Relations with neighbors can be a delicate balance, and sometimes they can become downright volatile.
That’s what happened to a woman on Reddit whose neighbor went full homophobic when she got a girlfriend. She wasn’t sure about how she handled the situation, so she went to the AITA subReddit for input.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by trottreacle on the site, asked:
“AITA for taking the garden with me when I moved?”
“I 30f[emale] moved to a rented flat a few yrs ago. Me on the top floor & below me a guy J 50. Both places are small 1bd but there is a shared garden which is big but not cared for at all, super overgrown.”
“I LOVE gardening. I got permission from my landlord & J to get it looking decent so J & I could enjoy it. He said he’s a busy guy & not interested nor uses it so everyone was happy.”
“I spent weeks getting it really lovely & spent the best part of £1k on it & that was on a budget too. Lots of plants, a veggie patch, a few small trees. The veg patch would always yield a great amount so I was always happy to share with J, he would buy me a case of beer once in a while as his way of payment.”
“He even started inviting his friends over for BBQs etc & vice versa, we always extended the invite to each other. It was flexible & easy.”
“J was always a bit flirty with me, especially after a few but it always felt harmless. I would even hang sometimes with his friends all male for a beer in the garden but still never felt funny & was happy to banter.”
“The problems started when I got a gf S 36, J didn’t seem to vibe with her from the start. Obviously the more serious S & I got the more she would stay over. This really seemed to bug J but she was always considerate, she wouldn’t use our parking spaces etc.”
“I put it down to jealousy but neither of us really cared & as we got more serious we decided it was time to move in together.”
“The final straw came when S was at my place alone & needed some veggies for a meal she was making us, she went to help herself. J was already in the garden but when he saw her picking from the veg he had a go at her accusing her of stealing & disrespecting me & him as it was OUR (tenants only) garden.”
“Anyway when S left for work the next day she sent me a pic of her car with a key scratch that read DYKE on the side. So turns out J is a homophobic AH. He denied & we didn’t have proof. We decided to escalate the move immediately.”
“WW3 started when I decided to move MY entire garden when J was at work to S’s place. Luckily she has a big enough space to get everything in & a lot of plants I purposely planted so that they could be movable. I even took the vegetable patch & every damn bean.”
“Yes it looked a bit scrappy afterwards but was still better than when I first arrived. I even put down grass seed so the patchy bits would go completely back to normal. It’ll grow back to be a totally plain weedless lawn.”
“My phone has erupted. J has called me every name under the sun & has said I have ruined HIS property. The landlord is also pissed & has said I’ve ruined its value.”
“And is threating not to return my deposit & SUE, I sent before & after pics of the garden to show I had only taken only my property with me & I’ve kept every receipt too to prove what I spent. They’re threatening me, accusing me of stealing. I’m looking into my own legal action to get my deposit back, they’ve not got a leg to stand on.”
“AITA for taking my garden with me?”
Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Obviously, this was a cut-and-dried example of a NTA.
“NTA and make sure the landlord knows that you moved because someone keyed your GF’s car with a homophobic message.” —atomicalex0
“NTA and agree with the above comment, make sure your landlord knows that your move is precedented by someone keying homophobic slurs into your girlfriends car.”
“Also, attach the permission from landlord that YOU made it look decent, along with receipts of things you bought, and make sure to tell him in writing that if he does not return your deposit back as he is legally required to do so, you have already made arrangements with counsel and he will receive correspondence in the next few days to get a civil case started.”
“Even if none of that is true, do it.” —breadnbuttaaa
“NTA. You took your plants with you when you had to move out to avoid further homophobic harassment from jealous creeper J. The number of men in this story feeling entitled to your time, attention, and labor is unreal – you got permission to put in a garden, you spent your own money on it, you did all the work – why wouldn’t you take it with you?”
“You didn’t put it in for them, and you know they won’t take care of it in your absence, they’ll let it wither and die. I don’t know the legal system there, but you should talk to someone there and see about what your rights in the situation are and whether you need representation to defend yourself from this.”
“I’d frame it with your landlord as harassment from them and from J, and I’d make clear that if they wanted you to leave the garden, they 1) should have made that clear, and 2) should have offered to reimburse you for both the plants and your time and labor in it – I’d charge the latter at whatever rate you make at work or higher, but definitely get legal advice before you say anything to them. I hope you and S have a wonderful life together!” —Doris_Useless
“NTA. You relinquished the property in its original state. Still probably looked better than it did originally if it was overgrown before you cleaned it up. Those were your plants, not your landlord’s. I’m glad you were able to move out of that space in which you felt uncomfortable and unsafe (kind of a Seussian sentence), OP. Best wishes moving forward.” —VerendusAudeo
After reading her fellow Redditors’ comments, OP came back to add a bit more information.
“Edit: I did message landlord prior to moving to ask if he wanted to buy the garden but I don’t think he understood what I meant & I didn’t press it further.”
“Also, after I took it, I did message landlord to say again he could buy it back from me at cost of my purchase. But I would not replant it. Again I don’t think he understood.”
“I believe J has told him that he bought half of the garden because he would buy me a case of beer every so often which somehow justifies him slowly buying half off me. Suddenly the vegetables he consumed have been forgotten.”
Hopefully OP can be happier in her new place.