Unmaintained berms in Tauranga have prompted more than 100 complaints to the council in the past five years.
And messy, unattractive berms will affect property values in a competitive market, says a real estate director.
Information released to the Bay of Plenty Times under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act showed there were 110 complaints regarding berm maintenance between 2016 and 2020.
The complaints centred around a lack of action, inappropriate or unsatisfactory action, dissatisfaction with the ongoing service provided or with policies/procedures, and complaints about an individual contractor.
The council had received 2111 requests in relation to berm maintenance, which included those complaints.
Simon Anderson, managing director of Realty Group Limited, which operates Eves and Bayleys, said any buyer looking at a property was also going to look around the area.
"So if there's anything that stands out to them, [it] will obviously impact their desire to own that property."
He said the location was typically what people looked for when people were buying property.
"And location takes into effect surrounding neighbours and how their properties present as well," he said.
However, in the current market, Anderson said unmaintained berms were "not so bad" because there was a shortage of stock.
"But when the stock levels increase again, the presentation becomes more important. This is not the presentation of the property itself but the surrounding area."
Anderson said if you drove down a street and there was rubbish on the road, it made you feel "not as positive" about an area compared to one where the lawns were nicely mowed and the trees were trimmed.
"If you're competing against three other properties on the market, you're going to be more positive about that property than those other ones. Therefore, you're effectively going to pay more for that property because you like the area."
Managing director of Tremains Bay of Plenty Anton Jones said he had heard of people mowing their neighbour's berm if they were selling their house.
"It's often a good idea to keep it good and tidy."
Jones said unmaintained berms had never been "a major issue" for them.
"But I guess it does have the potential to affect the saleability of a property," he said.
Jones said presentation and first impressions were "very important" and unmaintained berms could affect people's opinion of the property.
"Some people might not look at it ... you might get just one or two instead of a few.
"Whether it drives the value down a lot, I don't know," he said.
Chief executive of REINZ Jen Baird said: "First impressions count, so when placing your property on the market you are going to want to ensure it is presented at its best.
"A well-presented property will generate more interest and make it more inviting to buyers," she said.
The Tauranga City Council, like many other councils, asked residents to maintain the berm outside their properties.
The council would mow berms, but only as part of the mowing programme after the grass reached 300mm in length and when the contractor was scheduled to be in the area.
However, in Whakatāne, information released by the district council under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act had prompted the council to take action by starting to mow that section of road.
Other action taken by the council in response to berm complaints included levelling the berm and reseeding it with grass, a council contractor tidying the berm and a customer being advised their residence was not part of the mowing schedule.
The most common reason for berm complaints in Whakatāne in the past five years was berms had been overlooked and were overgrown.