Landlords Didn’t Expect Tenant Would Move Her Garden With Her & Potential Buyers Walk Out

Renting a home or apartment can be nice. It’s relieving to know that you aren’t locked into one location for the rest of your life and have the freedom to move around. The downside, though, is that since this is not a permanent fixture, you need to stay alert and be ready to move at any time. This is what one 25-year-old woman learned during the summer of 2020.
The woman had been renting a house since she was 18 years old. When she first moved in, the backyard was completely barren but was a decent size. She saw this as an opportunity to make her backyard her own “green oasis” and planted a lot of transportable garden beds and other greenery to make the site look absolutely beautiful.

In the springtime of 2020, the woman’s landlords alerted her that they would be selling the place and that she needed to move out in June. It seemed like everything was going well until the landlords realized that she had taken her garden with her. It had been a huge selling point to potential buyers, and they were starting to lose interest in the place.

This has caused a stirrup between the landlords and their previous tenant, as she saw nothing wrong with taking what was technically hers. She left the place exactly how she had found it. However, some of the woman’s friends accused her of messing up a potential sale. Unsure what to do, the woman went to Reddit in June 2020 and asked users for advice on how to handle the situation.

Her Stunning Garden
In her Reddit post, the original poster (OP) talked about how the house she rented had a big backyard with a fence but no lawn; it was just a piece of dirt. During the seven years she lived there, she put up a small garden shed, greenhouse, and pizza oven and planted a vegetable garden. Everything was transportable. “It became the green oasis all my friends gathered at,” OP said.

She continued, “A few months ago, my landlords let me know they were planning to sell, and my final move out day was a week ago.” When she left, she took her garden with her and cleared out the backyard. Nothing had been directly planted in the ground, and nothing was permanent, so it wasn’t too hard of a process.

However, not everyone was happy about this. OP explained:

“My former landlords are furious over this, and demand that I return the backyard to the former state -- apparently they’d listed the house for sale with pictures of the backyard and potential buyers were walking away from the house when they saw the barren backyard. They’re accusing me and stealing their plants, and wrecking their backyard.”

Fortunately, OP had a contract that said she was allowed to plant a garden. She also kept photos from the first walkthrough before she moved in showing how the backyard looked then and proved that it was in the same state now as when she found it. A real estate agent even signed off on her final inspection, and she got her deposit back.

Issues With The Landlords
OP has since received mixed responses about this because she saw the landlords taking pictures of her backyard but didn’t connect the dots about why. However, she still didn’t see the issue because most house photos have furniture shown, but no one expects to get the furniture with the purchase of the house.

Some of her co-workers pointed out that she was wrong because the house valuation had dramatically fallen, and she never told her landlords she was taking her garden, leaving them no time to landscape beforehand. However, Reddit users were on OP’s side and claimed that she did nothing wrong.

One user commented:

“This is a very classic story of landlord trying to benefit off home improvements paid for by the tenant. If your landlord was honest, he would have asked you how much you wanted to leave the garden as it was. You owe him nothing.”

Another user agreed, saying, “Yeah, if OP has the security deposit already the landlord has no leverage, OP should just block their calls after sending a picture of the yard when they moved in.”

A third user pointed out how beneficial OP’s work actually was and said, “If anything OP is still doing them a favor. She showed them how they could spruce up their backyard to look more marketable.” Overall, Redditors pointed out that it was not OP’s fault for the home valuation decreasing and that her landlords should have been upfront about their expectations regarding the garden if they wanted to profit off of it so badly.

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