Description of garden condition adequate?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Description of garden condition adequate?

    Hi all,

    Tenants recently vacated after 3 years. Tenancy agreement included a standard clause on maintaining the garden. Check in report had gardens “in good outdoor condition”. Check out has garden in “mature condition; [lawn] worn in places”.

    The latter description feels a bit inadequate. The tenants were lovely but not keen gardeners. The flower beds around the lawn were covered in weeds, the lawn had retreated quite a bit, and all bushes needed a lot of pruning.

    I’ve started the conversation about deductions (there are others) and get the sense it might be a difficult one which ends up using TDS adjudication (deposit properly protected, redone with renewed ASTs annually).

    I’m proposing a deposit deduction of £140 for weeding and reseeding. This is a third of the cost of the total for the gardening that was needed, broken down by the gardener (not claiming it all as I’ve always felt it’s ambiguous whether bushes etc are a tenant or landlord responsibility).

    My question is whether the check out report description is sufficiently detailed to back up a claim. I have raised this with the Inventory company via the agency which managed the property (within a week of receiving the draft report) but am being told no change can be made.

    I’m not looking for an inaccurate description, just something sufficient to describe accurately the condition to an adjudicator. One word with a wide range of meanings doesn’t seem to cut it. But am I flogging a dead horse here?

    Thanks in advance!

    #2
    If you have already paid for the re-seeding etc and have an invoice, I would suggest you make a claim via the deposit scheme, you don't have anything to lose and more to gain if it's in your favour.

    For future rentals I would increase the price to cover the gardening costs, same with cleaning inside the property as these are the main areas of dispute.

    Comment


      #3
      This sounds like quite a high maintenance garden so perhaps in future consider hiring a gardener once a year to prune back bushes and reseed the lawn as needed. Covering the flower borders with bark chippings will cut back the weeding needed, I did this with mine. Or otherwise maybe take out the borders so it is all grass so its easier for tenants to maintain. I think after a 3 year let you can expect some garden maintenance. I think cutting the grass and not leaving rubbish in the garden might be as much as you can expect unless you gave specific detail about garden maintenance in the tenancy agreement.
      I am not sure the check out description would support a claim. A mature garden just means the bushes have grown to maturity. I don't think you could deduct for the lawn being warn in places, that might be treated the same as any general wear and tear at the property I expect.

      Comment


        #4
        Thank you both.

        It’s not high maintenance or very big: 5m wide and 15m long with 8/9 small bushes/plants/shrubs plus lawn. The amount of work needed reflected that nothing had been done for a year or so other than an occasional mowing of the lawn. The TA is clear the Ts should “keep the garden weeded, in good order and to the same condition and style as at the Commencement”.

        I appreciate a better approach may be to charge more and provide gardening, but my perhaps naive view was that that clause would mean something.

        Thanks amy131 for the direct response to my question on the check out wording, which does chime with my concern. Am I unreasonable to expect the check out report to provide more of description? If so, then there’d seem no way of using one in an adjudication on garden condition, which would make it very hard to prove a claim.



        Comment


          #5
          I think your problem is not just that "Mature condition" in the check out report is vague, "worn in places" is better but without photos who knows just what that means either?

          But by the same token "In good outdoor condition" in the check in report could also have meant anything.
          It could even have meant 'Mature with worn patches''.

          A peat bog can be "in good outdoor condition", as can a sandy beach, or a rocky mountaintop - the phrase is a strange one to use and is wide open to interpretation.
          About all it says in the report is that the checker has (maybe) glanced at the garden.

          I can't see that the deposit scheme adjudicators could decide anything from either of those descriptions to warrant any deduction from the deposit.
          Both descriptions are simply too vague to be of any use at all.

          Unless the tenant agrees to the proposed deduction so that it doesn't need adjudication then I'd say the horse is not just dead but was named Shergar.

          Comment


            #6
            All you can do is let deposit ADR decide on evidence submitted.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by SELondonLL View Post
              Tenancy agreement included a standard clause on maintaining the garden. Check in report had gardens “in good outdoor condition”. Check out has garden in “mature condition; [lawn] worn in places”.
              May we please have the standard clause?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by ash72 View Post
                For future rentals I would increase the price to cover the gardening costs, same with cleaning inside the property as these are the main areas of dispute.
                Oh please! [Exclaimed in exasperated Germaine Greer tones]

                Comment


                  #9
                  What were the check-in & check-out photos of the garden like (signed for my tenants hopefully) please? Do the photos bear out your assertions.

                  I've a property where tenant left 30th March (no issues, left in good condition, deposit repaid) : Bad timing, lockdown ever since. 500+ miles away each way, 10-hour ish drive. Planning on selling. Agent has been round. Garden now has 4-ft high grass (Scottish highlands...). Think yourself lucky!
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks for these other replies.

                    The TA text in full is

                    13.1. To keep the garden, window boxes, paths patios (if any) weeded, in good order and in the same condition and style as at the commencement of the Tenancy and to cut the grass regularly during the growing season;

                    There’s only one photo in each report. They are slightly helpful but don’t show enough of the garden to be conclusive.

                    I’ve now got the agent on the case with the inventory people to get more of a description than “mature” so we’ll see what comes from that. And then negotiation and/or potentially a frustrating adjudication decision.

                    Many thanks again for the advice; it’s been very helpful.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      To keep the garden, window boxes, paths patios (if any) weeded, in good order and in the same condition and style as at the commencement of the Tenancy and to cut the grass regularly during the growing season

                      The wording is not too helpful. "Weeded" is clear. "In good order" is a bit vague. "In the same condition" is really using words more applicable to a building. Combined with "style" it is unclear whether the intention is not to make any radical changes. "In good order" potentially conflicts with "in the same condition [...] as at the commencent of the tenancy" leading to a problem if the condition is not adequately recorded. Taking all that in combination with the check out report you may have an uphill struggle getting any compensation. If there are other things in dispute and you need to go to ADR then by all means bring in the state of the garden.

                      Comment

                      Latest Activity

                      Collapse

                      Working...
                      X