer (she studied Law with French Law) at UCL, Simran began her career working for a city firm specialising in commercial real estate, before joining Benham and Reeves in 2006. During this time, Simran has put systems in place to streamline administration, enabling the company to compete effectively with much larger organisations. As a result, the company’s property management department has grown substantially – in 2006 it managed 885 rental homes whereas today the department manages nearly 2000 properties for clients, including a growing number of overseas clients. Read more about Simran Prasad here - Read full profile

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