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Renter distressed after landlord tries to enforce costly changes with little explanation: 'I don't want to feel like I'm going to be picked on and threatened'

"I feel this is a huge exorbitant amount as a tenant."

"I feel this is a huge exorbitant amount as a tenant."

Photo Credit: iStock

A renter in Texas was floored to receive a demand from their landlord to replace a mature tree on the property — especially considering their lease explicitly stated otherwise.

They took to Reddit to ask for advice, saying, "Is my landlord correct? I feel this is a huge exorbitant amount as a tenant and my lease also specifically states not to remove or add trees … I don't want to feel like I'm going to be picked on and threatened with eviction for not doing as he says."

They posted a photo of the text from their landlord, where he says, "Please get professionals to replace the tree with the same type … if HOA gives fines for this it is [the] tenant's responsibility to pay that fine." 

"I feel this is a huge exorbitant amount as a tenant."
Photo Credit: Reddit

But the lease, which they also include, says otherwise

"It literally says 'Do not remove or add any trees/shrubs/flowers' and lists out what maintenance you are required to do," one person pointed out, bewildered. 

Other commenters agreed that the request seemed unlawful. "You aren't allowed to plant or remove foliage, so why should you be on the hook to maintain [it]?" one said. "Absurd request."

"In my experience, tenant maintenance is also normally associated with expected, periodic work, like regular cleaning or mowing," another wrote. "It sounds like the landowner is being outrageously greedy considering the costs of tree removal."

Unfortunately for the 34% of Americans who are renters, HOAs and landlords aren't necessarily known for enacting fair, tenant-friendly policies. From failing to maintain properties to actively destroying gardens, forbidding certain upgrades seemingly at random, and retaliating for pointing out issues, there's no shortage of horror stories.

"Unless you did something to actively kill the tree, it's nuts that they'd expect you to pay for this," one person commented. "Do they also expect you to paint the exterior of the house every five years or replace the HVAC system or hot water heater if it dies?"

These policies are particularly frustrating when, on top of all this, they prevent tenants from saving money. For example, a landscaping clause like this one prohibits OP from switching to a natural lawn, which could reduce their water bill by up to 30%. HOAs have also been caught outlawing cost-effective upgrades like using laundry lines, installing solar panels, and more.

Fortunately for this tenant and others, there are ways to fight back — check out TCD's comprehensive guide for suggestions.

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