It sounds like a great idea. As a lessor, you want your investment property well maintained. But sometimes, even the best-intentioned tenants let you down. Subsequently, many lessors have made the mistake of arranging a gardener to take care of the yard of their property and passed on the bill to their tenants.

A simple solution, right? Perhaps, but in Queensland, it likely constitutes a breach of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation (RTRA) Act 2008.

Let’s take a look at section 171 of the RTRA

Requiring the tenant to agree to “buy” the service of gardening is a breach of the Act. And it’s seen as a very serious breach of the Act with a maximum penalty of 20 penalty units.

The solution?

In this case, it’s an easy one. As a lessor, you absolutely can arrange for regular gardening and lawn maintenance at your property. To ensure you don’t fall foul of section 171 you should make an allowance for the cost in your proposed weekly rent, rather than pass the cost directly to the tenant. Over a 12 month period, a lawn is mowed on average 21 times. A $20 rental premium could off-set the cost of hiring a professional. It’s one less job for a tenant and one less headache for the lessor.

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