Where is line between tenant and landlord for garden?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by B_T, 26th Apr, 2019.

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  1. B_T

    B_T Member

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    We have a rental property that has an established garden with various shrubs, vines, trees, lawn, paved areas, etc. The tenant is responsible for keeping it tidy, and does do things like mow the lawn. I know that we as the landlord are responsible for larger things and things that may be a safety issue.
    I don't know where the line is though, between what we have to do and what we can reasonably expect a tenant to do? Looking for advice?!

    A bit of context for my question - Over the last couple of years we have paid for quite a bit of gardening, including removal of tree branches, pruning of shrubs and vines, etc. The latest request that came from the tenant seems to me a bit over the top (as in it is just a vine that looks like it would be pretty easy for them to trim and get rid of the trimmings), and I'm wondering if this falls into the landlord's responsibility or theirs? I've attached a photo, any advice is appreciated. Am I being unreasonable if I decline their request for us to get a gardener in to do that? IMG_1516.PNG
     
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  2. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe get rid of the whole plant?

    The Y-man
     
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  3. The Y-man

    The Y-man Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Shogun

    Shogun Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure that nice garden and rental belong in the same sentence.
    I have taken to doing pruning of bushes/trees on my rental property.
    Since I spend a couple of hours a months tiding up the yard the tenant seems to take more care of the garden.
    I just accept I either do some gardening or need to factor into the rent price an allowance for some paid gardening.
     
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  5. B_T

    B_T Member

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    No-one mentioned "nice garden", I said it is an "established garden", i.e. has been around a long time :p
     
  6. ChrisDim

    ChrisDim Well-Known Member

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    @B_T your understanding of responsibilities is correct. Garden maintenance is one of those gray areas in the tenancy Act though, so it often is a case by case scenario. As you are saying, tenants are responsible for the "general maintenance" which means mowing, weeding and some trimming, whereas the landlord is responsible for providing the watering systems (such as hoses and sprinklers) and things like tree lopping (the "bigger things") etc.

    Most of the time though, it is all subject to interpretation, how much you want to look after the tenant and/or maintain your property, the type of garden and... very importantly, how well your PM manages the relationship - including what expectations they set with the tenant from the beginning.

    With all that in mind, from what I can see on your photo of that plant you have there, I'd say it is easy to trim back and maintain so I would expect the tenant to be keeping it under control, assuming of course it was under control when they took over the tenancy. Before you outright decline though.... think if they are a really good tenant, if perhaps the rent is on or above market value, and whether you want to keep them happy... Paying for a gardener every few months to trim it back may be cheaper than losing a good tenant and having the property vacant for 6 or 8 weeks (or longer with some houses in the Sydney area I am hearing about atm). I hope that helps.
     
  7. AlbertWT

    AlbertWT Well-Known Member

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    @B_T is your property a house or Strata plan property?
     
  8. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    So the tenant cuts it back and it dies? What then?

    You have to know a bit about plants to know how they respond to pruning - some do best with hard pruning - which will kill others.

    If you have an established garden that needs more than mowing and the odd tidy-up (all you can reasonably expect from a non-green-fingered tenant), you may be best to include garden maintenance as part of the rent.

    From your photo the plants are in pots? Get rid of them - take them home if you like them.
    Marg
     
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  9. AlbertWT

    AlbertWT Well-Known Member

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    How to do that @Marg4000, obviously adding it on top of the advertised weekly rental will not be favoured by the tenant.
     
  10. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    While I agree with much that has been said, I'd tell the tenant that they can trim that plant in the photo. I'd not want to pay someone to come out to trim just that plant. Would you feel bad if they trimmed it back too hard or killed it?
     
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  11. Propertunity

    Propertunity Well-Known Member

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    You can reasonably expect a tenant to do nothing in the garden at all. Mow grass, yes, occasionally. Trim edges - nah, not if they don't have a line trimmer. Garden maintenance, weeding, pruning, watering - nah no way. Carry fallen palm fronds to the green bin and put out for collection - NO! Pile them up beside the house until they become a fire hazard or snake nest or both - yes.

    In the last decade, across all our properties, we've had 1 only tenant who keeps the gardens and lawns better than we do. The rest of the time, only the drought tolerant plants survive and the rest die. We've had a couple of tenants actually dig out and throw away some plants that did survive so they would not have to look after them!

    That "vine" in the pic looks like a bougainvillea that needs a trim. It will have thorns - so don't expect the tenant to get pricked.....:rolleyes:
     
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  12. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    Some like it.

    Friend with immaculate garden rented their property when they relocated for work. They knew no tenant would care for it like they did, so included gardening in the rent. Factored in the cost of a monthly gardener, worked out at around an extra $30 per week. Rented to a family who loved the garden but did not want the work of maintaining it.
    Marg
     
  13. Angel

    Angel Well-Known Member

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    I was also going say that it looks like a bouganvillea. They grow rampant after rain, and they have thorns. Remove it or get it pruned regularly. PS, they just keep growing back no matter how much roundup you use.
     
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  14. Michael Mitchell

    Michael Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    Personal thoughts are a Tenant should not be required to do more than mow the lawn, and Lessor should provide a council green waste bin so the tenant doesn't have to pay for green waste removal. Garden maintenance can almost be an open cheque book in some cases, a lot of Tenants have no idea going into a tenancy and then get stung hard. The reason I think it should be defined - clear line drawn - is because this is a very grey area, rather difficult for Lessor/Agents to claim compensation on garden and grounds maintenance items, and insurance barely covers it as well if at all.
     
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  15. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    ok, think of it this way.

    At home, I have trees, shrubs, lawn etc, when do I need to call in others ? cutting dead wood from tree close to house is about it, normal garden maintenance, weeds etc should be controlled by tenant, otherwise they should rent a unit in a high rise or unit block.
     
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  16. MyPropertyPro

    MyPropertyPro REBAA Buyer's Agents Sutherland Shire & Surrounds Business Member

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    Good post. I pay for anything that requires special equipment or working from heights (for liability reasons).

    - Andrew
     
  17. B_T

    B_T Member

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    Thanks @ChrisDim your feedback hits the mark with how I am thinking, and yes in the past we've paid for all gardening requests (they did involve more than this one) because we wanted to keep the tenant happy - I forgot to mention that the tenant is moving interstate in September so I'll need to find a new one then anyway, so when this request came through just for one plant I started to wonder... anyway, the lesson learnt I guess is that on the next letting we'll ask the property manager to be clear on who will do what!
     
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  18. B_T

    B_T Member

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    Thanks for your comments @Marg4000, not so bothered whether the plant dies, from some of the other comments made on this thread I'm thinking it might be easier to get rid of it completely... the plant I am referring to is the one planted in the ground, against the fence. I'm assuming the pots are the tenant's, they aren't mine. Cheers.
     
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  19. B_T

    B_T Member

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    Yes, lesson learnt is to clearly define it with the next tenant! :)
     
  20. B_T

    B_T Member

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    It's a house.
     
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