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Tenants and Gardens: Who is Responsible for Maintenance?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 22 Mar 2022 | comments*Discuss
 
Tenants And Gardens: Who Is Responsible For Maintenance?

When a tenant is checking out a home, unless they are looking at a high rise flat as their preferred housing option, a well-kept garden or outside space of some description does tend to add a certain amount of extra appeal. This is quite amusing, really, given that most property landlords will agree that when it comes to the upkeep of a garden or communal area, it seems to be last on the list of priorities. Even the most conscientious tenant, who keeps a spotless house and looks after the inside of the property as if it were their own, can turn a blind eye to a weed-infected garden or unkempt lawn.

Social Housing Rules

Most council and housing association landlords have rules that specify that their tenants must keep their gardens to a ‘satisfactory standard’ as part of their tenancy agreement. What actually constitutes ‘satisfactory’ can vary from one opinion to another however and there are rarely set-out lists of things that a tenant must do in order to satisfy this clause of their agreement.

What is Reasonable to Expect from a Tenant?

If your tenants have a garden to themselves, it’s reasonable to expect them to maintain the garden themselves. Or at the very least get someone else in if they aren’t keen on gardening. The minimum you should really be able to expect from any tenant living in your property is that it should be kept litter-free, reasonably tidy and not overgrown. If there are hedges they should be kept trimmed, especially if they are likely to encroach onto neighbour’s properties or public areas. Grass should also be cut regularly.

In the case of rubbish – there could be comeback if a tenant lets rubbish build up on the property and it becomes a health and safety risk. Any build-up of litter, old furniture or rubbish can also attract vermin, which might result in even more expense getting pest controllers in to sort it out.

What if the Tenant doesn’t Garden?

It’s the experience of most property landlords that the garden is not usually kept as tidy as they might like – tenants seem to avoid gardening where possible and even a neat and tidy space can turn into an unloved weed-fest over a reasonably short period of tenancy.

If gardens are an important part of the property for you, you could follow the example of one landlord who decided the way forward was to employ a full time gardener for all of his properties. Fed up with watching his carefully designed garden spaces turn into weed-filled wilderness, he decided to employ a local gardener to carry out basic gardening duties such as hedge-cutting, lawn mowing and keeping the gardens looking tidy. This only works if all the properties have accessible gardens and an outside tap for any watering, but it is an option for anyone frustrated with the lack of effort that tenants have made to keep up the outside areas.

Some landlords take a stricter line with their tenants and prefer to stipulate that the tenant has a responsibility to look after the garden or else they will be penalised. If there is a clause in your tenancy agreement that forces your tenant to look after the garden, you can also introduce penalties for not doing so – withholding part of the deposit to pay for the garden to be tidied properly when they move out, for example.

If the garden is especially important to you, it’s probably worth going down the route of hiring a gardener, especially if you own more than one property. You could either add the cost of the gardening to the amount that you charge for rent, and offer a tenant a discount if they agree to do their own garden, or simply add it on and let the tenants know that the gardens are maintained. In many cases, having a ‘maintained’ garden will probably be a selling point so you might find that this actually works in your favour.

Another top tip is that longer term lets are a better option for garden upkeep – a short term tenant is likely to be able to turn a blind eye to the state of the back garden far more easily than someone who is there for a year or more, because most normal people get to a point where, even if they hate gardening themselves, they will get it sorted out just because they cannot bear the sight of an unkempt garden anymore!

