Injured spruce

A small (3') spruce on rental property was injured by a tenant's children. Basically, about 90% of the needles were torn off, and perhaps 15-20% of the smaller branches were broken.
I've replanted the tree in a safer spot, but other than pruning off the obviously broken branches, I'm unsure what else I can do to nurse it back to health. It's been very rainy in the upper midwest, which may be helping or not; there is fresh green growth and some of the stripped branches already have small buds appearing.
Anything better than benign neglect to suggest?
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wrote:

compost and maybe some light shade for part of the day. I have a small spruce growing in a partly shaded spot and it seems to like the conditions there.
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The Watcher wrote:

Good, I did mulch and that's the conditions perfectly. I guess it's time to just cross my fingers.
Should I water it more often during the summer, though?
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Did you have permission from your land lord to plant the tree in the first place?
Did you file a police report on the destruction?
Next step should be your making the parents of the brats pay for a replacement. Maybe take them to people's court?

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Cereus-validus wrote:

I *am* the landlord.

More trouble than it's worth, really. Present trends continue she'll be out of there soon.
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not consider setting up specific guide lines that the next tenant must sign before being allowed to rent your property. We have friends who make their living buying, repairing, and renting property, and I was totally amazed what landlords are allowed by law to do such as background checks of previous rental history and employment records, number of people allowed to occupy a specific property, damage deposits, upkeep of yard, and rent payment time frame before eviction. One provision in their contract was that no more than three people (a man, a woman, and one child) was allowed in a specific rental home. If a second child was born, they were automatically evicted. My mouth dropped a bit, but I was informed that as long as the same rules were applied to all, they had no problems. Check the legal aspects of all this in your area before proceeding.
BTW, I was also informed that renters were given the opportunity to purchase their rental homes if they desired, and almost half of the rented homes were purchased when the tenants figured they could handle the house payments and upkeep. This seemed to work as an incentive for keeping the property in good shape.
I'm not advocating any of the above ideas, but it's something to think about.
John
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B & J wrote:

Yep, we're on it. (I wasn't actually asking for rental advice, but I suppose some readers may find it useful.) We're actually drafting a new set of lease requirements. In Wisconsin, anything that involves a debit from the security deposit must be on a separate sheet called "Non-Standard Rental Provisions". Surprisingly (to some), this can be just about anything. Smoking? No dice. More than two unrelated persons? Scram.
such as background checks of

Yup. In our state as long as you disclose that you're doing it to the applicant you can perform a full background check -- credit, criminal, employment. Eviction history (and even late payment history) is now something that can follow you from city to city, for better or worse (as a landlord I have one view; as a former tenant I have another).
You'd be astonished, though, at the number of people who can't seem to dig up their last *two* landlords for the application, or who rent from relatives (heck, that describes me, technically).
number of people allowed to

The main thing to keep in mind is avoiding discriminating against a protected class. That can vary from state to state, but at the federal level includes all the obvious ones. (In our state, battered women are a protected class, so we have to tread carefully. The real problems with this tenant stem from the abusive boyfriend.) Section 8 tenants have to deal with certain requirements such as number of square feet per person.
We actually have multiple Section 8 tenants and as a class they aren't a problem. Most either came with references or moved onto Section 8 while already renting. It's the strangers that get you -- and that's where a month-to-month agreement is crucial. In this case, she got a 12-month lease when she shouldn't have (in retrospect, but there's a family rumble over this), and that's the crux of the problem. At other times we've evicted drug dealers (boyfriends of tenant) using a simple 30-day notice.

Good point, and worth considering down the road, though it doesn't apply in this case.

Yep. The tree damage was from the kid, not the tenant, and I tend to write that off as more of an accident than anything serious. If I hadn't been so busy I could have put up a screen or moved the tree earlier.
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wrote:

In most places it's pretty difficult to actually evict people who don't want to go.
I have not rented for many years.. moved here in 1977.. and I heard what friends had to go through in order to rent and was amazed, but I heard they could check your credit, but couldn't refuse to rent to you based on what it said, which seemed rather stupid. And you have to pay for them to check your credit!
I don't have much of a house, and it's falling apart...but ..it's my hovel!
Janice
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Janice wrote:

Well, you may have to go to court (if they don't get the message from your eviction notices; many do), but if they haven't paid their rent or can't (provably) abate the problem, they can certainly be legally evicted. (In civil court, the landlord only must prove via *preponderance of the evidence* rather than *beyond a reasonable doubt* as in criminal courts.) As a last resort the sheriff can physically evict them.
In general, it's true that renters have protection from spurious eviction, especially in larger cities, but in my experience most people want to avoid the eviction process (not to mention the record) and would rather come to an agreement or simply move.

Yes, in my state you are entitled to charge a fee for checking the applicant's background. The landlord is entitled to recover costs of checking out rejected applications. What you heard was probably mangled urban legend; in 1977 privacy and discrimination protections were likely much *less* than today. Heck, in 1977 there were cities with ordinances (widely ignored, to be sure) blocking single mothers from renting.
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The tree is probably toast. It lost a great deal of reserves with that " 90%" of needles.
--
Mike LaMana, MS
Heartwood Consulting Services, LLC
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Mike LaMana wrote:

Yeah, I worry that's the case. We didn't get to it in time. Truthfully, I don't expect it to come back and look gorgeous again, but I do have faith!
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Sometimes tenants can really be such idiots.
But that's also why they have to rent.
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