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Tenants, Green Thumbs, and Garden Beds

Raised Garden Bed Growing Tomatoes in Boston Rental BackyardWhen the weather starts to warm up, it can oftentimes get a tenant’s green thumb itching to start a garden. Though as a Boston landlord, you are typically focused on flourishing the value of your investment property. A tenant’s wish for a garden can occasionally be at odds with your need to protect your property from changes, however small. Allowing your renters to plant garden beds in the yard of your rental house comes with a lot of both pros and cons. Before you give your tenant permission to start digging, here are some crucial elements to think of.

Local Ordinances

It may amaze you to recognize that countless towns have laws that prohibit residential property owners from growing a garden, at least in the front yard. Others may have restrictions on what type of plants can be grown or how much water any one property resident can use. This is exactly why you must make it a point to verify your local ordinances prior to approving any garden requests.

Potential Advantages

Having a garden in the backyard may increase the value of your property in most instances. It is largely dependent on your target renter demographic and where your property is located. If your tenant desires a garden very badly, authorizing them to do so could make them glad, which will perhaps support and motivate them to stay in your rental longer. A happy tenant typically results in better long-term cash flows, so it may be worth the risk to allow them to plant their garden.

Costs of Restoration

On the flip side, it’s vital to take into account the downsides of allowing your tenant to put garden beds in the yard. For instance, if your current tenant leaves, you may be stuck with the work of restoring the yard to its original condition. This will surely include costs that may or may not be fully covered by their security deposit, which denotes you’ll be paying out of pocket to get it completed.

Neglect by Future Tenants

Another probable disadvantage to authorizing garden beds is what happens when your current tenant departs. If you plan to keep the garden beds, there is no guarantee that your next tenant will have the skills or wish to keep them tidy and weed-free. The added bother of yard maintenance could bring about overall neglect of the property’s landscaping, which would put at risk your property values and create headaches for you.

Consider Compromise

Even when you’ve already chosen to refuse your tenant’s request for garden beds, you could look into providing them a compromise instead. For example, maybe you could permit some new flower beds along a walkway or under a window instead of larger garden beds. Or, deem enabling various large containers for their garden project, namely raised planters or tubs. These can be set down on a patio or in a discreet location not to damage existing landscaping but definitely still providing your tenant the happiness of growing things.

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


But take heart, you don’t need to make difficult decisions about your investment property all on your own. At Real Property Management Boston, we have experienced Boston property managers who join up and work together 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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