Unfortunately, landlords around the country resort to harassing their tenants. Some landlords turn to harassment to force tenants to move out, others simply harass their tenants because it’s who they are as human beings.
Fortunately, you as a renter are protected by most types of harassment. It starts with an understanding of what landlord harassment is, and then understanding what you can do about your unique situation.
First of all, here’s what landlord harassment is and what landlord harassment isn’t.
Landlord harassment is categorized as when your landlord or property manager willingly creates a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable – so much so that you want to move or terminate your lease immediately.
This can come in the form of:
- Removal of services outlined in your lease, like parking or laundry
- Your utilities being cut off so as to harass or evict you
- Changing the locks without notice
- Entering your apartment without proper notice
- Performing inspections unnecessarily or at inconvenient times
- Lying to you
- Intimidating you through verbal or physical harm
- Refusing you repairs that the law requires them to fulfill
- Disturbing your privacy
- Denying receipt of your rent payment
(These are all illegal actions)
Landlord harassment isn’t:
- Routine inspections with ample notice
- Entering your property in the event of an emergency
- Installing security cameras for your safety
- Contacting you to collect rent that’s past due
- Notifying you of any lease violations
- Evicting you for not paying rent or violating your lease
- Raising the rent to match other rates (with proper notice)
- Collecting money for property damage
(These are all within the rights of your landlord to conduct)
Accusing your landlord of harassment is a very serious situation. If you find that your landlord is treating you unfairly and harassing you, making you feel uncomfortable, here’s what you should do:
First, try and resolve the issue. Talk with your landlord or property manager or the owner of the company that leases the property. Clear communication can often solve a problem that may have been caused by a simple misunderstanding.
If you have tried this method time and again, talk to an attorney about filing an official complaint:
- Log your encounters. Maintaining a list of all of the interactions you have with your landlord will help your case. Make sure to note the dates, times, and what was said during your talks with your landlord.
- Write a letter to your landlord requesting that the harassment stop. If you take this route, keep a copy for your records.
- Always have a witness. When you interact with your landlord, ensure that there is a witness around. Their testimony can be used in court if they witnessed any kind of illegal activity or physical harm.
- Keep your records organized. Maintain an organized copy of your rental agreements, letters and notices, photos, notes, and names and contact information of your witnesses. These can all serve as evidence of your harassment claim against your landlord.
- Contact law enforcement. If at any point you feel your life is in danger at the hands of your landlord, contact the police straight away.
Staying informed and knowing your rights can protect you in even the worst cases of landlord harassment. Stay tuned to Whose Your Landlord for the best in renter rights.