Is Your Landlord Harassing You? (2022)

Is Your Landlord Harassing You? (1)

Discover an overview of landlord-tenant laws and tenant protections against landlord harassment so you can defend your rights. Article updated January 2019.

Despite laws and guidance that promote positive landlord-tenant relationships, sometimes personalities get in the way of smart business practices (and common human decency) that create situations where a tenant feels threatened or harassed by their landlord.

(Video) What should you do if your landlord is harassing you?

What is landlord harassment?

Landlord harassment is when a landlord or property manager willingly creates a situation where a tenant feels uncomfortable, so uncomfortable that they wish to move or terminate a lease agreement. Landlord harassment and tenant harassment are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to a tenant feeling harassed by their landlord.

Harassing a tenant with the intention of making their living situation so uncomfortable they want to move or terminate a lease agreement is illegal.

Unfortunately, some landlords have turned to harassment in order to get tenants to move out of rent-controlled units, as seen in New York and California. Landlord harassment is considered such an issue in major cities of these states that specific laws and protections were created to protect renters and punish violators. See San Francisco, Santa Monica, CA, and NYCfor examples of tenant protections against landlord harassment.

Getting accused of harassment is a serious issue that a landlord should not take lightly. If you find yourself butting heads with your tenant, as long as your tenant is not violating any lease terms, you have to let them live in the property throughout the duration of the lease. Both renters and landlords need to be aware of what constitutes true harassment.

(Video) What is Landlord Harassment?

Here is an overview of what is not acceptable behavior and what could be considered harassment:

  • Taking away services provided in the lease (such as parking or laundry)
  • Shutting of utilities for the purpose of harassment or eviction
  • Entering an apartment without proper notice
  • Changing the locks while a tenant is away
  • Offering to buyout a tenant if they move and threatening an eviction if the tenant says no
  • Performing unnecessary inspections, too often or at extremely inconvenient times for the tenant, like the middle of the night
  • Lying or intimidating a tenant
  • Giving a “three-day notice” or other eviction notice that is based on false charges
  • Using fighting words or threatening bodily harm
  • Refusing to do repairs that are required by law
  • Intentionally disturbing a tenant’s peace and quiet
  • Interfering with a tenant’s right to privacy
  • Refusing to acknowledge receipt of a lawful rent payment

What to do if you feel harassed by your landlord:

You should always try and resolve an issue directly with the owner. If you rent from a property manager, talk to their manager or the owner of the management company. Clear and active communication can effectively solve a lot of problems and may settle a simple misunderstanding. If you have tried to work out a disagreement civilly and still feel harassed by a landlord, you should talk to an attorney about filing an official complaint and possibly seek damages.

A harassed tenant should also take the following steps to protect themselves:

  1. Keep a log of every encounter you have with your landlord. Make sure to take note of the time, date, and what was said.
  2. Write a letter to your landlord asking for the harassment to stop. Send the letter with proof of mailing and keep a copy of the letter.
  3. Ask a witness to be there for landlord interactions. Witness accounts and video recordings of your interactions can be used in court as long as they were done legally.
  4. Keep copies of all rental agreements, letters, notices, photos, names of witnesses, notes, and any other evidence used to support your claim.
  5. Call the police if you feel like you are in danger or your safety is threatened

Pro tip for landlords: If your tenants are accusing you of harassment, you will benefit from following these same tips. Take detailed notes of all your interactions. Use software designed for landlords to keep excellent records. Ask for a witness to join you and even record tenant interactions. Understand the law and know what qualifies as a legal eviction. Work with an attorney familiar with landlord-tenant laws in your state and city.

Some uninformed renters will be quick to assume they are being harassed when a landlord is actually performing normal rental management business.

