A study by the Tenancy Deposit Service has found that garden maintenance remains one of the most common reasons behind deposit disputes.
Over 2,000 property agents and landlords responded to the garden maintenance poll, revealing that almost 75 per cent believe that garden upkeep is the tenant’s responsibility, while 13 per cent believed it was a mutual obligation.
However, despite the high number of respondents believing the garden is solely their tenant’s responsibility - and four out of five confirming they include this detail within their tenancy agreement - just 46 per cent offer garden maintenance guidance to their tenant.
The TDS says this could be creating a gap in the communication between each party and may correlate to garden disputes later down the line.
Of those surveyed, 39 per cent of agents and landlords experienced damage to their rental property garden, with just three per cent only encountering one standalone issue.
The majority had multiple garden complaints at the end of tenancy.
The causes for damage varied, but the most common issues were:
- Three-quarters of garden damage was due to allowing weeds to grow;
- Damage to fencing was responsible for 41 per cent of complaints;
- Overgrown lawns affected 68 per cent of the respondents; and
- 65 per cent found that their tenant did not trim back trees or bushes.
While most agents and landlords confirmed they check all outside areas before a new tenancy check-in, 20 per cent do not look at every outside space during mid-tenancy property inspections.
In total, 27 per cent of agents and landlords who responded to the poll raised a deposit deduction claim for garden damage. The TDS says the poll highlights how important it is for both tenants and property professionals to be aware of who is responsible for garden upkeep.
In partnership with the National Residential Landlords Association, TDS has created a garden maintenance guide for landlords, to help explain who is responsible for garden maintenance, how to deal with common garden complaints and how to avoid a deposit dispute.