Caring for trees – job for the landlord or the tenant?

There are no laws that specifically mention landlord’s or tenant’s responsibilities for trees and it is usually dependent on the Tenancy Agreement to decide. Trees are technically part of the ‘property’ the tenant is renting.

For a range of reasons ‘generally’ tenants are not good at maintaining gardens. The idea of sitting on a groomed lawn with a glass of Pimms is much more appealing than being on your hands and knees tearing up Japanese knot-weed.

I would say if a landlord is particular about their garden or have some shrubs or bushes that would benefit from specialist care I recommend that they offer the services of a gardener on an occasional basis for those shrubs that need it. Equally the same rule applies to trees. However trees differ from shrubs in that they are more likely to require specialist access (e.g. platforms/ladders) and the pruning/lopping of branches requires specialist knowledge if the tree is to be preserved and falling branches introduce health and safety issues.  A caring conscientious landlord would probably offer the services of an aboriculturist to take care of the trees though not obliged to. There is a ‘remote’ chance that if a landlord was to insist the tenant ‘lops the offending branch off the tree’ himself and the tenant gets injured, the landlord may face a claim for damages. I am not aware of any cases but just thinking laterally. One possible workaround is to provide the tenant contact details for an aboriculturist and suggest he does not do any pruning himself for safety reasons.

What about your experience of gardens and trees in rental property?

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