View Full Version : Who should cut the trees at a rental property?

Fay Sheppard
12-07-2005, 14:14 PM
There is a large Willow tree in the back garden, which the Landlord feels the Tenant should prune.

The Tenant feels that it is a major job and is unable phyically to do the work as he is 62, and that he doesn't feel that he should pay for someone to come in and do it.

who is responsible?

12-07-2005, 14:27 PM
Landlord is responsible for this AFAIK

12-07-2005, 14:35 PM
I see this as a case of maintenance or simple gardening. If the tree is causing or likely to cause damage, or injury or is obstructing neighbourhood views or blocking sunlight and complaints to the council have been recieved, then yes, the LL. If its a case of its looking a bit untidy, then the tenant, in much the same way as cutting the grass is.

This is only my opion and someone may state otherwise.

12-07-2005, 16:06 PM
A tenant should act in a tenant-like manner. I believe that includes keeping the garden in a tidy state (you don't have to improve it but at least cut the grass etc.) and therefore I would think the tenant is responsible for pruning the tree if it causes problems as dazalock said.
If it's only a matter of esthetics, I don't think the tenant has to do anything.

12-07-2005, 16:18 PM
Or wouldnt have to do anything at least until he moved out....would have to be done prior to vacating the property though. But if it is just aesthetics then the landlord cannot make him prune it I'm guessing, but could deduct from any deposit.

14-07-2005, 22:36 PM
Normally most AST's will have a clause to say tenants will not "lop or cut down trees" but are required to carry out reasonable maintenance including weeding and cutting of grass and keeping the garden tidy.

Pruning a Willow tree probably does not constitute this, especially if the branches that need pruning are out of normal reach of the tenant, and the tenant is not required to stand on a step-ladder to do so.

It's the test of reasonableness and I doubt whether this is in fact reasonable to expect a tenant to do this.

Nora Kay
14-07-2005, 23:05 PM
If the landlord has any sense, he will keep a very close eye on the willow tree himself. Most willows respond well to pruning, but some have very invasive roots which can damage foundations of houses, and so should be planted well away from the property.

15-07-2005, 09:25 AM
You might find it a little difficult planting it away from the property, that is if you can dig it up first! Tee hee! :D

Nora Kay
15-07-2005, 20:58 PM
OK PaulF - a touch of cart before the 'orse on my part :eek: - but all is not lost if the tree is too big to move. You can trim it back really hard and keep it small, then the roots will cease to wander too far afield. It will spoil the look of the willow though, which needs wide open spaces to look its best .
Ooops I thought this was Gardeners World .........

Tax Accountant
15-07-2005, 21:09 PM
I agree with Paul that it would be unreasonable to expect the tenant to do this. Landlord should attend to this if it is causing any difficulties.


18-07-2005, 23:42 PM
Before planting a tree neat a building you should always get advice from an Arboriculturalist.

Similarly you should always get advice about felling/pruning/maintaining existing trees close to buildings. There is no easy way to advise how you should treat any particular tree without knowing the species, the soil type and some knowledge of the foundations of the building.

There is a very rough guide as to what you might consider "near" in respect of various species here http://www.gardenlaw.co.uk/trees.html do read all the way to the bottom of the page.

Willows can be particularly difficult because they extract large volumes of water from the soil. If the soil is a shrinkable type (such as clay) then planting a new willow (or allowing an existing one to grow significantly) may cause the soil below the foundation to shrink and hence cause the foundation to subside. Equally where you have a willow which has been sited close to a building for many years removing or hard pruning will cause the tree to take less water from the soil, this can result in the soil below the foundation swelling and the foundations/walls being damaged by "heave" Heave being the exact opposite of subsidence.

So assuming the willow is close to the building then you should be very cautious about doing anything without professional advice, but equally if you do nothing and damage ensues you may have committed waste and be liable for the damage. Personally in those circumstances I would bat it back to the landord and ask him to provide specific instructions as to what should be done pointing out the risks involved. If he has any sense he will just get an Arboriculturalist to deal with it.

22-07-2005, 07:56 AM
I appreciate that this topic may now be closed but there are two points worth mentioning.

1. It is very rare that tenants are good or even inclined to be good gardeners. It is for this reason, as Paul points out, that most ASTs exlude trees from forming part of a garden's maintenance. If you wish your tree to live or to still resemble a tree I suggest you look after it.

2. We all know the joys of Health & Safety. If you insist that the tenant maintains the tree and while doing such he has a large fall, see if you can guess who will be hearing from solicitors?

22-07-2005, 16:48 PM
If this willow becomes too much of a headache you can make aspirin out of it ...

24-07-2005, 21:37 PM
Or cricket bats. :)