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I'm a secure council tenant in a gff with garden,half house type. The lady upstairs is a leasehold for 11yrs. Iv been here 3yrs. I know of 4 previous tenants in my flat. Upstairs has the further back gardenwith her own access,but she and council want to erect a fence through my gardento gain access for upstairs,taking away half mine after iv been here 3yrs, iv obtained a land registryand it makes me rite, upstairs only access in my gardenfor emergency water / sewage. Why hasn't there been a fence erect beforewith previous 4/5 tenantsand within her 11yrs she been there ? Please someone help me.
Kev - 22-Mar-22 @ 6:46 PM
I’m a private tenant (long term) through a lefty agency. Parish council a few months ago asked me to cut back a high hedge and tree at the side of my house. As these are on the other side of the property fence I believe these are not in the property boundary and sign posted them to my letting agency to find out ownership. Email today from my letting agency asking me to tidy these up. I’ve contacted them and they are now going to try find out ownership. I’ve lived in the property for nearly 8 years and this has never been brought up before. As these are on the opposite side of my fence am I right I’m thinking these are not in my property and I’m not responsible? If they are on my property, due to the sheer size of them is it reasonable for the letting agency/owner to expect me to cut these back? I have always maintained the side that overhangs my fence but not the height or other side as this will be very expensive due to the size. It already costs me to pay professional totr the overhanging side.
Betty - 21-Sep-21 @ 8:32 AM
I’m a private tenant (long term) through a lefty agency. Parish council a few months ago asked me to cut back a high hedge and tree at the side of my house. As these are on the other side of the property fence I believe these are not in the property boundary and sign posted them to my letting agency to find out ownership. Email today from my letting agency asking me to tidy these up. I’ve contacted them and they are now going to try find out ownership. I’ve lived in the property for nearly 8 years and this has never been brought up before. As these are on the opposite side of my fence am I right I’m thinking these are not in my property and I’m not responsible? If they are on my property, due to the sheer size of them is it reasonable for the letting agency/owner to expect me to cut these back? I have always maintained the side that overhangs my fence but not the height or other side as this will be very expensive due to the size. It already costs me to pay professional totr the overhanging side.
Betty - 20-Sep-21 @ 5:20 PM
My Nan lives in a bungalow she has had a shed built her housing association have asked her to dismantle it for no reason what so ever does she have rights not to dismantle it because it’s on her property
Pee - 3-Sep-21 @ 1:34 PM
I live in bungalows with communal garden Neighbour moved in and mows grass and trims trees right next to my property I’ve been happy the way it looks when landlord does grass for some years and feel like neighbour has taken over I’d like a bit of privacy without neighbours interference?!
Jumah - 26-Aug-21 @ 7:32 AM
I have lived in a council property with a large communal garden for a number of years. Recently a tennant moved in and has started to leave their belongings in a specific section of the garden. A gatden which up till that point was left clear of any personal belongings. Now another recent resident has taken it upon themselves to dump a pond sized amount of sand in the garden, which seems to either be in order to make a pond or planting. Is this allowed?
Lorrie - 26-Jul-21 @ 2:15 PM
We live in a housing association house, our back garden repeatedly floods as there is no drainage whatsoever not even a drain. Who’s responsible is it to fix this problem?
Beanie - 9-Jul-21 @ 12:22 PM
I have a council home with three huge gardens the back garden is full of glass and building materials also metal grills from when the house was built, I’m a single mum with a disabled son and have asked them to remove and make safe but the council won’t and says it’s my responsibility for the up keep is there any legal help I can get with this as I don’t want to leave my home because it would be to much of a change and upheaval for my son were so I stand on this any help would be much appreciated.
Jay1975 - 23-Jun-21 @ 5:59 PM
I live in a council house and there is a massive tree ( not planted by me ) at the start of my path , this has made the path rise at least 4 inches , i tripped up my path and really hurt myself,is this my fault ? I didn't plant this tree wich must be at least 50 years old if not older .
Jools - 10-Jun-21 @ 1:50 PM
My landlord says he is responsible for the painting of the building wall but not the garden wall is this correct
Lol - 4-Jun-21 @ 3:56 PM
What are my do's and dont's of a garden that I have whilst in temporary accommodation SAT
Zapps - 20-May-21 @ 5:51 PM
We rent a council house the boundary has a metal fence when renewing the metal fenci g we acquired a tree this tree has lots of birds onit that bits good but ots overgrown and we are tidying the garden can we crop the tree or is it protected either way it needs tidying up ?
lisa - 18-Apr-21 @ 6:35 PM
I am a tenant in a privately rented property.( new build)One of the reasons we chose this property was the garden . We moved in late spring everything was fine . But as the wet weather came it became clear the garden had no drainage . The garden flooded and turned into a mud bath. From November to April the garden was unusable.We complained and nothing was done . Now again this year same thing and landlord saying its not a priority.We pay a lot of money for this house . We can't even do the garden ourselves or we lose our deposit.Do you have any advise please
Greg - 31-Mar-21 @ 10:31 AM
