Rhys Own, Senior Property Investment and Market Advisor, highlights a few key things a landlord can do to better ensure a garden or outdoor space that comes with a rental property is well maintained...
Every landlord should be aware of the importance of rental property maintenance - it helps keep the property in tip-top shape, can save money in the long run by avoiding costly and unexpected repair issues, and also keeps your tenants happier which can reduce the amount of lengthy and expensive void periods. However, maintenance isn’t restricted to just the inside of the property, especially if there is a garden or other outdoor space that tenants can enjoy using. As much as a landlord doesn’t want a kitchen or bathroom falling into disrepair due to neglect or decades of unattended wear and tear, neither should they want the same for the garden.
So, if you’re a landlord who’s keen to ensure the garden in your rental property is well maintained over the years, read on!
Void periods are unwanted, but they are difficult to avoid entirely over the course of many years. Fortunately, there is at least one positive side to them which is the fact they allow a landlord to cast an eye over areas of the property and fix up anything that needs fixing or changing before new tenants move in.
When it comes to the garden, the period between tenancies allows you to remove any unwanted items that previous tenants may have left lying around such as rusting bbq kits or broken tools in the shed, old outdoor children’s toys, old garden furniture etc.
Check with the previous tenants first to ensure nothing was left behind by mistake, and once that’s confirmed you can always donate anything that’s still usable but no longer required in your garden to charity. If there are outdoor items that you do provide to your tenants, such as garden furniture, this is also a great time to cast an eye over everything to see if it’s time to upgrade or update them with new versions.
Some tenants with green fingers may care for the garden with a passion, some will neglect it entirely, while the majority lay somewhere in the middle. You could make a contractual agreement with your tenants so they agree to offer at least some basic form of regular garden maintenance through the warmer months, such as mowing the lawn, applying specialist products to outdoor surfaces or trimming back hedges and overgrown bushes.
An overgrown lawn, for example, can be very off-putting for prospective tenants and a failure to regularly maintain the lawn can cause difficulties when trying to put it right.
If you want to take things a step further and ensure that flowerbeds are well kept and weeds are regularly removed from the garden, driveway or path, it may be a case of considering the services of a local gardener if you can’t rely on the tenants - you’ll have to weigh up the finances, take a look at the pros and cons, have a discussion with your tenants and then come to a decision from there.
If you’re unsure about which neighbour is responsible for certain boundary walls or fences, refer to the property deeds as you should hopefully find all the relevant legal information listed there. If there are maintenance issues that are effecting your property but the responsibility to rectify lies with a neighbour, you may want to have a conversation with them so that they are aware of their responsibility to replace or repair them.
For the walls and fences that are your responsibility, unless the problem is structural or due to old decaying fence panels, in which case you’d need to look into replacing them, you should find that a lick of fresh paint or protective varnish every few years can work wonders. Just be sure to use specialist paint and varnish that has been specifically manufactured for the use on outdoor fences and other garden surfaces.
If garden maintenance at your rental property is very important to you, consider supplying gardening equipment for your tenants. Some simple gardening tools that can be used regularly, such as a lawn mower and some pruners, could be enough to tempt them into venturing into the garden during the summer to carry out light gardening work.
You can also include a clause within the tenancy contract which highlights the required garden maintenance work to be carried out so that tenants can better understand what is expected of them and so that they are aware that the checking of outdoor areas will be an important part of the overall inspection checks that will be periodically carried out.
Are you a landlord in Cardiff looking for the perfect investment opportunity? Perhaps you’d like to learn more about the property management services that we offer here at CPS Homes? Whatever your enquiry, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team. Call us on 02920 668585, e-mail email@example.com or pop into one of our three Cardiff branches.