What to Do About Damaged Landscaping When Moving Out of a Rental Property
Moving out of a rental property is hardly as exciting as moving into one is. This rings even truer if you treat moving as a DIY job and if the property you are renting has a yard and the landlord is unhappy with its end of tenancy condition.
A damaged landscape is among the most common reasons for end of tenancy disputes and deposit deductions. Knowing your responsibilities as a tenant and keeping them in mind before and during end of tenancy cleaning will help you reduce the chance of disputes.
What are the tenant’s responsibilities regarding garden maintenance?
Your tenant responsibilities must be noted, by the landlord, in the lease.
Your primary tenant responsibility is that the end of tenancy condition of the rental landscape has to be the same as it was at the start of the tenancy, taking into account any ordinary wear and tear damage.
Additionally, common tenant responsibilities for lawn maintenance that may apply to you include the following:
- Basic landscaping tasks such as weeding, watering, and mowing;
- Keeping the outside area clean and tidy by removing small debris and litter, keeping the trash bins empty, and the paths swept;
- Reporting any issues to the landlord and providing property access for the repair;
- Repair property damage caused by you, your pets, or your guests.
There are a lot of grey areas when it comes to garden maintenance duties, so try to discuss the contents of the lease with the landlord to weed out any misunderstandings about your responsibilities as a tenant.
After all, you’re soon moving into a new house and want things to be as stress-free and comfortable as possible.
What are the landlord’s responsibilities regarding garden maintenance?
Some general garden maintenance responsibilities of the landlord include:
- Tasks that require some level of landscaping expertise include lopping and pruning of trees, shrubs, and bushes, tree surgeries, special plant care, and removal of dangerous branches, to name a few.
- Fixing damage to the fencing, walls, drains, gutters, paths, or other outdoor structures not caused by the tenant.
- The landlord is responsible for aiding you with reported landscaping issues. If the issue results from your actions, the fix will still come out of your pocket.
- Landlords are also responsible for providing you with the landscaping equipment needed to perform garden maintenance if they have allocated such duties. They should also aid you in finding garden maintenance services if you don’t do so alone.
Common landscape disputes during the end of tenancy
Disputes at the end of tenancy are often a result of a miscommunication of landscaping-related responsibilities between the two parties.
Some common tenancy disputes are:
- Disagreement over the end of tenancy condition of the yard;
- Garden layout changes without asking the landlord first;
- Overgrown outdoor areas
- Plant life damage;
- Damage to the outdoor structures;
- Garden border neglect.
Common landscape damages
Whether due to neglect of responsibilities from either party or events outside your control, you will inevitably have to clash with landscaping issues at your rental. Depending on your responsibilities, some might end up on your end of tenancy cleaning to-do list.
Some common landscape damage includes:
- Seasonal damage;
- Overgrown lawns;
- Pet damage;
- Pest infestations;
- Damage to structures, furnishing, or garden equipment;
- Plant diseases;
- Damage from overwatering or underwatering;
- Installed flower beds without the landlord’s consent.
How to avoid such issues before moving out
Communicating and collaborating with the landlord to clarify vague upkeep duties is something to keep in mind to help reduce the chance of landscaping issues and potential disputes.
- Perform your garden maintenance responsibilities – Mowing the lawn will keep weeds at bay, allowing fresh, strong grass to grow. Shorter grass and a tidier lawn offer less room and conditions for a pest infestation and are far less likely to catch on plant diseases that could ruin it and other plants in the yard. If you do not have the time or equipment, consider the help of professional gardening services.
- Report issues when you notice them – It’s a great way of building goodwill with the landlord and preventing landscape troubles from escalating, which would be inconvenient for both of you.
- Ask permission for landscape alterations – By law, any modifications to the yard’s layout require you to first discuss them with and get the landlord’s approval. Not doing so will cause the changes to be treated as damaged landscape and possible deposit deduction
- Keep an eye on your pets – Cats and dogs, for example, can cause lawn damage by grazing, digging, or simply potty-training themselves to a single green spot.
Doing these will make your end of tenancy cleaning list a tad smaller.
How to fix some common landscape damages
Moving out traditionally calls for a good old end of tenancy cleaning. But what does it entail?
Returning the landscape to its original state before you vacate the property will require property-wide deep cleaning. This activity will have you tackle a good portion of the landscaping issues in the yard, or at least those that are part of your tenant responsibilities.
This is why we believe some move-out cleaning tips are to help with your end of tenancy cleaning.
Here is how to deal with typical landscape damage:
- Pest damage in the garden can widely vary depending on the nature of the pest that has caused it. In general, you will have to:
- Identify what type of pest is the source of the damage.
- Apply any pesticides or traps, depending on the pest type.
- Remove patches that have sustained major damage.
- Re-seed the damaged spot with the same kind of grass or plant.
- Pet damage culprits are often cats and dogs, so retraining their habits is advisable if you have plenty of time before you move out. As for the landscape damage, here is how to deal with it:
- Remove severely damaged grass.
- If there is pet urine damage, treat the soil with lime and water to clear the residue.
- Replant the patch with more of the same type of plants.
- Weeds will ruin the look of an outside area. For a weed-free outdoor area, you will have to:
- Identify the type of weed infesting your garden.
- For singular weeds, you can use a weed puller.
- Apply the herbicide depending on the type of weed you are fighting.
- Aerate and rake the lawn.
- Prepare the soil and add new seeds.
These are just a few possible landscaping issues that you can pass on and have a professional end of tenancy cleaning service handle while you relax or self-improve.
When you do not have responsibility for the repairment
If you have performed your garden maintenance duties described in the lease, and no damage was caused directly by you or a guest, you are not responsible for repairing the landscape damage.
A few examples where responsibility for the repairs is not yours include:
- Issues caused by the landlord neglecting their garden maintenance responsibilities;
- Storm damage;
- Damage due to plant lifespan.
Understanding your garden maintenance responsibilities will make the end of your tenancy less stressful.
If you are unsure how to do end of tenancy cleaning yourself, feeling overwhelmed by it, or your schedule is tight, a professional end of tenancy cleaning service will save you many deposit dispute-related headaches and possible gardening equipment-related injuries.