I’m in a council property my back garden is quite small and where my path is I have 3 steps leading out of my garden. I’m just wondering if anyone thinks I’d be able to get them removed and switch to a ramp? I have a baby on the way & a toddler so the steps are becoming a problem with the pram and getting the garbage bins out aswel as my little one constantly falling/tripping on them.
Sharnapearsonx1 - 17-Mar-21 @ 10:02 PM
I have lived in a housing association house with a large garden, which I keep well maintained, as I'm a keen gardener. However, there are 2 very large Sycamore trees against in the garden, almost touching the adjoining garden ( which I have replaced the whole length of the fencing myself, approx 15 6' panels) these are not my responsibility as it is next doors boundary. My problem is, the trees have somehow died over the past 3 years, and now the lower branches are falling off, ( one did hit me on the back,) I certainly cannot afford to have the trees cut down as I'm disabled. Can I ask the housing association to remove them and if so , who do I contact. I have tried twice but get passed from pillar to post. Thank you.
PAT - 11-Mar-21 @ 11:05 AM
Hello I was told by the housing association and planning for Croydon Council. That I was allowed to build a concrete building with flashing they gave us the guidelines which we have followed to the letter of emails and pictures and then they turn around and say once everything was completed that it was on authorised building what can I do to prevent my building from being destroyed eventhough we’ve got the emails back and forth And now have been fretting about my living at my property what can I do to prevent this and what is my right because all Victorian houses have outside building
Rosie - 6-Mar-21 @ 10:05 AM
I’m currently a tenant in a council house & I have no garden shed. It’s up to me to maintain an acceptable garden & keep it up tidy Am I entitled to put in a 10ft x 8ft garden shed when the space is there for one
Fergal - 3-Mar-21 @ 8:40 PM
I live in ground floor flat . My neighbour above wants to keep the privet hedge high at front of flat I want to be able to see out of flat he says he wants privacy when sitting out in summer . Can't I demand that we cut the hedge lower or not.
Gayle - 27-Feb-21 @ 2:26 PM
My neighbours are tenants . The fence between us is in a bad state of repair and about to fall down . It’s not my boundary responsibility , but over 20 metres so quite costly for the landlord to repair . Does he have to do it at my request ?
Siani - 18-Feb-21 @ 7:55 AM
Hi I live in a flat under a housing association. And we have a communul garden that is very large. Me included and other Tennant's have one or more children. Wondered if it is allowed that myself or others wanted to purchase garden play stuff for the kids. It's great too any way but as we.are in this lockdown and with kids off school and constantly stuck at home. But can go out into the garden. Then are we allowed to buy stuff for the garden. Another tenant seems to think it's against their rules, something like they don't want to be liable if the child's hurt on the play stuff. Is this right or wrong. I wanted advice first before approaching my housing association with this.
Minty - 23-Jan-21 @ 5:20 PM
I rent from housing association in daventry when I saw property thought nice but wasn't happy with garden situation I learnt that half my garden is being rented out by association as an alotmentfrom what I very been told previous tenants were elderly and struggled to do so. I am also told that they agreed for it to be let as explained above. So not happy with this arrangement.I've spoke twice to association to be told first time was nothing to do with them. Second time was told its as it is and that that. Explained not happy with the site of green house which is pined literally to my fence also rusty metal shed which also unsightly.I've also learnt the left side is my boundary line which the person as put what I call chicken wire prickle rose trees which caught me several times as this is my pathway to my back garden which is ajoin to my home. Feel so annoyed regarding this as had mice about which I hate . As anyone heard of part of someone, s garden beginning rent because I've not nor have people I very spoke to. As anyone got any advise what I can do further? Kind regards Wendy.
Lola - 14-Dec-20 @ 11:32 PM
I rent from housing association in daventry when I saw property thought nice but wasn't happy with garden situation I learnt that half my garden is being rented out by association as an alotmentfrom what I very been told previous tenants were elderly and struggled to do so. I am also told that they agreed for it to be let as explained above. So not happy with this arrangement.I've spoke twice to association to be told first time was nothing to do with them. Second time was told its as it is and that that. Explained not happy with the site of green house which is pined literally to my fence also rusty metal shed which also unsightly.I've also learnt the left side is my boundary line which the person as put what I call chicken wire prickle rose trees which caught me several times as this is my pathway to my back garden which is ajoin to my home. Feel so annoyed regarding this as had mice about which I hate . As anyone heard of part of someone, s garden beginning rent because I've not nor have people I very spoke to. As anyone got any advise what I can do further? Kind regards Wendy.
Lola - 14-Dec-20 @ 11:30 PM
I have lived in my council property for 21 recently neighbours moved in nextdoor. The rubbish is accumulating in there garden empty cat food tins general household rubbish. They rarely put the bins out for collection. I recently had a mouse in my kitchen a chap from the council came round took a picture of the rubbish and said that was the source of the problem. I have paid for pest control and had to replace items in my kitchen like toaster, tea towels, oven gloves ect I am having to chase the housing manager who seems to be doing very little. In fact she made me feel like a nuisance and said that she was unable to comment. The rubbish still remains what can I do?
