Mothering Forum banner

1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,587 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So, I live in an apartment complex with nearly 500 apartments. There are central courtyards that are bordered by three apartment buildings and on the fourth side is a larger community area that has walking paths, trees and playgrounds. It is very much set up to encourage neighbor interaction. There is no car access to the courtyard, and kids run freely between apartments and each apartment has a little bit of greenspace that most folks have planted with flowers, and some have veggie gardens.<br><br>
This year, I dug up my front "lawn" (that didn't have any actual grass growing on it because we have nearly 100% sand for soil) and added TONS of compost and turned it in to a tidy little garden. It is fenced in and so far is very well kept. It is extremely similar to the flower gardens all around me and there are at least a half dozen other veggie gardens in the immediate area, including one that has been there since I moved in nearly three years ago.<br><br>
Today I received a letter from my landlord stating that they will remove it for me if I don't remove it in the next 30 days because it contains "vegetables". That was their ONLY reason for wanting me to remove it. My lease does not state that I cannot have one. It does say that I can only have a fence that is 18" high, and that is all. My initial fence was about twice that high, but I got a notice saying it was too tall, and I lowered it.<br><br>
I am trying really hard not to freak out, and am going to make a ton of phone calls on Monday to our apartment "community builder" (that is her actual position within the apartment office) to see if she can help me, and I am thinking of starting a petition asking residents to state that we want the option to have a garden containing veggies if we want to (or maybe even that they have no problem with people having veggies on their lawns, not sure what that would look like though).<br><br>
So frustrated, irritated, mad, sad, disappointed, etc..... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,809 Posts
Is this your space, set in your lease/contract? If so, unless its specifically prohibits vegetables in your lease, I don't think they can do that - I'd fight'm tooth and nail. If other people can have flowers, why can't you have veggies?!?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,587 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mamadelbosque</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15432454"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Is this your space, set in your lease/contract? If so, unless its specifically prohibits vegetables in your lease, I don't think they can do that - I'd fight'm tooth and nail. If other people can have flowers, why can't you have veggies?!?</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
It is technically part of the "common areas". It does say in my lease that a tenant cannot fence in any part of the common area with fence higher than 18 inches, but it doesn't specifically say that you can't put veggies inside that fence. I am just wondering what the heck I do if they do come on June 20 and rip out my spinach/lettuce/tomatoes/peppers/celery/onions/beets/arugula/carrots/peas and take down my fence?<br><br>
I have never in a million years heard of a landlord being angry at putting in a garden in a way that helps to build up neighbor relationships. We actually had a courtyard meeting last year asking people for suggestions on how to help to build a sense of community and gardens were definitely brought up. Just can't for the life of me figure out why a landlord would want to kill this.<br><br>
Sorry for the rant....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,466 Posts
That sucks. Lawns are pointless and vegetables are awesome. I hope you win this fight.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,639 Posts
Could you somehow strategically combine flowers and veggies? In our community garden, some people planted marigolds to keep away some pest (I am new to the whole garden thing). Even if you had to rip out something to plant some flowers, you might be able to keep most of your veggies.<br><br>
Honestly, I think you have them on a technicality. If other people can plant flower gardens, I don't see why you can't plant veggies. Also, do the people with flower gardens have any plants that do not flower (spikes, for example)? What is the difference between that and lettuce? Not much, aesthetically speaking.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,587 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
There is a person directly across the courtyard from me who has a flower bed that has a row of six tomatoe plants right down the center of it. And most of the flower gardens are for the most part just greenery. Actually about half of them are very unkempt and full of weeds. There is another sort of across and over from me that has her entire yard fenced in with garden fencing. She has flowers and greenery along the entire fence too.<br><br>
I was talking to a friend and realized that I have peas planted along most of my fencing (it is mesh fencing), so they will climb the fence and have beautiful flowers in a month or so. I see absolutley no difference between those flowers and my neighbors. Mine are just as beautiful, and they will produce food once they are done flowering!<br><br>
So, what do I do if they do come and rip it all out? Do I call a lawyer? Hoping it doesn't come down to that, and there is no way I could afford a lawyer, but wondering if I can get a lawyer to write a letter or something? I hadn't planned on having to fight to keep my little plot, but now that it is being threatened, I am turning into a bit of a mama bear!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
31,346 Posts
The only thing I can think of is that they are worried about liability if anyone got sick from the veggies and the fact that it is in a common area there could be issues over who has a right to harvest the crops. I don't know. Sorry it's happening though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,404 Posts
Emotionally, I hear you and would also be upset! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