Here are some examples of what is not considered harassment:

  • Routine Inspections with proper notice
  • Entering your property in the case of an emergency, like a gas leak or flood
  • Routine Drive-By Inspections
  • Installing outdoor security cameras for tenant and property safety
  • Calling you regularly to collect past due rent
  • Sending you notices to rectify a lease violation
  • Giving you an eviction notice for failure to pay rent or for other lease violations
  • Raising the rent to match market rates and providing proper notice
  • Raising rent every year, even if the property has not been updated in a while
  • Collecting money for property damage caused by the tenant beyond normal wear and tear
  • Not repairing a washing machine that is owned by the tenant

Is There Protection From Landlord Retaliation?

There are additional protections for tenants against landlord retaliation. If a renter has asserted his rights to stand up against harassment or filed a complaint against a landlord who isn’t making repairs, most states consider any retaliation from a landlord in response to these actions as illegal.

(Video) Top 5 Reasons Tenants Sue Their Landlord

Nolo provides a good explanation of State Laws Against Landlord Retaliation:

In almost all states, it is illegal for a landlord to retaliate against you for acting within your legal rights–for example, if you have:

  • complained to a building inspector, fire department, health inspector, or other governmental agency about unsafe or illegal living conditions

  • exercised your First Amendment rights to assemble and present your views collectively, as in joining or organizing a tenant union, or

  • availed yourself of self-help strategies allowed by your state or local law, such as deducting money from the rent and using it to fix defects in the rental unit, or even withholding the rent entirely for an uninhabitable unit.

It’s important to understand that the antiretaliation laws will shield you only for those activities that are mentioned in your state’s statute. Not all states protect tenants for all three types of actions mentioned above. To see what’s covered, see your State Laws Prohibiting Landlord Retaliation. For example, in Washington, DC, a tenant who circulates a petition demanding better services cannot be retaliated against; but that same activity would not be protected in Florida, since “exercise of a legal right” isn’t included in Florida’s statute. 


Also, keep in mind that eight states—Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming—do not have statutes or court decisions protecting tenants against retaliation. –https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/renters-rights-book/chapter11-1.html

(Video) How to Address Landlord Tenant Harassment :: Demystifying Housing '15

Landlords and property managers are required to provide a safe and secure living situation for their renters. Refusing to make repairs, intimidating your tenants, or retaliating against a tenant complaint is against rental housing regulations and will negatively affect a renter’s experience living on your property. If a renter feels threatened whileliving on your property or feels like you are treating them unfairly, they may bewithin their rights to file a complaint and work with an attorney to take you to court for damages. Housing providers need to be familiar with all landlord-tenant laws and any tenant protections in your area in order to best protect themselves from unintentionally harassing a tenant.

Want to learn more? Discover some examples of landlord harassment cases where a tenant was awarded damages for Outrageous Landlord Conduct, as reported by Tobener Law Center of San Francisco.

Feel like you are being harassed by your housing provider?

Rentec Direct provides this content for educational purposes only. We cannot offer advice or tips on how to deal with your harassment case. If you feel like you are being harassed, please contact your local housing authority and speak with a lawyer. If you feel like you are in danger, contact the police.

Related Reading For You:

  • Entitled Tenants: The Difference between Bad Managers and Bad Renters
  • Renter Quiz: What’s Your Dream Renter Score?
  • Top 10 Landlord-Tenant Laws to Remember

FAQs

What constitutes harassment from a landlord? ›

Harassment can be any action your landlord takes to deliberately disrupt your life or make you leave your property. Harassment can also be committed by someone else, for example the landlord's family or letting agent.

What can I do if my landlord is intimidating me? ›

What you can do. If you think you're being harassed or threatened with illegal eviction, or the property you rent is being repossessed, talk to your local council. It may have someone specialising in tenant harassment issues.

What rights does a tenant have? ›

The rights of a tenant

The right to live in a property that's safe and in a good state of repair. The right to have your deposit returned at the end of the tenancy (provided that you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement).

What to say if your landlord pressures you to leave? ›

[Use the subject: End of tenancy]

You have given me notice to leave. I would consider leaving before the end of the notice but need time to find somewhere else to live. I could find a new tenancy quicker if you could arrange for my deposit to be returned.

