Prune trees and shrubs- tenant's responsibility?

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by paguatao, 6th Jul, 2013.

  1. paguatao

    paguatao Member

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    I popped in during our PMs inspection a week ago and noticed that the backyard is looking quite overgrown, trees overhanging the neighbours fence, bushes going bushy.

    I was in a "fixit" mode as I'd organised for some painting to be done, and an electrician to fix the toilet exhaust fan, a light fitting and some light switches.

    Oh and the electrician who I sourced myself from one of those service-quote-places that contact tradies for you, charged me $70 instead of the $130 quoted by the electrician sourced by a previous PM to fix the toilet exhaust.

    Do tradies charge more if they come through a PM (thinking that landlords can't really be bothered to look around or are made of cash?)?

    Anyway so I got some quotes to clean up the backyard and was totally gobsmacked by some of the quotes - $500 - $750. All I want to do is get the trees and bushes pruned.

    The PM said "Garden maintenance is the tenant's responsibility to an extent. If it is shrubs, grass or small trees they are required to maintain it."

    Anyone been in similar situation? Is it going to be a case of - ask them to do it, but ... if they don't, then it looks like I have to pop down there myself one day with some shears and cutters???
     
  2. wylie

    wylie Member

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    We include yard care and mowing in our leases because we know they will be done ;).

    If we didn't, I would expect the tenant to mow the grass but trimming shrubs and small trees is not something I'd expect a tenant to look after.
     
  3. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Member

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    General rule of thumb - If it requires more than a chair/step ladder to reach it's the landlord's responsibility.

    $500-$750 does sound a little high, but it depends on the type of trees, how many and size of bushes.

    I'd suggest getting the PM to notify tenant that they need to clean up the bushes/shrubs and re-inspect, though if you want to keep them nice a gardener is a good option as some tenants can mean well, but cut too them too short and kill them - or they just look awful. If you are at the right time in your lease, you can build this into the agreement with a rental increase.

    Ensure you maintain the trees surrounding as they can damage fences, guttering and power lines.
     
  4. jenni_nextplace

    jenni_nextplace Member

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    It really hard to find tenants who will maintain a garden, wylie's suggestion is the way to go. We do the same for pool maintenance. (if your tradie is any good they keep an eye on the place for you as well, LOL).

    Gutters, trees, and light bulbs are all in the same boat. Its a grey area that nobody wants to write law on which they should.

    If they can't reach it from ground level then I wouldn't suggest you ask them to do it. If they fall off a ladder and hurt themselves they can make a claim. Seeing we are becoming a society of opportunists its not worth the risk.

    Yes you are right though gardeners can be expensive. Try to find an old retiree wanting some extra cash. Reliable and cheap.
     
  5. geoffw

    geoffw Untitled

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    I had a prune tree once. At least they said it was, but it only produced plums.
     
  6. D.T.

    D.T. Property Lookerafterer

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    So it was all male fruits then?
     
  7. underdev

    underdev Member

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    You mention not letting your tenant do the gardening as they may hurt themselves but the suggest to hire some old codger and pay him cash!!!!:eek:

    Do you realise that the retiree taking cash is uninsured and partaking in an illegal business? If he falls off the ladder and breaks every bone is his body YOU could be held liable as the property owner. DO NOT let uninsured traides onto your property.
     
    wylie likes this.
  8. Sez

    Sez Member

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    I agree with anything above standing height could lead to a claim because 'the landlord told me to do it', they fall off the ladder and can't work for 12 weeks - you're paying to have them in the house...... not at all a desirable situation!

    I recommend a tradie, but, try a handyman or someone through the agency that looks after the property. If they have built good relationships then you should get a reasonable price and agents should be making sure that their trades all have sufficient insurance so if they fall off a ladder - you're fine!
     
  9. chrispy

    chrispy Member

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    After a run of tenants leaving with overgrown gardens I now have the gardener look after each of them. He mows the grass and prunes and takes away branches etc., it is well worth the expense, makes it so much quicker and easier when the tenant leaves.

    I also have someone go in and clean out the gutters every 3 months or so and pay to have the gas heaters and airconditioners an annual maintenance.

    Chris
     
  10. Sez

    Sez Member

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    You're a dream landlord!!!! :D
     
  11. chrispy

    chrispy Member

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    Sez

    That's what my agent said ... they sent me The Landlord of the Year Award one year :)

    I just do what helps me in the long term ... this is my income, I live off the rents so need to keep the properties in good condition

    Chris
     
  12. geoffw

    geoffw Untitled

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    I have one property which has been well looked after, so I don't need a gardener.

    Another property was being neglected. I pay for a gardener to look after that property. The rent includes some extra for the gardening.

    At one stage,a tenant complained about the rent level. We gave them the option of doing garden work themselves in return for a reduction in rent- they refused.
     
  13. Sez

    Sez Member

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    Tenants can be so bizarre..... and I am one! I don't like to do gardening myself....... so I pay someone! :D
     
  14. slumpMunkey

    slumpMunkey Member

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    The first thing i do to my properties is chain all the plants and bushes to the back of my ute and yank them out the ground then order 2m of concrete to replace them.
     
  15. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Member

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    Exactly what I was thinking!

    Then again, I've met Chrispy and it doesn't surprise me! How goes the travels?
     
  16. chrispy

    chrispy Member

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    Thanks Lil .... travelling is going well, still going overseas 4 times a year and twice to Cairns. Having trouble fitting everything in as I have now bought a holiday house as well, so need to get down there. Its not very old but I am painting the bedroom walls so they are fresh and clean. The trouble is my son comes down and we go off taking the dogs down the beach and walking, so not a lot gets done :)

    I had an amazing surprise this week, one of my tenants moved out after 3 years. I went to check it out and it is in better condition than when she went in. It was in great condition when she went in but there were a couple of marks on one of the ceilings, plus that house had flooded, I had put new carpet through but was sure there would be marks from the flood, but no she had washed every single wall, plus had the new carpet steam cleaned and had made sure the vacuuming marks all went the same way. The blinds were all at exactly the same width apart, in every single room. The oven was amazing, you could put your makeup on using the chrome inside the oven!!!!!

    She had not liked my old hills hoist so had put in a new hills wall mounted clothes line and left it.

    A real shame to lose this one. I went straight to the Agent to say how absolutely thrilled I was.

    Chris
     
  17. Lil Skater

    Lil Skater Member

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    Congrats on the house! Painting can wait, enjoy the dog walks :)

    Shame about the tenant though, hopefully you'll be awarded with another great one!!

    Better stop hijacking the thread now :eek: