Another entry in Reddit’s famous “Am I the A–hole” forum has left people with absolutely no doubt as to the answer after a young woman removed her self-installed backyard garden set up to take with her when her landlords declined to renew her lease so that they could sell the house she had been renting.
The young woman had been living there for seven years after deciding to rent the house specifically for the backyard space, which was empty and barren when she moved in.
During the next seven years, she says she created a beautiful garden space complete with a “greenhouse and pizza oven” (because why not), an aquaponics system, and multiple vegetable gardens.
“It became the green oasis all my friends gathered at,” she wrote.
I F(25) have been renting a house since I was 18 (7 years). When I moved in, the backyard was a large piece of dirt, with no lawn or anything, just a decently big backyard with a fence all around. It was a cheap but not great house, but I signed because I wanted the backyard space.
Over the past few years I erected a small garden shed, greenhouse, and pizza oven (transportable), planted lots of veggie gardens in big transportable garden beds and put down some nice pavers, an aquaponics set up, and generally made the backyard a really green and beautiful place to be. It became the green oasis all my friends gathered.
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 I left, I brought my garden with me to my new place – nothing in my last backyard was directly planned into the ground, and nothing permanent. I dismantled the sheds and greenhouse, loaded up all the pots and garden beds onto a truck, and cleared the backyard in three days with lots of help.
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 of stealing their plants and wrecking the backyard.
Legally I’m fine – my contract said I could garden, and I have photos from the first real estate walkthrough before I moved in that show that the backyard was in the same state as I first found it (although with more fertile soil now probably). The same real estate agent signed off my final inspection, and I got my deposit back.
I’ve received mixed responses though because I saw the landlords taking pictures of my backyard before I left but didn’t make the connection because IMHO when pictures of a house have furniture in it, you don’t expect to also get free furniture. Some of my coworkers suggested that IATA because the house valuation certainly has fallen dramatically because I didn’t tell them I was taking my garden with me, so they couldn’t plan to landscape before lockdown hit.
Tl;dr AITA for moving the garden that I build from my former rental house into my new house, upsetting my former landlords who didn’t expect me to take it with me?
Unfortunately, the woman’s landlords decided to sell the house and gave her a few months’ notice to pack up and move. These things happen, so she indeed packed up all of her things and left the house—including the transportable greenhouse, pizza oven, and everything else she personally paid for and worked to install with permission from her landlords.
She was surprised, as one would be when she found that her landlords were outraged that she had taken her stuff with her when she moved out.
“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 of stealing their plants, and wrecking the backyard.”
“Some of my coworkers suggested that IATA because the house valuation certainly has fallen dramatically because I didn’t tell them I was taking my garden with me, so they couldn’t plan to landscape before lockdown hit,” she said.
Luckily, the young woman had the foresight to take photos of the property when she moved in, showing the original state of the backyard and she had already received her deposit back from the real estate company after their final inspection following her departure, so there’s little her former landlords can do but complain.
Reddit has overwhelmingly dubbed the tenant to not be the–hole in this situation, with multiple commenters pointing out that no landlord should expect someone’s entire elaborate garden to be left behind when they move out and if there had been any question about it, they should have asked her.
It doesn’t help that public sentiment on landlords is tanking while rents across the U.S. continue to skyrocket, financially strangling people who are fighting to survive on stagnant wages and other costs of living increases.