If you’re new to property rental, you might be wondering who is responsible for certain tasks which keep a home looking nice and tidy. It’s fairly obvious that internal cleaning is the responsibility of the tenant, but what about the garden? Gardens require regular maintenance throughout the year, but if this is neglected, it can devalue the property, not to mention cause run-ins between landlord and tenant, and disgruntled neighbours too.
Where the responsibility lies
There are variances according to each state’s Residential Tenancies Act legislation, but in almost all instances in the Australian rental market, it is the tenant who is responsible for looking after the day-to-day garden maintenance. That means committing to a regular schedule of yard work, including mowing the lawn, clearing debris such as leaves and litter, pruning and strimming where appropriate, and tackling weeds. The expectation is that tenants maintain the standard of care at the time they moved in (outlined in the property condition report) and will raise any issues which need attention.
However, landlords are responsible for ensuring that the tools to carry out this maintenance are provided, including mowers, shears, hosepipes and sprinkler systems. Under most tenancy agreements, landlords are also responsible for larger jobs such as tree lopping, clearing gutters and maintenance of the water reticulation system and any specialist plants. If there is a fruit tree in the property’s yard, it is important that the tenancy agreement states who will care for it and even who can pick (and eat) the fruit.
The tenancy agreement
Of course, these are general guidelines, and since each property has unique needs, the tenancy agreement should define where the responsibilities lie. One notable exception to the above is where garden maintenance contracts may be in place, which is usually in properties set in communal grounds with maintenance fulfilled by a third party.
If a tenant experiences problems with their garden, such as leaks, storm damage, wear and tear, drainage issues or hazards, it is usually the landlord who is responsible for taking action if it requires specialist experience or equipment (such as in the case of breakages, heavy fallen branches or uprooted trees). For minor disruptions, the tenant will usually be expected to remedy it themselves.
It can be difficult for both parties to know, not only where the responsibilities lie, but how to register any complaints. Therefore, it makes sense to ensure your tenant has a copy of their tenancy agreement to hand; you might even wish to issue them with a year-round garden maintenance checklist. It can also help to use a service that makes it easy to log and manage maintenance requests.
At Lodge, we don’t just make it easier for you to collect rent payments, but to manage your maintenance schedule and get quotes from contractors who can carry out the work at the most convenient time and affordable rates. Discover more on our website today.