Lawn and Garden Maintenance in Your Investment Property

By October 19, 2016Landlord Tips

Lawns and garden maintenance as well as occasional tree trimming are things you often need to consider with freestanding houses, and some townhouses.

Our modern day lives have become very busy, and our Tenants lives are no different. Many people simply do not have as much free time to do these kinds of everyday tasks – or sometimes avoid them all together.

Understanding the differences between Lawn and Garden Maintenance and Tree Trimming

As a rule, if it is within reach for the Tenants to trim without the assistance of a ladder or other specialised equipment, then it is something your Tenant can and should be doing. If it is beyond this reach, it would then fall to you as the owner to have it attended to when required. Thankfully, tree trimming generally only needs to be done occasionally!

Having an Investment Property with large lawn or garden areas, or sometimes both – can lead to these areas being neglected; sometimes even with otherwise good Tenants. How do we reduce the risk of problems occurring, and in turn remove the distraction and potential expense from your life?

Here are a number of options you could consider, depending on the circumstances:

  1. Include the lawn and/or garden maintenance in the rent – bypass the Tenants all together, and have a contractor attend to this for them. You will want to consider recovering this cost from the Tenants through the rent price or other methods, to ensure you are not disadvantaged by chasing away potential Tenants (by possibly having the rent appear too expensive). We recommend considering this option on properties with large gardens and/or lawn areas, or for Tenants who do not have time or equipment to attend to it themselves.
  2. Encourage Tenants to have it done professionally – Have your Property Manager suggest the Tenant engages a contractor, and preferrably put them in contact with one they know and trust. Your Property Manager can also help by making the Tenants aware the lawns and gardens are a priority for you, which may encourage them to ensure they are looked after.
  3. Tenant’s responsibility, and setting the expectations  – Highlighting their responsibilities to your Tenants for lawns and gardens at the time of signing the initial lease, is often enough encouragement to achieve the desired result. Letting them know the Property Manger will be monitoring this from time to time, including outside of routine inspections can also help. This is a task your Property Manager can handle for you, and although it gives you less control over the situation than if you have scheduled a contractor yourself – you can still monitor and act on any issues that arise through the appropriate Tenancy Legislation.
  4. Consider covering some of the water charges to encourage regular watering – Particularly with large areas of lawn and garden the cost of frequent watering can mount up. If it’s important to you that the gardens are well watered and even fertilised, your Tenant may feel more inclined to keep the garden ship shape if it’s not seen as a financial burden.
  5. Provide green waste bins or a garden waste collection service – Our tropical gardens often include a number of palm trees, with the accompanying task of disposing of the palm fronds. These can be hard to get rid of without a trailer or ute and don’t tend to fit in standard bins. A green waste bin or garden collection service can be a cost effective way to help to avoid fronds, grass clippings and prunings from building up and looking untidy.

Like everything, setting clear boundaries and expectations makes for good communication and relationships. Your Tenants have been made aware of what is expected. You have made it as easy as possible for them to meet those expectations, and there is a clear way for your Property Manager to deal with any issues which may arise.

With tree trimming, the process is more straightforward. You should be able to get advice on how often a trim would be required from a tree trimming company, and then have your Property Manager arrange it as a recurring job. This way, you have less to think about for your Investment – and more time to spend on other things.

We hope this information helps you better understand lawns and gardens in a rental property, and avoid unnecessary issues that can arise. If our Property Management team can provide guidance about managing the lawns and gardens, or other aspects of your Investment Property, we’d love to hear from you. We’re here to help make your life easier with your Investment!

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