Lawnmowers – do landlords have to provide them?

Lawnmowers – do landlords have to provide them?

10:14 AM, 2nd July 2012, About 9 years ago 25

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“I need to use grass cutting machine” said my Polish tenant when he called me one Saturday afternoon. You mean a lawnmower I said, don’t you have one?

“My friend say that you must provide” he replied.

Was he right? I’d let the house unfurnished, surely he should buy his own lawnmower? None of my other tenants with gardens had ever asked me to buy them a lawnmower. What a cheek I thought. I told him I’d look into it and to be honest I forgot.

A few months later I drove past the house. I knocked on the door but he wasn’t in. You can guess why I knocked on the door can’t you? Yep, the garden was a jungle. The lady from next door recognised me from the time she’d seen me at the show home picking out the kitchen. She wasn’t impressed either. Your tenants are de-valuing my home she said, I hate you bloody landlords, there’s six people renting the house next door and they are party animals. I paid good money for my house ………….. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH ……….. the rant went on for some time.

This was my first experience of anti landlord behaviour and to be fair, she had a point. What I’d not taken into account is that one of the areas I’d bought into had become an “investment ghetto”. I’d chosen to invest there on the basis that a mobile phone repair company had moved to the area and was taking on hundreds of Polish and Lithuanian immigrants. They didn’t mind house sharing at all and by letting to them individually I could make good returns. The trouble was, I wasn’t the only property investor to have come to this conclusion and all the Polish and Lithuanian people wanted to live together and form a community, who could blame them for that?

About the lawnmower requirement

lawnmower-landlord-tenant-law-grass-cutting

“Landlords are obliged to provide lawnmowers if tenants are required to cut grass”

Anyhow, I took advice (it was a long time ago so I don’t recall whether it was from a landlords association or a solicitor) and I was advised that I was obliged to get the lawns cut or provide said “grass cutting machine” if I wanted the tenants to do it. UPDATE – (Friday 13th July 2012 – typical!) that’s not the final word on this matter – please see the readers comments below. So off I trot to Homebase and buy 11 lawnmowers (one for each property with a garden), not thinking how I might get them all in the car. I was pretty chuffed though, just think of all those Nectar points 🙂

I hired a van and the problem was sorted, or so I thought!

Being such a nice chap I even offered to cut the grass and tidy up the garden to placate the angry lady next door. What a crap idea that was, it was back breaking work (remember I spend most of my day at a desk or in the car) and despite chocolates and flowers for the angry lady I’m still no better off. I should have hired a gardener!

I really don’t know what happened to the lady next door but I did hear about a lot of repossessions in that area. Parking became a major issue for a long time too. I didn’t buy those repossessions, perhaps I should have done, but to be honest I felt guilty.

Lesson learned – avoid property investment ghettos

What I had learned about providing tenants with a lawnmower paled into insignificance really. I was very quickly going off the idea of buying new build properties and I wanted to change the demographic of my tenants. I started to think about 25 years down the line when the mortgages came to an end and my generation would all want to sell up their property investments and retire. Who would buy them, who would rent them? It was this experience which persuaded me to change my strategy, suburban bungalows were the way to go. Older people would rent them, they would stay longer, they are of a generation that takes care of things, other landlords were not targeting their demographic. I also realised that they all had pets and landlords don’t like pet owners do they? I’d found my little niche for the future 🙂



Comments

by Tessa Shepperson

14:57 PM, 12th July 2012, About 9 years ago

Section 11 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 only really covers the landlords statutory repairing covenants and the landlords inability to contract out of them :
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1985/70/crossheading/repairing-obligations

Anything else is really up for negotiation between the parties. So far as I am aware it does not specifically say in any act of Parliament or regulation, that lawn mowers MUST be provided if the landlord wants the tenant to maintain the garden. Statutes generally do not go into this degree of detail or they would be even more impossibly long than they are now.

It is possible that the Office of Fair trading may consider a clause requiring the tenant to mow the lawn to be 'unfair' but I don't remember seeing anything about this last time I looked at their guidance (although it is not an easy document).

I am inclined to think it is up to the tenant to spot that they are down to do the garden and to ask for tools to be provided before they commit themselves and sign the tenancy. I am happy to be corrected on this though.

My own view is that landlords should provide gardening tools if they want the tenant to maintain the garden but that is just a private opinion, its not law.

by Mark Alexander

16:17 PM, 12th July 2012, About 9 years ago

Based on the last few comments I'm beginning to wonder whether I've been a sucker for an urban myth. I have read the entire Landlords and Tenants Act this afternoon and unless I've fallen into a a trance at some point and missed it I don't recall seeing any laws to say that a landlord is compelled by law to provide gardening equipment. However, if this is an urban myth, it's a belief which is very commonly held. Just try a Google Search for "landlords and tenant law lawnmower" and you will see what I mean. I don't have any written advice from when I took it all those years ago which is a shame. As Tessa has said, it may have been Trading Standards that have made a ruling or perhaps a piece of case law that was quoted to be. On the other hand, I may simply have been advised badly.

