Why it’s wise to treat lawn and garden maintenance as your responsibility

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Why it’s wise to treat lawn and garden maintenance as your responsibility

Under a standard Residential Tenancy Agreement, lawn and garden maintenance is the tenant’s responsibility. However, I would suggest that there are circumstances where you as the landlord should take on that responsibility.

Let me clarify what is generally included under ‘lawn and garden maintenance’ in a standard Residential Tenancy Agreement: Mowing the lawn, edging and weeding. That’s it!

We recommend that every Tenancy Agreement should very specifically document the tenant’s responsibility for lawn and garden maintenance. Why?  Because one person’s idea of ‘garden maintenance’ (to mow the lawn once a month and rake up fallen leaves from time to time) may mean something completely different to another person (mow and fertilise the lawn, trim the edges of the lawn, clip hedges, prune trees and remove dead and fallen branches from tree foliage etc.). Any room for unspecified interpretation in the written Tenancy Agreement creates space for tenant/landlord disputes during the tenancy.

More specialised landscaping or major garden maintenance work such as tree lopping, hedging and tree pruning is usually carried out by the Property Manager/landlord as part of their obligation to keep the property in good repair. As a result, it is not generally considered part of the standard Residential Tenancy Agreement.

So why would any landlord volunteer to take on the general lawn and garden maintenance if it is usually the tenant’s responsibility?

The reason is simple. It’s about making things easier for you as landlord and keeping your good tenants happy.

There are certain circumstances that make it more beneficial for the landlord to take responsibility for lawn and garden maintenance for their investment property during a tenancy. These include:

  • When the tenant struggles to maintain the lawns,
  • When the property has a particularly high or challenging level of lawn/garden maintenance (such as a steep sloping block or large area of lawn to maintain, split level grassed areas etc.), and/or
  • When there are intricate garden beds and/or complex or large volumes of lawn edging to maintain.

Although it is generally a tenant’s responsibility to maintain the lawn and garden, their struggle to do does not necessarily make them a ‘bad’ tenant. As a landlord, you may be completely happy with your tenant except for the fact that they struggle to keep the lawn and gardens maintained to an adequate standard. Don’t risk losing a good tenant for the sake of a standard clause in the Tenancy Agreement.

My recommendation is to adjust the lease so the rent includes lawn and garden maintenance. Doing so creates a win-win outcome because if the lawns and gardens are maintained to a high standard during the tenancy, both you and your tenant are happy and your property has a better chance of continuing to appreciate in value, over time.