21st November 2017 at 12:00 pm #978
Has anyone found solutions to the problem of tenants not doing the basics of mowing, sweeping leaves etc to keep the garden tidy, as per the tenancy agreement?
The house is adequately looked after, but the tenant seems to have no interest in the outside, some of which is at the front and therefore a matter that also concerns the immediate neighbours. And the letting agency that manages the property has had no joy in pursuing the point, other than recommending a local gardener….
Thanks for any thoughts.
Helen30th November 2017 at 8:32 pm #997
I wonder if it is worth finding out how much it would cost for the local gardener to provide basic maintenance for maybe an hour a fortnight. This cost could be discussed with the tenant, who may not be interested in looking after the garden themselves but would probably prefer it to see it looking good. Perhaps you could offer to split the cost with the tenant, especially if they are otherwise a good tenant?4th December 2017 at 9:12 am #1004
I know of a landlord who has one house to let in his home town of Morpeth. He took on the responsibility of keeping the front garden tidy, and he also gave permission for the tenant to keep a dog. As time went on, it became apparent that the grass was not being mown. On investigation, the person the landlord had engaged to keep the garden tidy was refusing to mow the grass because the tenant was using the lawn as a dog toilet. The landlord thought he was bending over backwards to be really helpful to the tenant, but all he ended up with was a mess.6th December 2017 at 9:51 am #1021
Further reflections on my previous post here: there is no reason why the landlord shouldn’t manage the property himself, rather than use an agent, if he is in a position to do so. But both sides must have responsibilities. So, the landlord was responsible for grass cutting. The tenant’s responsibility was to leave the grass in such a state that it was possible to cut without unpleasantness or danger to health. (Of course, I don’t know the details of what was written into the contract, and what was verbal agreement) The tenant reneged on his side (by letting the dog use it), resulting in the landlord reneging on his. I wonder, would an agent have been more able to keep up the standards expected?10th January 2018 at 1:28 pm #1044
My recommendation (as an agent) would be that the landlord include a garden maintenance service in the tenancy agreement and reflect this in the rent. I would recommend leaving a margin to cover additional maintenance should it arise, so if the maintenance of the garden costs £50pcm the landlord might look to increase the rent (with a gardener included) by £60pcm. This should cover the eventuality of the gardener having to remove dog waste and other issues that may arise.
Similar issues are experienced in houses of multiple occupation and small blocks of flats with gardening and cleaning especially in communal areas. It’s all very well placing the liability on the tenant in the contract and then arguing endlessly about who is right and wrong but my experience is that neither party benefits from this and we often recommend including services in the rent – it’s not always the right approach but in many instances it makes the property more desirable.10th January 2018 at 3:22 pm #1048
Thanks, Piper, also Sarah, for helpful suggestions.
Garden maintenance (or the lack thereof) is one of the problems I know people face when letting out their own home or former home, whose garden may well not have been chosen or designed for ‘low maintenance’.
When I purchased a property specifically for letting, the fact it had no private, fenced-off garden and only a communal space at the front was a real plus for me as landlord. To be fair, it also often suited shorter term tenants who were relocating area or moving temporarily for a job contract. Not so good for the person or family who want to settle down longer-term.
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