There is a lot of value in the lawns and gardens of an investment property so it’s important they are correctly maintained. In general tenants don’t care for the gardens and lawns as well as home owners do. Landlords have a few options:
Firstly if you plan to get the tenant to look after the gardens have it spelt out in the lease under the special conditions exactly what you expect. Be specific. Instead of staying “lawns are the tenants responsibility”, be more specific like “Lawns are to be mowed, at least twice a month during Sept to March and at least once a month between April to August. Weeds in the lawn and garden are to be chemically treated at least every 4 weeks.”
You need to be very clear about the gardens too, with clauses like “ Driveway, pathway and garden hedges, are to be kept tidy. Plants in gardens are to be trimmed. Garden waste like branches, leaves and palm fronds are to be removed from the property every 4 weeks.”
At the start of the lease, sit down and go over this with the tenant so they are clear on what the expectations are.
One thing you can’t do is ask a tenant to maintain a garden that needs special equipment, like a hedge, or tall trees.
The challenge then is enforcing it. If you find after a period of time they have not been maintaining the gardens as per what’s been outlined in the lease, you would then have a claim you can make through the RTA or QCAT but you need to use this as a last resort. Its better to remind the tenants of their obligation and the importance of these being maintained correctly.
Our preferred option is to build garden and lawn maintenance into the lease. Prior to the lease have a local gardener supply a written quote for regular maintenance then increase the weekly rent slightly to include this. Its surprisingly affordable & a tax deduction. The tenant gets to enjoy the perks of having the gardens and lawns maintained for them, but more importantly you get to protect your investment.
Finding a gardener that’s reliable has its challenges. We mostly use Shane from Jim’s mowing, due to his fair prices and his reliability to get the job done. Shane is available on 0428 631 869 or firstname.lastname@example.org