Logically, I would encourage you to talk to other neighbors who have gardens of any kind and see if they received any notices of any kind. More info will help figure out the real issue. If you are the ONLY person with a notice, what is it about your area that is *different* from everyone else's? Can that difference be corrected/altered in some way that still preserves your hard work while "conforming"? If others also received notices of some kind, is there a common thread? Are you all willing to band together and find a mutually agreeable solution with management?<br><br>
Best wishes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,133 Posts
We lived in a complex like you described, and we got a very similar letter when we lived there (we only had flowers though).<br><br>
The management made the decision to disallow gardens because<br>
1) Many weren't being tended well, and it made the place look unkempt, making it harder to rent out empty units.<br>
2) The gardens made it hard for the mowers to mow everything that needed mowing with the big machines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,190 Posts
First, I would call whoever sent the letter or whoever is in charge or whoever would be best to ask questions of in your particular building management hierarchy and just ask some questions - i.e. to find out why they plan to destroy your vegetable garden. I would consider this a fact-finding mission and not argue with anyone - you want info first, so you know what their position is and why.<br><br>
Then I would look carefully at the lease, living agreement, condo agreement etc. - anything you signed or that governs the building and the rights of management. Then I would look at local landlord-tenant law, condo law if applicable, and so on and see if there is anything that spells out who in this situation has the upper hand. My suspicion is that the owner of the property has the right to determine the contents and appearance of common areas and other land that is the property of the owner, and to make reasonable rules regarding its use. I would also check local city ordinances in order to determine whether the vegetable garden might be violating any such ordinance.<br><br>
And then, thinking that you probably can't fight this as a legal battle (I imagine the property owner has a right to modify the property as the property owner sees fit), I would try a different approach, getting the support of some other residents and basically pleading your case to allow your garden to finish out its season - i.e. since you have invested substantially in the garden, that they allow you to keep the garden until this winter on the agreement that you will not replant in the spring, or if they don't go for that, for them to agree to recompense you for your lost investment (actual cost, and if lucky, adding something for time and effort in improving that particular plot of land with soil, peat, etc.). See what you can talk them into, and get a few other residents to back you up. Whatever agreement you do come to, it should be finalized in writing (even if just simply done) so that you don't get screwed, if possible.<br><br>
Good luck. I'm really sorry. Sounds like a lovely garden.<br><br>
ETA: I forgot one other thing I was thinking about, which someone else mentioned - definitely ask other tenants if they've received similar notices.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,587 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I am going into the office first thing in the morning on Monday to do a fact finding mission. I plan to ask for a copy of the part of the lease that states that vegetable gardens are not allowed. Nearly 100% of the tenants have flower gardens, and I would say that nearly 10% have veggies as well. I just want to see where it is written that I can't have a veggie garden. If I did sign something that says that (I am positive I did not), then I am going to talk to the community builder person at the office and ask her to work with me to help us that have gardens finish out our growing season and figure out a way to have a community garden plot somewhere on the property (plenty of room) for next year. I would think that a community plot would be a fantastic way to help to build neighbor relationships. I would totally go for that and move my plot over to a community space next year. If I am not allowed to finish out this season, I am going to move my tomatoes and pepper plant into five gallon buckets for this year and harvest as much salad as I can for the next 30 days and give the rest away to whoever wants it on the very last day. I don't think there will be any way to save my beets, carrots, onions, celery or peas, unfortunately. If they do insist on destroying the gardens, I am definitley going to call our local paper and see if they will run the story to try to get the office to feel a bit embarrassed about ripping up vegetable gardens.<br><br>
Honestly, I think that talking to the folks at the office will be the only thing that I really need to do. I am feeling hopeful that they will come around and let us keep them. Nobody's garden looks unkempt, and as long as we all keep them up, I can't see any reason to have them destroyed. Maybe they can write up some stipulations for next year, but for this year, just let us have them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,680 Posts
I would find it unlikely that you signed anything specifically prohibiting vegetable gardens, but I would not be surprised to find out that it is stated somewhere that the property management retains the right to final decisions over any cosmetic aspects of their property.<br><br>
And even if not ... I rent a grey house. I like yellow houses. I could paint it, but if my landlord hates yellow it would totally be his prerogative to demand I change it back, deduct painting expenses from my security deposit if I refuse, and so on and so forth. It really doesn't matter how awesome I happen to think yellow is, you know? It doesn't matter if all of my neighbors love yellow just as much as me. Renters have rights, but the right to cosmetically alter the property without the approval of the owners isn't one of them.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,587 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Liquesce</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15436092"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would find it unlikely that you signed anything specifically prohibiting vegetable gardens, but I would not be surprised to find out that it is stated somewhere that the property management retains the right to final decisions over any cosmetic aspects of their property.<br><br>
