Allowing a garden to grow wild cuts a property’s value and there’s evidence that Britain’s gardens are being neglected and uncared for, as a result of the growth in the rental market. In general, tenants don’t take the same care over their gardens as do home owners.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has highlighted the problem saying that the buy-to-let boom across Britain’s cities is leading to a growing number of gardens being neglected by tenants, “who feel they have no stake in their properties”.
A survey by the RHS charity found that one-in-three front gardens have no plants growing in them at all, and three times as many have been paved over compared with ten years ago.
The RSH warning came ahead of the opening of the Chelsea Flower Show, where the best of British garden design is showcased and where the public will be encouraged to copy the best and most innovative techniques.
Sue Biggs, the RHS director general, told the Daily Telegraph: “…gardens in rental properties are generally not as well looked after as those where homes are owned by their occupants”.
She said this was as a result of “…neither tenant nor landlord wanting to invest in keeping the property’s garden as attractive as it could be, There is a crisis in our front gardens and one of the major strands in it is the growth in rental properties.”
Research carried out by the RHS has found that twenty-somethings tend to became interested in gardening only after they have purchased their first property. They also blamed the trend for landlords to concrete or pave over gardens to reduce the risk that the tenant will simply let it run wild.
“Gardens are good for our towns and cities. This reduction of plants in front gardens and increase in grey is harmful for wildlife reducing their homes and food sources,” said Ms Biggs.
“It is also damaging for the nation’s health linked to increasing pollution and increasing temperatures during heat waves and puts our homes at more risk from flooding.”
But landlords say that their tenants are more often than not, not interested in maintaining a garden, even when they have been provided with the correct tools.
David Lawrenson, a landlord with multiple properties, told the Financial Times:
“There is less ownership of the garden and less desire to look after it.”
Tenancy agreements usually to stipulate that tenants must hand back the property in the state they found it in, or lose their deposit. However this rarely covers the precise level of care or quality needed to properly maintain a garden. Some landlords build the cost of professional garden maintenance into the rent amount, but this may not always be acceptable to the tenant.