Dubbo real estate agents are mindful of drought conditions and water restrictions but are still asking tenants to water lawns and maintain the gardens of rental properties.
Several renters in Dubbo have complained to the Daily Liberal that real estate agents are "forcing" them to water lawns and defy water restrictions.
But REINSW Orana Division Secretary Shayna Chapman said that was not true and real estate agents are treating each tenant on a case by case basis.
One Dubbo tenant said she was told to keep her lawns green or face losing a rental bond.
Another said she was trying to be water efficient but was told her lawn was not green enough and to keep watering it every second day.
Mrs Chapman said a clause in the Residential Tenancy Agreement referring to lawns and gardens allows for a "common sense" approach to lawn and garden maintenance.
The clause states tenants must regularly mow lawns and keep the grounds and gardens tidy and free of weeds and rubbish, fair wear and tear excepted.
"Any managing agent on behalf of an owner can only ask a tenant to comply with the terms of the Residential Tenancy Agreement," she said.
"Watering of lawns and gardens would be necessary to maintain the condition of the premises. The exact definition of 'wear and tear' is not specific and climate conditions along with Council water restrictions would be taken into consideration at the end of a tenancy when assessing the condition of the lawn and gardens.
"It is important that a common-sense approach is applied and each property should be assessed on an individual basis depending on the condition of when the tenancy commenced, the seasonal circumstances during the tenancy, property inclusions such as irrigation systems, size of the yard and user-pay water arrangements."
Dubbo real estate agent Matt Hansen agreed with Mrs Chapman and said he "feels for all homeowners and tenants who are battling in not only Dubbo but in many drought-affected centres across NSW to keep their lawns and gardens alive."
"The current water restrictions are likely to be reviewed again shortly, and advice from the council may change watering expectations for Dubbo tenants and homeowners at that point," he said.
"The current level two water restrictions involve an odds and evens system under which watering of gardens and lawns is permitted between set times.
"This means that tenants should not just abandon all hope at this stage, and walk away from their responsibility to maintain the property.
"Watering should still be done under the guidelines of any restrictions advised by Dubbo Regional Council."
HAVE YOUR SAY.