Who deals with deck lichen?

Question from Ernest updated on 14th May 2013:

My tenant reports that the wooden deck is slippery because of the dampness and growth of lichen etc. Is it the landlord or the tenants responsibility to deal with this? The initial tenancy agreement was set up by a management company but I have taken it over?

Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:

A few questions arise here. You haven’t said what the deck was like when the tenancy started. How long has the tenant been living in the property? What is mentioned in the tenancy agreement? A tenant is required to keep the property “reasonably clean and tidy”, but they are not required to improve the property for the landlord. It depends on the particular circumstances whether removing lichen and moss from decks and paths is a responsibility of the tenant or the landlord. I suggest you ask yourself whether having a safe environment for your tenants is going to keep them happy and reduce the chances of them moving out. It may be in your interest to have the lichen treated and make the decks safer.

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