Lockdown has made many of us rethink our priorities, and some interesting new trends are emerging, including a surge of interest in properties with gardens. According to property portal Rightmove, searches for properties with gardens were up 84% in May, compared to the year before. Clearly lockdown has made more of us value being outdoors, so if you have a property with a garden to let, you’re in a great position – here’s how you can make the most of this new trend.
Promote your garden
Since a garden is now a major selling point for a rental property, make sure the garden is a key part of all your promotion of the property. If you’re listing online, mention the garden in the description and include photos; if you’re filming a video tour or running in-person viewings, make sure you include the garden and point out all the benefits of having an outdoor space.
Of course, if you’re going to promote your garden, it needs to look good, so if yours is looking a little shabby then it’s worth investing some time to get it into good condition. At the very least you should trim back overgrown hedges, mow the lawn and weed and tidy up any flowerbeds. It doesn’t have to be a landscaping masterpiece, but it should look neat and welcoming – somewhere your tenants will want to take care of and spend time in.
Understand your responsibilities
As with all aspects of renting out a property, it needs to be clear, upfront and in writing, who is responsible for doing what. In most cases, tenants can be expected to stay on top of basic garden maintenance – picking up litter, mowing the lawn, getting rid of weeds – but they can’t be expected to do specialist jobs, and it would be unfair to ask them to take care of a big, elaborate garden. Landlords are usually responsible for trees (pruning, etc), and if you want your tenants to do basic garden work then you should provide them with tools.
Ultimately the garden is like the property: both you and the tenant should clarify your responsibilities beforehand and include this in your rental contract, along with photos of the garden at the start of the tenancy. Remember, the tenant is only responsible for returning the garden in the state it was found in, so it’s worth your while to make it look neat and tidy at the start. If your tenants damage or neglect your garden, you can use part of their deposit to fix it, and you should include the garden in your property inspections and on your buildings insurance policy.
Know what tenants want
The best way to get tenants to look after a garden is to make it a pleasant place to be and simple to maintain. For the most part, tenants don’t want a complicated, time-consuming garden – they just want an outdoor space they can sit in, and maybe somewhere to host a party or a barbecue. So stick to the basics: have a lawn and a patio or deck, and if you’re going to include plants, make sure they’re easy to look after and give your tenants clear instructions about how to do this. To make your garden even more appealing to prospective tenants, you could include some extras, like garden furniture or even a barbecue!
Do you have a property to let in Bristol? Contact Gough Quarters today to find out how we can help.
Cover photo by Evan Dvorkin on Unsplash.