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Tenants, Green Thumbs, and Garden Beds

Raised Garden Bed Growing Tomatoes in Washington DC Rental BackyardAs the weather warms up, a tenant’s green thumb might start itching to start a garden. But as a Washington DC landlord, your focus will be on 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 giving your tenant permission to start digging, you should consider some important aspects.

Local Ordinances

Many towns have laws prohibiting residential owners from growing gardens, 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 a must to research your local ordinances before agreeing to any garden requests.

Potential Advantages

Sometimes, your property’s value may increase by having a garden in the backyard. This is where your target renter demographic and property location become a relevant consideration. If your tenant really wants a garden, allowing them to do so could make them happy and encourage them to stay in your rental longer. A happy tenant makes for better long-term cash flows, so that garden could be worth the risk.

Costs of Restoration

On the other hand, there are also downsides to allowing your tenant to put garden beds in the yard. For example, if the current tenant leaves, you might end up with the job of restoring the yard to its original condition. This will likely include costs that may or may not be fully covered by their security deposit, meaning you will have to pay out of pocket to finish the restoration.

Neglect by Future Tenants

What will happen to the garden beds when your current 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. The additional yard maintenance, if not done well, could lead to overall neglect of the property’s landscaping, which would threaten your property values and possibly create more problems for you.

Consider Compromise

Even after you have decided to decline your tenant’s request for garden beds, you can offer them a compromise instead. You could approve some flower beds along a walkway or under a window instead of larger garden beds. Or, you can consider agreeing to let them use large containers for their garden projects, such as raised planters or tubs. They can place these on a patio or somewhere discreet so as not to damage the existing landscaping while still allowing your tenant to enjoy growing things.

When it comes to tenant garden beds, it’s important to look at all aspects of the question before making your decision. As each property and situation is different, the final decision is really up to you.

You can also have help in making difficult decisions about your investment property. At Real Property Management Washington DC, we have experienced Washington DC 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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