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Tenant at a loss after landlord claims they're responsible for garden that was 'void of any life': 'They can't enforce this'

The landlord insisted that it wasn't his problem.

The landlord insisted that it wasn’t his problem.

Photo Credit: iStock

While most tenants expect to do some basic lawn care, one Australian Redditor was dumbfounded when their landlord gave them the nearly impossible task of saving the landlord's poorly chosen plants without any assistance.

Some renters have issues with unrealistic or expensive expectations from their landlords, and this Redditor seems to be one of them.

"We moved into a unit a few months ago and had our first inspection today," the Redditor explained. "When we moved in, the owner had just planted a few grasses and flowering shrubs."

So far, so reasonable — but there was a glaring problem. "When he did this he did not prepare the soil," they explained. "We live in [Western Australia] and the soil he planted in was essentially sand. It is hydrophobic and void of any life. Weeds can't even grow in it."

According to the Redditor, they told their landlord exactly how to fix the problem during their inspection and even offered to help. "I have a horticulture background and said that if the owner wanted to buy some compost, better soil, and some things to help maintain water, I would happily fix up the soil and try to save the plants."

Investing in the soil would have a long-lasting impact on the property. Once the ground is healthy enough to grow a garden in, each new generation of plants would enrich the soil more, leading to a healthy and thriving garden that could raise the value of the property. It could also benefit the local ecosystem, including pollinators, other insects, and the birds and small animals that eat them.

But the landlord insisted that it wasn't his problem. "He and the [property manager] told me it was my responsibility to save the plants, and if I could not I would be liable to replace them all when my lease ended."

Despite putting their foot down, the tenant was worried the landlord might be able to force the issue in court.

The commenters didn't believe it would come to that, though. "Unless there is a specific clause in your lease about the plants, then they can't enforce this," said one user. "Put your view, opinion about the soil and offer to maintain in writing to the agent. … You can fall back on that if they try to charge you for plants at the end."

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