The flowers are in full bloom as we have now entered the warmer seasons, and for tenants with gardens, this means they will likely be spending a lot more of their time outside than previously. Many will be taking to the gardens for barbeques with friends or lounging on a deck chair to soak up the sun, and children may spend more time outside playing. With the garden seeing more usage at this time of year, it stands to reason that problems are more likely to arise that could affect the tenant’s deposit when they eventually leave the property. Tenancy deposit scheme SafeDeposits Scotland has noted some of the issues that commonly crop up in dispute claims which stem from the garden, and this article will provide some tips on how to keep the garden pristine and avoid gardening related end of tenancy disputes.

Who’s responsible?

The tenancy agreement signed by both parties at the beginning of the tenancy should include a section which outlines details regarding the garden and whose responsibility it is to maintain it, whether this be up to the tenant themselves or a hired gardener. Even in circumstances where a professional has been hired to maintain the property’s garden, the tenant should still do their best to contribute to this by avoiding problems such as damage to garden fixtures. Additionally, when it comes to any alterations to the garden, the tenant should first make sure to check with the landlord that this is okay.

Fixtures and furniture

Some gardens may come furnished with ornaments or a table and chairs, and any items present at the start of the tenancy should be returned in the same state as is detailed in the inventory list. Any metallic furniture is susceptible to rust, and so protective covers may be provided. These should also be included in the inventory. For properties which have a shed in the garden you should keep the shed locked when not in use for safety purposes, and any items that belong in there should be safely stored and not left out in the garden.

Flowers and foliage

Gardens in private rented properties may feature flowerbeds, trees, shrubbery, or any other form of plants – including grass. Whereas, the tenancy agreement may indicate that a professional gardener has been hired for the purpose of maintaining any plant life in the garden, whoever the responsibility lies on, the tenant should still do their best to prevent any damage such as trampled flowerbeds or overgrown, unmown grass. The more unkempt this gets, the more difficult it becomes to maintain or spot debris which could damage the lawnmower. If the responsibility of garden maintenance does fall on the tenant, then they should ensure that they follow instructions which should be laid out on the tenancy agreement, including watering plants where necessary and ensuring the garden is free of weeds.

Fun with friends and family

The garden becomes somewhat of a social hub during the warmer seasons, with garden parties, barbeques, and lazy days in the sun. With the Euros coming this summer, people may have friends over to watch the games, and on especially warm days a lot of time may also be spent in the garden. The actions of guests on the property are still the tenant’s responsibility and they should make sure that the garden is free of litter, such as empty bottles and cans. Should watching the football inspire a kick-about in the garden, care should be taken to not cause any damage to property such as knocking over fence posts or laundry poles, and of course be careful not to trample flowerbeds too.

During hotter days it can seem like a good idea to bid farewell to the kitchen and take to the outdoors for a barbeque with friends and family. In properties that are lucky enough to have a barbeque set provided, they should be treated with the same care as with kitchen equipment, and the tenancy agreement should provide clear instructions on how the barbeque should be used and cleaned, as well as the exact type and model it is.

There are several safety precautions that should also be followed when barbequing, such as keeping the barbecue ten feet away from the home. Regular cleaning is also crucial as dirty barbecues are more likely to flare up. This is especially important if the garden has a lot of flammable plants. In this case it would be better to keep the barbecue set away from them, as well as having a fire extinguisher handy.