OP, I'd be a bit wary of both the landlord and real estate from now on.
Dare I say they'll both be 'watching' you now. Be careful not to give them any reasons to pick on you further.
I don't think you've done anything wrong, it just seems like they've decided to make it a big issue
OP I've been in a similar situation. My old landlords drove past the house and complained to the real estate about a tree that it looked we had cut down in the garden.
The landlords happened to be friends with the people at the end of our cul de sac, and had noticed when driving past. Perfectly innocent. The tree had been hit by the neighbours kid on his bike and snapped off (it was a very young sapling). We just explained what happened and the landlord came out and replaced the tree.
In my instance I didn't feel there was anything for us to be upset about. If your landlord did trespass however, as you suspect, then that's something I'd follow up on with the RE or RTA. They have no right to enter the boundary of the property without consent.
Sounds like the agent is a cow & the owners are nosy old buggers!
The last house we rented...the next door neighbours were the owners mil & fil!!! I felt watched 24/7 and it was awful.
It does sound though like the LL did contact the real estate? The RE contacted the OP after the LL mentioned about the trees. The LL didn't contact the OP directly (which is also a no-no). They may have just been driving past, noticed the trees and stopped to take a look (granted, they shouldn't have got out to look around), then contacted the RE to work out what had happened. But I do tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.
It sounds like both the OP and the LL have done something they shouldn't have (OP trimming the shrubs without notifying the RE, and the LL stopping to take a look around)...and it's all just been compounded by a rude and aggressive RE.
I do think though that the LL and RE have made a big deal over nothing much. Some trimmed shrubs? Big whoop! They've taken it a bit far really...
Our landlords BIL drives past and makes sure the front is neat apparently. The real estate have told us this
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I know how you feel. We're currently renting and have experienced similar things. The most recent one being, the landlord and her mother attended the house inspection with the agent! Is this allowed? We had no idea and were totally shocked. My Ds was only 2weeks at the time and they complained because there were 2 weeds in the garden bed. I'm sorry, but we're first time parents with a newborn, the weeds can wait. The rest of the house was immaculate.
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The plants will grow back. It's not like we ripped them out. I have no issue with the owner driving past every now and then but like I said, for them to see the boxes at the end if the drive I do think they would have had to get out of their car. Or at the very least pull up and have a good old sticky beak.
I would be more than happy to completely remove the plants and replace them. I'm no gardener but I do believe they are the wrong type of plant for the location that they are in.
I do believe that the owners can be present during a routine inspection but the tenants must be notified that they will be there.
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