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Former tenant shocked by landlord's landscaping fines: 'Using his position as a lawyer to intimidate'

"I'd personally beat him to the punch and sue for wrongful withholding of security deposit."

“I’d personally beat him to the punch and sue for wrongful withholding of security deposit.”

Photo Credit: iStock

One homeowner was in disbelief when they said their former landlord tried to get a free yard makeover out of them after moving out.

The r/LandlordLove subreddit is full of stories of lazy and penny-pinching landlords, including ones that put the health of their tenants at risk. But few have the sheer audacity of this owner.

"We moved out of a home built in the 1920s after renting for nine years," the original poster explained. "Owner is cheap and difficult to work with and has gone through two different property management companies since we lived there and threatened to sue both before taking the management part over himself."

According to the tenant, there was a clear agreement in place about yard maintenance during their residency. "We were responsible for maintenance of the yard which was a terrible yard when we moved in (weeds, dirt, unkept)," they said. "We did some work to improve it with equipment we had to purchase ourselves, but did not go out of our way to landscape."

In the nine years they lived in the home, they said the yard was never a problem. "None of the management ever mentioned any concern because the grass was always mowed and watered," they said. "Now that we have moved the owner is trying to charge me my deposit of $1000 in addition to $650 to completely replace and landscape the whole yard 'because we were supposed to be maintaining it weed free' and that by signing the lease we 'agreed that the yard was weed free.'"

According to the original poster, they have photo evidence of the weeds in the yard when they moved in. However, their former landlord is a lawyer, and the threat of a lawsuit was frightening. "What is the worst he can do if I refuse to pay him?" asked the original poster.

"I'd personally beat him to the punch and sue for wrongful withholding of security deposit," said one commenter. "Make him attempt to counter sue for weeds in the yard. He's using his position as a lawyer to intimidate tenants into avoiding civil litigation even though withholding money for normal grounds maintenance is illegal as h***. … Illegal contracts are not legally binding."

Another option would be to encourage the landlord to install affordable and easily maintained plants like a clover lawn. The cost might be less than a lawsuit.

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