Landlord-Tenant Dispute Over Yard Modifications Ends in Destruction and Lawsuit!

A man turned to Reddit to share his story of how he and his partner were recently sued by their landlord for removing the beautiful lawn and beautiful raised gardens they put in, per the landlord’s request.

Their Little House

OP is a 27-year-old male who resides with his boyfriend, aged 28, in a house that they have called home for five years. The dwelling was their first joint residence, and while it was not the most attractive or spacious option, it was the only one they could afford.

The house resembles a shipping container in shape and size, with surrounding buildings towering over it on three sides, while a parking lot for the neighboring homes and a busy road lie on the remaining side.

The backyard is essentially a narrow strip of land the length of the house, bordered by a shed that houses a stacked washer/dryer, as well as the privacy fences of the neighboring properties.

Access to the laundry shed and yard is only possible by exiting through the front door, walking around the house, and traversing the parking lot, as there is no backdoor.

Home Sweet Home

OP had a very accommodating original landlord who was receptive to their desire to make improvements to the house they lived in. They engaged in several upgrades such as painting, refinishing cabinets, and tiling the bathroom.

OP also constructed raised garden beds in the backyard, installed a small pond and bird fountain, and incorporated other landscaping features to create an oasis-like atmosphere.

The couple enjoyed spending time outdoors and even had an outdoor table and chairs where they could enjoy a cup of tea in the morning.

New Landlord From Hell

Following the sale of the house, the lease of the property that OP and his boyfriend resided in was transferred to the new owner. As they had plans to purchase their own home, they intended to remain in the rented property until the end of the lease.

However, the new landlord started to harass them almost immediately, frequently bringing up issues that were beyond their control, such as the positioning of their neighbors’ cars in the parking lot.

On one occasion, the landlord even showed up at their front door at 8:30 pm on a Friday when they had friends over for dinner and board games.

Judgy Judgy

The landlord asked “Are you going to wind up the party anytime soon, boys? Because people are going to get the wrong idea, you know.”

Despite their efforts to accommodate the landlord’s requests, the continuous harassment became unbearable, and OP felt as though he was being monitored at all times.

OP’s breaking point was reached when a technician arrived to repair the washing machine in the shed, and the new landlord spotted their outdoor furniture in the backyard.

“No Enjoyment Allowed”

Later that day, the couple received an email from the landlord in all caps, demanding that they “REMOVE ALL MODIFICATIONS OF THE YARD” and reiterating that “NO PATIO FURNITURE IS PERMITTED.”

It was worth noting that the furniture was not even visible from the road.

After receiving a demand from the new landlord to remove all personal modifications made to the yard since their move-in date, OP confirmed the request via email. The response was a firm “YES. REMOVE IMMEDIATELY AT THE SOONEST CONVENIENCE.”

Reverted the Yard to Dirt

Despite being in their final month of the lease, OP took the landlord’s demand to heart and reverted the yard to a dirt strip out of spite, removing everything they had added including the raised beds, plants, and an empty pond.

The landlord was enraged and even threatened to sue for destruction of property, keeping the security deposit and taking the couple to small claims court over the issue.

However, OP had taken pictures of the original yard and had the email instruction from the landlord, proving that the yard had been reverted as per the request.

The judge saw through the landlord’s accusations and ruled in favor of OP, awarding the couple their full security deposit.

Landlord’s Control Issues

Reddit users praised OP’s response and stated it was justified.

One user wrote that the landlord seemed to have control issues and was clearly trying to do something just to “show” that they are in charge.

The Reddit community was very happy to hear that the couple got their full security deposit back and hoped that the landlord would have a hard time trying to make the yard look beautiful again.

What do you think? Is OP justified for his actions?

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Source: Reddit