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Tenants, Green Thumbs, and Garden Beds

Raised Garden Bed Growing Tomatoes in Lexington Rental BackyardWhen the weather warms up, it can sometimes get a tenant’s green thumb itching to start a garden. But as a Lexington landlord, you are always looking to protect the growing value of your investment property. A tenant’s desire for a garden can sometimes be at odds with your need to protect your property from changes, however small. Letting your renters plant garden beds in your rental house’s yard comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Before you allow your tenant to start digging, you should consider these important aspects.

Local Ordinances

It may come as a surprise that many towns have laws that prohibit residential property owners from growing a garden, especially in the front yard. Some have restrictions on the type of plants that can be grown or how much water a property resident can use. It is due diligence to research your local ordinances prior to agreeing to any garden requests.

Potential Advantages

In some cases, your property’s value may increase if you have a garden in the backyard. This is dependent on your target renter demographic and where your property is located. If your tenant really wants a garden that badly, agreeing to it could make them so happy, which could encourage them to stay longer in your rental. Happy tenants usually make for better long-term cash flows, so it may be worth the risk to let them push through with that garden.

Costs of Restoration

On the other hand, there are also disadvantages to allowing your tenant to put garden beds in the yard. For instance, if your current tenant leaves, the job of restoring the yard to its original condition could fall on you. Your tenant’s security deposit may not cover the entire cost of the job, which means you will be paying out of your own pocket to get it done.

Neglect by Future Tenants

Another potential drawback is what would happen to the garden beds when your tenant leaves. If you decide to keep the garden beds, there is no guarantee that your next tenant will want to maintain them as well. This could mean additional yard maintenance and may lead to overall neglect of the property’s landscaping, which would threaten your property values and create other problems for you.

Consider Compromise

Even if you decline your tenant’s request for garden beds, you can offer them a compromise instead. For instance, you could let them have some new flower beds along a walkway or under a window instead of larger garden beds. You can also agree to let them use large containers for their garden projects, such as raised planters or tubs. These can be displayed on a patio or in a place where it won’t damage the existing landscape but still give your tenant the joy of growing things.

When it comes to tenant garden beds, it’s important to look at all aspects of the question before making your decision. Each property and situation will require different responses, so only you can decide.

At the same time, you don’t have to make the difficult decisions about your investment property all by yourself. At Real Property Management Commonwealth, we have experienced Lexington property managers who work with rental property investors like you to help handle tenant requests and protect your property’s value. Contact us today to learn more.

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