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Tenant perplexed by landlord's seemingly unfair expectations: 'This is cautionary for many people'

"For landlords — please stop treating your rental house as your personal house."

“For landlords — please stop treating your rental house as your personal house."

Photo Credit: iStock

A tenant was left perplexed by their landlord's insistence that they foot the bill for watering flower beds they didn't plant. 

It isn't easy to decipher who should pay for what in a rented property — particularly when maintenance costs cover a renovation that the tenant wouldn't have chosen. 

This tenant has turned to the r/Tenant subreddit for advice about the multitudes of flowers surrounding their property, which the landlord planted. The flower beds require a lot of water, which the landlord expects them to pay for. The water bill for the previous summer was $100 more than usual.

On top of this, the landlord frequently turns up to water the plants without notice or passes the job on to her renters — something not stipulated in the original lease.

"Should we be expected to cover water expenses?" the tenant asked in a caption. 

The question of who pays for water in rented properties will become all the more integral in the years to come as aging infrastructure and droughts force prices up

The average household's water bill has increased by 56% since 2012 and is now climbing faster than the wages that pay for them. 

In Western states like California, where droughts have forced residents to rely more on purchased water, bills increased by as much as 12% between 2022 and 2023.

In these conditions, landlords could struggle to justify passing irrigation costs on to their tenants for high-maintenance gardens — particularly when water-wise gardening can save water and money.

The EPA estimates that a third of an average household's water is used outside, which environmentally conscious gardening techniques, like xeriscaping, could reduce by half

Unfortunately, some landlords have been accused of blocking tenants' attempts to live more sustainably in their homes, including hanging washing outdoors, installing raised beds, and growing their herbs

Some tenants are governed by stringent rules set by HOAs, with some choosing to fight back by getting local bylaws changed — though Redditors have a few other suggestions.

"Set up a barrel to collect rain water and tell her to use that for watering the plants," one Redditor suggested. "It's not fair to you having to pay an extra 100$ per season."

"Take note of the water meter reading before she waters and after and see if it's worth making a stink over," another said.

"This is cautionary for many people," another added. "For landlords – please stop treating your rental house as your personal house. Flowers are pretty, but you want something low maintenance."

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