Lisa - 9-Dec-20 @ 12:17 PM
Hi!Today I had unexpected argue with one of the housing association tenant. My dog had a poo on grass outside her flat. I've cleaned it as I always do (she has seen it as well). She was claiming, that this is her garden however there was no sign or fence. In general, there is an easy accessible pavement for everyone and the most of parents are using this as a shortcut to school. I've contacted her housing but the lasy I spoke to, seemed to ignore me by saying "it's a private land". I'm very angry about the situation especially when I was verbally harrased and my 7 years old daughter where involved as well. Would you be able to advise me what can I do about it and do you know if she canclaim this part as her own garden? Best Regards
Kasia - 9-Dec-20 @ 10:24 AM
Hi I have lived in my home as a council tenant 29 years ago, When i moved in there was and still is a huge Conifer tree, The council cropped it about 15/20 years ago. Now my new neighbours have complained to the council about the tree and want it chopped down if not cropped. The council sent round an independent tree specialist, He told the council there is no need for the tree to be chopped down completely ( as i like my tree, stops neighbours from seeing me in my garden) But where it was chopped previously by tree surgeon he didn't do a very good job because now instead of One trunk we have two competing against each other where the tree surgeon cropped it and it can be a problem. So now the council are telling me that's it's down to me to crop it and pay thousands of pounds to do so. My argument with them is not only do i have thousands of pounds in my bank, But why did they crop it years ago and their surgeon done it wrong and now i have to pay! please help. They have given me 3 months to crop the tree... Please hELP!
Dawn - 4-Nov-20 @ 3:39 PM
My son lives in a housing association flat.His neighbour who owns her flat claims that every time a tenant in the block puts discarded furniture in the garden she is charged to have it taken away.Is this true?
Ros - 29-Sep-20 @ 4:17 PM
My partner rents a garden flat from a private housing association and has a very beautiful, tall, ever green tree in the garden. The neighbours behind him have recently built a huge extension and have approached the housing association to have the tree removed, I believe because it blocks natural light and they are offering to pay for it... Access through his flat is the only way that the tree can be removed, he doesn't want it removed as it offers privacy into his flat, its beautiful and healthy... what rights does he have? Any advise greatly received!!!
ASP - 23-Sep-20 @ 12:04 PM
In 2017 after many calls to my housing association they finally ordered my neighbour to cut down a very large tree that was feet away from my patio door, the roots from the tree dislodged the patio flags and the gardens are built up from rubble from the flats that were demolished the gardens are very slanted, the roots from the tree pushed up this rubble exposing rocks boulders glass ect, I have 3 broken mowers and 5 strimmers that have broken when trying to tidy the garden, I asked the person that mowed my neighbours lawn to maintain my garden but whenhe realised how bad it is he said he couldnt rick his equipment..I complained involving my local MP who told them to make the garden safe, Ive also contacted the housing Ombudsman 3 times each time the housing have been told to do the repair, All i knew was about a doz people have been to inspect the garden all reported back its a hazard, but i never see any of them again, I assumed the maintenence was from their own department so contacted them..2 men came and what they have done is beyond belief because if it was dangerous before its more so now.I could only show how bad it is via photos..The maintenence department admitted the men that came really didnt know what they were doing and it would be rectified..But again no one has been back, I have gone through all the right ways of complaints in the past 3 years and still were i was if not worse than i was 3 years ago, Ive fallen umpteen times tripping on old roots or large rocks sticking up from the soil..Im in a nice area and expected to maintain a garden that many times has been declared un managable and a health hazard..Im now at a point i dont know where to go from here..Im ignored, My daughter fell yesterday shes an adult and suffers neurological problems she was so close to her head hitting a 2 foot high plank of wood stuck upright in the middle of the garden left from the ridiculous repair, Even the men that didnt know what they were supposed to do slipped 3/4 times whilst bringing sacks of stones dropping and scattering the stones everywhere If they cant balance how do they expect me to maintain it..
wendii - 14-Aug-20 @ 12:13 PM
We are council tenants and our house is connected to the house next door who are buying there home we have lived here for twenty three years with no problems they moved in a few years ago . since then we are constantly being blamed for the problems with there home even though it has nothing to do with us just so they don't have to pay for anything to the point we feel we are being harassed as it seems to be one thing after the other and the council has sad they can do nothing as they are buying their home is this true and can we do anything about it
Mags - 3-Aug-20 @ 11:27 PM
I rent a council property with a rotten portche broken safety glass and a garage a few feet away from the house which has been condemned twice and is dangerous and falling down but council say it's not their responsibility because it's not on the Tenency it's impacting on my mental health because of the health and safety of it being left to fall down I'm on the sick and it comes under the nuisance act it's making me more I'll have the council got a responsibility to take the garage down and fix the portche?
Bully - 31-Jul-20 @ 12:02 PM
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