Lawns ruined and tenant is refusing to pay?

Lawns ruined and tenant is refusing to pay?

11:29 AM, 20th August 2015, About 9 years ago 29

Text Size

My tenant has been in two years and in that time has totally neglected the two small lawns at the back of the house to the extent where they need completely re-turfing. One is literally all moss and the other just dandelions.lawn

They were always weed prone lawns and were not by any means weed free when she took the tenancy, but as I say, they are now ruined. I now want to sell the house and when I told her, she then mentioned the lawn. She was planning to have the back section re-turfed or reseeded and had had a quote but is saying she won’t pay for it now, because I am selling soon and she doesn’t see why she should pay for me to have a better lawn than she took over just so I could get a good price.

I have told her that the upkeep of the garden is her responsibility and it’s in her contract, but she claims it was really bad to start with. I wish I’d taken photos! She has offered to make a contribution however.

On inspecting the interior, I noticed two holes in the stair carpet which clearly had been caused by her cat. She is not disputing those but wants to get her own carpet quotes.

Foolishly I only took the basic months rent deposit of £650 even though I was allowing the cat and if push comes to shove, this won’t cover the carpet and the lawns. She has said she will fight me if I try to retain her deposit for the lawns even though I never even mentioned taking it out of her deposit.

I wish I had insisted during previous visits that she made more effort with the garden as I suspected she wasn’t touching it but I’ve not been for a year or so (again stupid of me) and had no idea it had got this bad. I had had conversations along the lines of, why don’t you get a company to come and do a ‘feed and weed like I used to do when I lived here and yes, you do need to try to keep on top of the mowing. She didn’t have a mower at all at first. The lawn and borders are on the inventory on one line and again, stupidly, I allowed her to write ‘overgrown’.

Presumably because the borders were not very neat and had a few weeds in them. The lawns were cut and neat and tidy though. I’m concerned she will use this to try to say they were already in is state. I told her she should have told me earlier but she said she didn’t want to bother me. Any problems she has had though, I have dealt with in a prompt and friendly way so I don’t know why she would say that. Reading back over this, I sound really foolish.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


Share This Article


Emma Pattwell

20:03 PM, 20th August 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "20/08/2015 - 14:18":

Cheers Luke. Chewing it over with my husband this eve and come to pretty much the same conclusion. As long as it doesn't take too long to sell will be alright! I'd appreciate your opinion on the question of whether to serve her notice now or wait till I get a buyer..

Teg's Dad

21:41 PM, 20th August 2015, About 9 years ago

I am going to disagree with those who say landlords must provide a lawnmower if you want tenants to maintain the lawn.

Following the logic of that argument, all landlords should provide a vacuum cleaner, a can of Pledge* and a duster so that tenants can vacuum the carpet and polish everything else!

*other polishes are available.

Luke P

22:14 PM, 20th August 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Teg's Dad" at "20/08/2015 - 21:41":

I can tell you regardless of the logic, lack of a provided lawnmower WILL stand up should a tenant use it as a defence.

Logic has no place in being a landlord. Hence why I'm now looking to off-load the troubles of my 350+ tenants.

brian clement

0:56 AM, 21st August 2015, About 9 years ago

Your problem is not with the garden, the carpet, the viewings or the deposit. Your problem is trying to sell your house smelling of cat urine. This is the problem you should concentrate on. Tell her to get rid of the cat or face eviction. Then get the carpets cleaned. Tell her if she keeps the house and garden clean and tidy and helps with viewings you will return her deposit in full. If you don't back down you won't sell your house. Good luck.

Luke P

10:33 AM, 21st August 2015, About 9 years ago

You do realise that if you leave her in there and you aren't selling the house tenanted (i.e. with vacant possession) and then serve her notice once you have agreed a sale and she decides to dig her heels in, even once a Judge has granted possession, you could be in for a 3 to 6-month wait before bailiffs finally kick her out?

Emma Pattwell

10:39 AM, 21st August 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "21/08/2015 - 10:33":

Yes, but I don't think she would do that. She's a vet at a local vet hospital. She couldn't risk anything like that against her name. She is very savvy and from her emails has had legal advice.

Emma Pattwell

10:42 AM, 21st August 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "brian clement" at "21/08/2015 - 00:56":

My mum said the same. She's the estate agent that would be selling it. She won't lose the cat so am increasingly thinking I'll have to serve notice now. She's brubg uncooperative about seeding the lawn saying if we do it now she might not water it etc and if we go round and do it she wants exact times etc

Luke P

10:58 AM, 21st August 2015, About 9 years ago

Even Councils (who you would expect to follow the rule of law) openly advise tenants (as do CAB) to sit-put. You need to accept that you are now, at this very moment, already incurring costs. Whether that is loss of rent whilst selling (because you've served her Notice and got rid) or the further damage she may do by leaving her in there.

She also does not have to allow viewings. After all, what would you do about it if she refused access...kick her out?

Personally I would get rid now, stomach the loss of rent and have full control. Either way, it'll be a bumpy ride.

Teg's Dad

11:10 AM, 21st August 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "21/08/2015 - 10:58":

Spot on Luke!

Some Councils even advise tenants that if they leave BEFORE they are evicted, they will be considered to have "intentionally made themselves homeless" Then they wonder why Landlords and Agents want nothing to do with benefit tenants.

Michael Barnes

11:13 AM, 21st August 2015, About 9 years ago

I work on carpets in a let property having a life time of 5 years.
If they need replacing before then because of tenant action, then I charge the tenant proportionately.
If the cat has peed on carpets, then they will also need replacing (along with the underlay).

Regarding the lawns, I would suggest that you initially get a couple of quotes for someone to re-turf them, and if it is reasonable, then tell potential buyers that the lawns will be returfed once a sale is agreed. Meanwhile, go over with a lawn mower and weed-and-feed to (hopefully) make it look a bit better.

Having been a tenant, a landlord and a home owner, I can say that lawns generally are high maintenance items, and most tenants don't feel the cost reflects the benefits.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now