The Thorniest of Tenancy Disputes
With better weather arriving and summer just around the corner, many of us are turning our attention outdoors.

Stalk with thornsOutside space is a sought after feature for many tenants. To stop future disputes, it’s essential that the gardening obligations of both tenants and landlords are detailed specifically within the tenancy agreement.

This issue is a thornier problem than you may think. Last year, 16% of all tenancy deposit deduction disputes involved gardening.

The centre of the issue is the subjective nature of gardening; what enhances the look of a garden or what appears to be tidy, for example. Propertymark explains: “A clause for the tenant to return the garden in a tidy state may cause disagreement between landlords and tenants based on what they consider to be ‘tidy’.

“Ideally, tenancy agreement clauses should detail:
  • Which areas of the garden the tenants are responsible for, such as; the front garden, rear garden and any side alleys;
  • Which areas fall outside of the tenant’s remit, such as maintenance of large and independent trees or plants;
  • What state the tenant is to return the garden in – this is most likely expected to be a well-maintained state, similar to how it was at the start of the tenancy.
  • Specifically detail whether tenants must take responsibility for cutting the grass, tidying flowerbeds, and sweeping up leaves.”

Avoiding Tenancy Disputes
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme offers the following advice to avoid gardening disputes:
  • Ensure your tenancy agreements contain a detailed and specific clause relating to maintenance of the garden and outside areas.
  • Take into account the season which the tenant moves in and out of the property and how you would expect the garden to have been returned in these circumstances.
  • Ensure any claim proposed against the tenant’s deposit is fair and reasonable.

Jason Dyer of north London estate agency JTM Homes adds: “It’s always safest to ask permission before making any changes to the property – inside or outdoors. Confirmation in writing avoids future problems after the work has been completed.”

If you are interested in letting or renting a property in north London, talk to the specialist lettings team at JTM Homes. We’re here to help.