Garden Repairs - Claim on Deposit

I have experience of a tenant who damaged our garden. They turned a green lawn into mud. The lawn now needs to be re turfed.

I want to make a claim on the deposit to make the repairs (including the cost of regular visits to the garden to water the turf) but have been informed that this will be viewed as “betterment”.

Is there anyone on the forum who can advise how I can avoid these repairs to the garden as being considered as “betterment” so that I can make a claim on the deposit to have these repairs carried out.

BTW the tenant has since moved out and our current tenant will want to use the garden this summer. So it’s only matter of time before I receive tenants complaints on the lack of viable green garden space.

I’m not sure why this is “betterment” if it is a straightforward repair job to restore the garden to what it was at the start of the tenancy? If you have a quote for the repair work, and an inventory report clearly showing the state of the garden at the start of tenancy vs end, then just submit the claim to the deposit scheme and let them handle it.

Also, if you’re worried about current tenants complaining about lack of green, there’s no reason you need to wait for the resolution of the claim to start the repair work.

completely new turf will be considered as betterment. you may consider it needs new turf, but why can’t it be e.g. re-seeded? you can see where the scope for disagreement lies. maybe instead of dong something that to some people looks rather drastic, go for the less drastic option of reseeding it which cannot be considered betterment but may cost the same as re-turfing…

The old tenant has suggested they will take this issue to a small claims court. This is because the deposit has not been returned yet, as I need to make a claim on the deposit for the unauthorised removal of property which the tenants acknowledge, dumping of unwanted furniture by the previous tenant and repairs including the repair of the garden.

I have made a claim with full set of costs, before and after pictures I am informed by the agent that the repairs to the garden are considered as “betterment”.

With regards to the current tenant, I have already made a considerable investment in property repairs, redecoration and clean up from my own pocket, so I need the deposit from the previous tenancy agreement to pay for the repairs to the garden.

I have considered reseeding. However there are two problems here.

  1. I would need to send a person in every day to keep it watered and well fed in order for the seed to take hold and grow back to its previous density.

  2. The current tenant would be required to grant access to the garden routinely and this presents a conflict to their right to privacy and quiet enjoyment of the property.

So laying down a pre grown turf would require fewer visits and produce results quicker.

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Important note! If you are filing a claim against the tenant I strongly advise you to send a copy of the original tenancy agreement to the deposit company that should have a clause clearly stating that “the tenant is responsible for the upkeep of the garden areas maintained to the original condition at commencement . You should also submit printed photo images taken at the start and finish.
If your tenant fails to contest the claim then no problem however, if they do then without submitting the agreement and the evidence you will lose


Reseeding is a pain in the backside. It requires watering daily for weeks. This is far more involving than attending for one day only and returfing.

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Thanks for the guidance Geoff.

I am not convinced that a new lawn would be betterment. If the deposit schemes say it is, then I have no idea how you would work out the degree of betterment. If I were in this situation I would just make the full claim and be prepared to debate with the scheme any reduction they propose. I’m assuming the tenants have left?

A timed automated sprinkler can do the job. Still need checking on though.

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