And even if not ... I rent a grey house. I like yellow houses. I could paint it, but if my landlord hates yellow it would totally be his prerogative to demand I change it back, deduct painting expenses from my security deposit if I refuse, and so on and so forth. It really doesn't matter how awesome I happen to think yellow is, you know? It doesn't matter if all of my neighbors love yellow just as much as me. Renters have rights, but the right to cosmetically alter the property without the approval of the owners isn't one of them.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I don't see this as quite the same thing. Planting veggies doesn't permanently alter any physical structures on a property. Especially planting them in soil that wasn't growing any grass before it was dug up. I find your above post hurtful and mean spirited and completely unnecessary. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
The tenants of our apartment complex have had veggie gardens for *years* prior to my putting one in. There is one tenant who has a HUGE garden that it easily four times the size of mine and hers it right out on the main road that leads to our complex. She has fencing that is too high according to the lease requirements, and she has absolutely no flowers in her garden. Her entire yard outside her door is converted to a veggie garden. It just makes me sad that she has had this garden for years, and now that I have put one in, they are cracking down. I have no idea if she received a notice or not about removing it, but it is not something completely out of the realm of normal around here to plant a garden. Painting the apartment building a different color does not even remotely compare to what I am talking about.<br><br>
Plus the lease *DOES* allow flower beds. What I want to know is what plants are allowed? I need to see in my lease that flowers are allowed and veggies are not. If that is the case, I want to know what is considered a veggie and what is considered a flower. There is a very fuzzy line with some veggies having beautiful flowers, and some flowers being edible.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,192 Posts
I just wanted to offer my empathy and say that really sucks. I hope you get to keep your garden!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,930 Posts
I too wanted to offer my empathy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,680 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Pumpkin_Pie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15436295"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't see this as quite the same thing. Planting veggies doesn't permanently alter any physical structures on a property. Especially planting them in soil that wasn't growing any grass before it was dug up. I find your above post hurtful and mean spirited and completely unnecessary. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"></div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I'm sorry you read it that way; there is nothing mean-spirited intended in saying that property owners have the right to make decisions about the appearance of their property. It might not seem fair, but really, if they want to tell you the way you are keeping their property is not meeting their standard then that is their right. If you have a building management that is willing to be flexible or reconsider their decision based upon tenant requests that would be awesome ... I simply think you should be prepared for the possibility that this won't be the case. And that they wouldn't really be doing anything <i>wrong</i> by that, however disappointing or upsetting it might be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,964 Posts
i think you can do wonders with a "flower bed" makeover... marigolds in, a few veggies out. most non-garden people cant tell a carrot top from an almost-blooming flower, if you have enough flowers for camouflage. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,587 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
So, I spoke with a few more neighbors today and apparently all of us that have veggies received the same notice. There are quite a few of us that are planning to walk in there first thing tomorrow to ask what is going on and if we can keep our veggies. I know that at least a few will be angry (not that I am not angry, but I want to keep it civil in the hopes that it helps us to keep our gardens). I am very interested in what the scene will be tomorrow morning. I will definitley update after I go in!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,206 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Liquesce</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15437109"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm sorry you read it that way; there is nothing mean-spirited intended in saying that property owners have the right to make decisions about the appearance of their property. It might not seem fair, but really, if they want to tell you the way you are keeping their property is not meeting their standard then that is their right. If you have a building management that is willing to be flexible or reconsider their decision based upon tenant requests that would be awesome ... I simply think you should be prepared for the possibility that this won't be the case. And that they wouldn't really be doing anything <i>wrong</i> by that, however disappointing or upsetting it might be.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
As a landlord I have to agree. I still hope you get to keep your veggies, but I have to agree with the above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,612 Posts
Can you cut a deal with them - after you harvest these, you won't replant? It sucks and I hope you can keep using your space for vegetables, but maybe you can at least not count this season a total loss if you all agree not to replant?<br><br>
Good luck. The idea of all that being ripped up make me feel ill.
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top