including maintenance cost into rent

I have a reasonable yard that has trees and plants that I'd like to keep alive and trimmed and grass that strangely needs mowing periodically. As I don't particularly trust the tenant to do this, or do a good job of it, I would like to pay a garden maintenance mob to do the work. However, I'd like to build this to rent so I'm not out of pocket (too much). I was thinking something like an extra $15 a week should do it.

What do you think? Bad idea? Too much/ not enough? Anyone else done it?
We do this on all our IPs. To give you an idea, I checked the books for one IP and found 2007/2008 financial year we spent $780 on the yard. That equates to $15 per week. We don't really add on a hard and fast $15 but it really comes down to the house being much more attractive to a tenant if they don't have to do anything in the yard.

My brother does this work (it is his business), he charges us market rates because we claim it on our tax. This particular yard is 907 square metres, so it is a big yard. My brother charges less than some of the franchise type set ups and is very particular, so whilst we could probably save some money by letting the grass get longer between mows, I do know that he says if we do that, he takes longer to do it, so it doesn't really save any money. Also, being my brother, there is no way he would ever rip us off.

If we wanted someone else to do this, we would be careful to check prices carefully.

The same as we don't think "the house has a dishwasher, that is an extra $15, it has air-con, that is an extra $15" we also don't think "lawn mowing, add $15 a week".

It comes down to what the market is prepared to pay. We try for the higher end of any range we are told the house sits in, and for that higher end of what is available, tenants are getting a dishwasher, air-con and all yard work done.

I believe this often swings the deal. When you add in that we allow pets, it is very attractive to many tenants.
Re: including maintenance

Thanks for the advice Wylie. I appreciate it.

I see what you mean. If I think the house is worth about $340 a week comparable to other places and assume it will cost $15 a week maintenance, then I would like to charge $355. However, $355 could price me out of the market. If I don't build it in then I effectively end up with $325p.w. - take out management fees and I'm left with only ~$300. Thats assuming its worth $340 in the first place. That figure is what I got from the P.Ms so it could be rather inflated (but thats for another thread).

I can see that it would be a benefit to tenants because then they wouldn't have to mow, trim, weed etc. But how much ($$) benefit...

Any tenants here? I'd be interested to know what they would pay. If not the full $15, then a compromise half way perhaps?
gardening tenant

Any tenants here? I'd be interested to know what they would pay. If not the full $15, then a compromise half way perhaps?

Yep, I'm between PPOR's so am a tenant at the moment and currently looking for a garden friendly rental. Being a passionate gardener with all my own tools I just offered to do the gardening at a previous rental and so everyone was happy.

There are lots of us around who specifically look for properties where they can look after a garden, or build one up, but the PM's are not really helpful. Clauses like "restoring the yard to what it was" aren't good when you're likely to spend $$oodles building a vegie garden and then have to rip it out before you vacate.

$7-10 a week sounds reasonable for someone else to maintain the yard but you could offer to knock that off if the tenant was willing to do the yard work or feel welcome to garden. You need clear guidelines as to what's expected, what's ok and what isn't. I guess your problem would be tenants who say that they would do the work and then don't.

Wish there was a way that PM's could suss out the genuine gardeners amongst us but we aren't on their radar.
Be careful.. you can't legally charge the tenants to maintain the garden.
I realise you may market your property at a higher rent so you can include a gardener in the cost "at your expense", I wouldn't make this known to the tenant you put in the property that you have priced it higher for this reason.

At the end of the day, you may market your property for $355 (I would recommend $350 as the extra $5 puts it into the $350-$400 price bracket, generating less interest) however the market will tell you within a week if this price is too high.

My husband does go to the property once every couple of months to cut back the shrubs. We feel this works best IMO

See how you go.

Good luck!