With spring just around the corner all our plants are about to come alive. If you are the owner of an investment property, you may have concerns about your garden and want to make sure tenants look after it. Whose responsibility it is to care for the garden should be detailed in the Form 18a General Tenancy Agreement. In most circumstances the tenants are responsible for mowing lawns and weeding gardens, having regard to their condition at the start of the tenancy. If you have a prestige garden, your best option will likely be to consider including garden maintenance in the rent. This means renting the property for a slightly higher amount to cover the cost of including the garden maintenance service.
For everyone else, here are 5 handy tips on how to create an easy to maintain garden that also appeals to tenant.
1. Keep it simple
Ultimately, you want the yard space to appeal to an array of prospective tenants. If you follow the same rule you do with the inside of the house and go for a minimalist approach, your yard space will have less maintenance required and appeal to more tenants by providing a blank canvas to give the yard space their own homely feel whether that is with potted plants, or other garden features and decorations.
2. Engage a professional
When selecting shrubs and plants for your garden beds – its best to get some expert advice from your local nursery or do some online searches of what the plants look like once matured and don’t forget to research the rooting system. Many plants are great in pots but when planted in the ground the roots can and will destroy your gardens edges, fences, driveway, even the foundation of your house.
3. Make it as cost effective and easy as you can for the tenants
Providing features such as a rainwater tank and irrigation system will encourage the tenants to continue the upkeep of the garden and lawn. Rainwater is a no cost way for the tenants to water and an irrigation system in place is appealing for those who are time poor, aren’t physically able or can even just be a handy extra for when the tenants are on holidays.
4. Mulch the garden
Mulching the garden prior to leasing it has a number of benefits such as weed prevention and keeping moisture in the soil which means the plants have a better chance of survival if not watered regularly and reliant on rain. Mulching the garden will also increase the overall appeal of the property and handing over a neat and tidy garden will mean the tenants are responsible to hand over a garden in a similar condition at the end of the tenancy. The type of mulch you use is debatable across gardeners worldwide. Try to choose a mulch that is suitable for the type of plants in your garden, the season, and is long lasting.
5. Provide a space for tenants to home grow
If you have the space for it, providing some raised garden beds that tenants can specifically use to grow their own choice of herbs, vegetables and/or flowers can be a real point of difference in a slower market if prospective tenants are comparing properties. Tenants who have a dedicated space like this tend to me more inclined to renew the lease and offer a longer tenancy. Be sure that the terms are written into the Form 18a General Tenancy Agreement and Form 1a Entry Condition Report to avoid unnecessary conflict at the end of the tenancy.
By understanding that not everyone is a green thumb, create a minimal-effort yet appealing garden space to provide your tenants every opportunity in successfully maintaining and enjoying the garden space.