The garden can often be a bit of a grey area when it comes to responsibilities between a landlord and tenant. Ultimately, it should be covered within a tenancy agreement so each party are clear from the start.

So if partial responsibility for maintaining an outdoor space does sit with a tenant, does a landlord have to provide gardening tools? Let’s explain.

Do landlords have to provide gardening equipment?

Yes, but only if you have allocated your tenant specific gardening duties in the tenancy agreement. For instance, if you have set out that a tenant is responsible for mowing the lawn in the garden, it’s a good idea to provide a lawn mower. In saying that, you are not legally obliged to provide a lawnmower. It will, however, make it much easier for the tenant to carry out your desired level of maintenance.

If the tenancy agreement does not specify any direct duties or instructions to the tenant about maintaining a garden or outdoor space, then a landlord does not need to provide gardening tools. If the tenant does want to keep the area neat and tidy, it’s up to them to use their own equipment.

Are landlords responsible for garden maintenance? 

It’s important to note that as a landlord, you shouldn’t leave all garden maintenance to your tenant. Landlords are responsible for maintaining areas of the garden which it would be unreasonable to expect the tenant to look after. This generally includes jobs such as maintaining trees, hedges, shrubs, and outdoor guttering.

Can a tenant make changes to a garden?

This will differ from tenancy to tenancy. Ultimately, if a tenant wishes to make changes to a garden, by law they must get permission from their landlord beforehand. Even if the garden is a totally blank slate and they want to plant some flowers to make it more appealing, a landlord must first agree.

If your tenant does make changes to the garden without consulting you first, you may be able to charge the tenant the cost of returning the garden to its original state. In most cases, of course, improvements to a garden will be welcomed by a landlord. After all, it’s one less thing for you to worry about and most tenants will only be improving the overall look of the space. But you should always be kept in the loop and ensure that no changes are made without your agreement.

Tenancy agreement garden maintenance clause

Things aren’t always so black and white when it comes to basic rental property garden maintenance. At the end of the day, who is responsible for cutting the grass, weeding, trimming hedges and even garden clearance will largely depend on what is mentioned in the tenancy agreement.

Ideally, the tenancy agreement should include specific garden-related clauses that establish tenant garden maintenance responsibilities, as well as any expectations regarding its upkeep.

It’s a good idea to document the state of the garden in the inventory before tenants move in. It’s also a good idea to take photographs of the garden’s condition during property inspections. This will help to remove ambiguity when it comes to establishing tenant garden maintenance responsibilities and may even come in handy when it comes to doing the final check-out report when tenants move out.

It’s important that tenants adhere to the clauses in the tenancy agreement. If the tenancy agreement states that the garden should be returned in the original (or a similar) state as when tenants moved in, tenants must perform basic maintenance to ensure garden upkeep.

If you’re unsure about how to include a garden maintenance clause, read our blog on how to write a tenancy agreement.

Garden responsibilities of a landlord and tenant

Generally, the tenant is responsible for the general maintenance of a rental property, while the landlord is responsible for performing any necessary repairs. This applies to the garden too. Usually, a tenant will be responsible for:

  • Keeping the garden tidy and free of litter
  • Preventing the garden from becoming overgrown
  • Removing weeds
  • Returning the garden at the end of the tenancy in the same state as when they moved into the property

These are all pretty basic responsibilities. A landlord cannot expect a tenant to perform tasks that require any level of expertise. Under section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, landlords have a legal responsibility to keep the structure of the property in good repair. With that in mind, a landlord is responsible for:

  • Pruning trees
  • Trimming hedges
  • Repairing fences and boundaries
  • Repairing paving slabs

Do landlords have to provide gardening equipment?

Whilst landlords are not legally required to provide gardening equipment and tools, it makes sense to provide some basic essentials if you want to encourage your tenants to take proper care of the garden. After all, it’s unlikely that most tenants will buy their own gardening equipment – unless they have a long-term tenancy agreement. Just make sure that any equipment provided is safely locked away.

How CIA can support you

We hope we have given you some clarity on whether you are required to provide gardening tools. Now we’ve cleared that up, let us tell you how we can help. We provide a comprehensive range of landlord insurance policies bespoke to your needs so that your home has the protection it needs. We can also provide expert guidance and advice for existing and first-time landlords alike. Visit our advice page today and get in touch for a competitive quote!

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