If I cut a bush down on rental property where I’m a tenant, am I in trouble?

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If I cut a bush down on rental property where I’m a tenant, am I in trouble?

My driveway is bombarded with bushes. My car was getting scratched by Junipers. I got some trimmers and went to town trimming it back. I cut it down completely. My landlords don’t tend to the landscape at all, and said when I moved in that I could trim as I liked. And that things were over grown because that’s how the last tenant liked it- private. I don’t. I like sun. My neighbors are all approving. I don’t think my landlords are. There is nothing in my lease regarding anything outdoors.

Asked on July 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Ok well the verbal part of the contract - your lease - between you and your landlord is really not something to consider here.  A lease is supposed to hold all the provisions of the agreement in there and "parole evidence" or evidence of oral agreements outside the lease are not supposed to be taken in to account.  But I am sure that the rental agreement states that you ar renting the entire property, correct?  That would mean the outside as well.  Although I think you may have gone a little hog wild with the pruning shears, you probably were not far outside your right to maintain the property in a neat and clean manner.  Speak with them and apologize for cutting it down completely but explain that you were trying to let in natural light to enhance the rest of the property. Maybe you were planning on planting some annuals for color?  And never cut anything that drastically again.  Good luck.


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