by Antony Richards

20:05 PM, 12th July 2012, About 9 years ago

Mark, I have checked LTA 1985, 1987 plus Housing Act 1988. No mention whatsoever of it being a legal requirement to provide a lawn mower

by

23:41 PM, 12th July 2012, About 9 years ago

Surely all tenants are supposed to behave in a 'tenant like manner'.
If they take on a garden then they surely shouldn't expect to be provided with all mops etc to clean the house
It is part of the tenant's responsibilities to look after the whole property.
This includes weeding the garden, cutting grass etc.
Cleaning windows, inside and out.
If one rents a place furnished though there could be an argument for provision of such equipment though not the consumable items .
But of course the lawn mower type should be one which if it cuts a cable or runs over a foot there will be no damage to a tenant.
Can you imagine what claims a tenant might make in the event of an accident involving the mower.

by Mark Alexander

7:41 AM, 13th July 2012, About 9 years ago

Does anybody want to buy 11 well used lawnmowers? LOL

by

8:04 AM, 13th July 2012, About 9 years ago

My own understanding is there is no legal requirement to provide a lawn mower, vacuum cleaner, mob, brush, bucket, sponge or duster for a property, whether furnished or not.

The key to this is that the tenants are required (as suggested already) to maintain the property in a tenant like manner together with any other obligations detailed in the agreement. How they do that is up to them, but making it easier for them to do so is probably a good idea. If the tenants don't own a vacuum cleaner then it's unlikely that the floors will get vacuumed!

However, a healthy dose of realism is required. It is far more reasonable to expect a tenant to provide their own basic cleaning materials for a property than it is to expect them to spend a considerable amount on a lawnmower that will get relatively little use (especially during this present summer!). If they don't have a lawnmower, then it is more likely that the grass will become overgrown, perhaps getting minimal attention.

If, as a landlord, you would like the tenants to look after the property as you would expect them to, then making it easier for them to do so is likely to result in a positive result as there are no "Excuses". Not having a lawnmower is a fairly understandable reason for not cutting the grass often, although I would still expect tenants of mine to arrange for a gardener to maintain the garden at reasonable intervals.

by Mary Latham

13:37 PM, 13th July 2012, About 9 years ago

Putting the legal requirement to one side for a moment. As a landlord I want my tenant to
1. Take care of my property
2.Be respectful to the neighbours
3. Pay the rent on time and in full
4.Pay their bills in on time and in full
5. Stay forever
I provide both lawn mowers and vacs (little Henry) at all of my unfurnished properties and these items are listed on the inventory as being provided with Manufacturers In Use and Safety Instructions. I have them PAT tested annually or at the turn of the tenancy.
My intention is to enable my tenants to take care of my property, without causing them to go to the expense of buying expensive equipment. In the event that the carpets are not handed back clean or the lawn has not been cut I have a good case for withholding the cost of rectifying these problems from the tenants deposit. An Arbiter would be hard pushed to say that I was being unreasonable and the tenant would have no arguement. During the tenancy, if I become aware that the equipment is not being used to keep the property in good order, I remind the tenant that I have provided the equipment and that the AST requires them to keep the property in good order. I give them the contact details of a cleaning company and a gardening service and ask them to use these services if they haven't the time to do the work themselves. I keep a copy of these emails in case I need them in a deposit dispute - I have never had a dispute nor have I ever had to stop money from a deposit to cut grass or clean carpets.
After 40 years of letting to many, many tenants I know one thing for certain.
"Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.” and women!

by

14:17 PM, 13th July 2012, About 9 years ago

Whilst it is not a legal requirement to provide a lawnmower,
or a vacuum cleaner for that matter, it is a
good idea if you would like your tenants to keep the property and the garden in
a clean, tidy condition.

If you do choose to provide these items, the house becomes
part-furnished so be sure to provide and inventory detailing the condition of
each item provided and ask your tenants to sign this to confirm agreement. This
will help resolve any disagreement about landlord’s
property at the end of the tenancy. Also remember to look at what tax
implications may result from providing such items.

by

21:31 PM, 25th July 2012, About 9 years ago

On lawnmowers, I only have one property with a lawn and I provide everything in the shed to keep it neat and tidy but, even with the most fastideous of tenents, I do appreciate it will probably never grace the cover of a gardening magazine!
However, regarding vacuum cleaners, I learnt a very valuable lesson with my first ever tenant when I was extremely green and nieve. I provided all sorts of items which (stupidly!) I thought would make the little house feel more homely, plants, pictures, lots of cutlery, crockery etc. He was there a year and I never had a full months rent as the minute something 'broke', he wanted it replaced! After a prolonged battle to remove him, I found the original vacuum cleaner in the shed while he had taken the new one! Strangely enough, when the old one was emptied, it worked!
Now I provide the bare minimum of table, chairs, bed, wardrobe and let the tenant worry about the rest.

by Roy B

19:30 PM, 29th August 2013, About 8 years ago

If you want the tenants to cut the grass you provide the means to do so along with any other gardening tools required to keep the garden trim and tidy. If after this and you have the garden tidy clause in your agreement they will have to pay for it to be tidied up at the end of the tenancy - if necessary out of the deposit. So says my management company. AND I agree with them on this.

 


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