I have lived in my rented house for 2 years. The landlord has just told me that I need to trim the boundry hedge to the height and depth that it was when we moved in. This is the first time this has ever been mentioned. the hedge is about 12ft high and 30ft long.
There is also a 15ft Sycamore in the garden which he said he would prune. However, he now says that as we are disputing that we are responsible for the hedge, we need to do that too.
Our contract says:
"Keep the garden and grounds properly cultivated according to the season and free from weeds, in a neat and tidy condition with the lawns regularly mown and edged, and shrubs and trees pruned but not alter the character or layout of the garden or grounds. The only exception to this obligation is if the Landlord includes a gardener within the rent, in which cases the specific parts of the gardening will be confirmed in writing to clarify this inclusion and waiver of the obligation".
I would like to know if I am contractually obliged to trim this very high boundry hedge. My landlord says that if I don't, then he will get his gardener to do it and will take the money out of my deposit (plus admin fees and interest) when we move out. Our deposit is protected under the deposit protection scheme and associated arbitration process so clearly he cannot just do that.
However, I would like to know if you think we are responsible for this hedge under the terms of our contract before deciding what to do. He says he has a video of what the hedge was like when we moved in. but we have never seen this and can't comment on whether this was taken at the time we moved in, or made to seem like it was.
What about a test of reasonableness? Particularly as it does not even mention the hedge in the contract. A hedge is not a shrub or tree and if he needs it maintained at a certain height, then it should state this specifically surely?