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Department of Human Services

Horticulture policy

Responsibility for maintaining garden areas at South Australian Housing Trust (SAHT) properties depends on the type of property, and the lease agreement.

Tenant responsibilities

The tenant is the person who signed the lease agreement, also known as the Conditions of Tenancy, with Housing SA.

Tenants are responsible for general garden maintenance, except for common areas at group sites. Tenants living in cottage flats are responsible for the area immediately behind their cottage flat.

General garden maintenance includes but isn’t limited to:

  • mowing the lawn
  • weeding
  • watering
  • disposal of green waste in council bins, where available
  • aesthetic or seasonal pruning.

Tenants can get garden advice from Housing SA, including:

  • caring for existing trees or vegetation on the site
  • advice on proposed plantings or garden beds.

Tenants are responsible for:

  • keeping the garden, common areas and grounds clean and in good condition - eg removing rubbish
  • getting Housing SA’s approval to make structural changes in line with the Tenant alterations procedures - eg erecting a tool shed, installing a rain water tank
  • allowing Housing SA access- eg to carry out maintenance, for inspection
  • leaving the garden in a reasonable condition when their tenancy ends.

Tenants can’t:

  • grow vegetation in areas where it damages buildings, drains, paving or fencing
  • allow water to damage building footings
  • remove or sell trees or plants in garden areas without Housing SA’s permission
  • damage any trees or plants growing in garden areas.

Housing SA may help tenants establish a low maintenance rear gardens at a cottage flat after an assessment.

Housing SA responsibilities

Housing SA will:

  • make sure the garden areas are clean and tidy when the tenant moves into the property
  • maintain common garden areas at group sites.

Where Housing SA’s responsible for maintaining garden areas, the work:

  • is carried out by appropriately qualified professionals
  • meets all necessary regulations and standards - eg building codes, technical specifications, Maintenance accommodation standards
  • is carried out with minimum disruption to tenants.

Housing SA only removes or prunes trees or shrubs if either:

  • they’re dead
  • they pose a danger to people or property
  • Housing SA assesses that they require pruning or removal.

Housing SA won’t approve pruning or removal of trees or shrubs to allow for solar panels to be installed or operated.

Housing SA manages vegetation in line with relevant legal requirements as set out in:

New gardens and upgrades

Housing SA landscapes front yards of newly built properties and common areas in line with the South Australian Housing Trust Minimum design and construction specification for class 1 buildings. Tenants are responsible for establishing the rear garden in new properties.

Housing SA installs irrigation in gardens of newly built properties. The tenant is responsible for irrigating the garden while it’s getting established.

Housing SA assesses whether a common area of a group site requires an upgrade. Upgrades are considered for common garden areas if they would improve the amenity of the site, or remediate damage caused by renovations or construction.

Related information

Controlling documents

This policy’s based on and complies with:

Supporting procedures

  • Horticultural procedures v7

Related policies and other documents

Date this policy applies from

12 February 2019

Version number


The online version of the policy’s the approved and current version. There’s no guarantee any printed copies are current.

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Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
20 Jun 2019
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