What to do if your landlord is harassing you? ›

I think my landlord is harassing me, what should I do?
  1. Keep Records. Ask your landlord to put all communication with you in writing and keep copies of all correspondence. ...
  2. Contact your landlord. Write to your landlord to ask them to stop the actions you feel are harassment. ...
  3. Get an injunction.

Can I report landlord harassment to the police? ›

If your landlord is harassing you, you should report the matter to the police. If your landlord threatens you with violence, you should always call 999 and report them immediately.

What is anti-social Behaviour in housing? ›

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is 'behaviour by someone that is likely to cause alarm, distress or harassment to members of the public, not of the same household'. Examples of ASB include: Noise nuisance. Harassment.

How do tenants deal with harassment? ›

A renter has a legal right to quiet enjoyment of their home. Simply put, anything that results as consequences of the tenant feeling intimidated, threatened and interfered with the quality of their living conditions may be deemed as a criminal offence. Write a letter to your landlord asking for the Harassment to stop.

Can my landlord evict me for no reason? ›

At the end of the fixed term, the landlord does not need a reason to evict you. As long as they've given you correct notice, they can apply to the court for a possession order.

What a landlord Cannot do? ›

Landlords cannot enter tenanted properties without giving proper notice. Landlords cannot arbitrarily end someone's tenancy before the lease expires. Arbitrary, mid-lease rent increases are not permitted unless specified in certain circumstances in the lease or by the municipality.

How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant? ›

Your landlord only needs to give 'reasonable notice' to quit. Usually this means the length of the rental payment period – so if you pay rent monthly, you'll get one month's notice. The notice does not have to be in writing.

Can tenant refuse to leave? ›

Periodic assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs)

If tenants don't leave at the end of the notice period, landlords must apply to the court for a possession order, which gives them the right to evict tenants and take possession of the property.

Can my landlord just ask me to leave? ›

Your landlord will have to give you notice if they want you to leave. They have to give the reasons why they want to evict you - for example, if you have rent arrears or you've damaged the property. Your landlord will have to go to court and get a court order.

Do long term tenants have rights? ›

You have tenancy rights even if you've been given notice or owe rent. You do not need a written agreement to have tenancy rights. They continue until you end your tenancy voluntarily or are evicted through the legal process. Do not be pressured into giving up your home and your tenancy rights.

How much notice do you have to give a tenant 2022? ›

Minimum notice periods

You need to give at least: 1 month if your rent is due monthly. 4 weeks if your rent is due weekly.

What can I do if my landlord enters without permission? ›

What Can Happen If a Landlord Enters Without Notice
  1. The tenant can call the police. ...
  2. The tenant can potentially sue you for invasion of privacy or harassment. ...
  3. The tenant can potentially sue for breach of lease.
2 Jun 2014

Can you be evicted for anti social Behaviour? ›

Tenants – Possession Order

We can apply to the court for an 'order for possession', after first having served a notice on the tenant. This will be used in serious or more persistent cases of anti-social behaviour. The tenant may be evicted from their home if the case is proven and an order granted.

What is an illegal eviction injunction? ›

Where an illegal eviction takes place – the easiest and quickest solution is to apply for an injunction through the civil court. An injunction is a court order obtained through the county court. If you have been evicted illegally you can apply to the court for an order to: let you back into the property.

Can I report my landlord to the police? ›

Call 101 or your local police station before an illegal eviction happens to let them know you're at risk. Report any harassment or threats that your landlord has made. The police will probably give advice over the phone.

How do you evict a tenant? ›

You apply to court to have a “tenant eviction order” issued to the tenant. The court issues the “tenant eviction order” to the tenant and the municipality whose jurisdiction the property is in, 14 days before the court hearing. The court hearing takes place. The tenant is entitled to offer a valid defence.

Can I sue my landlord for emotional distress UK? ›

Yes, you can sue your landlord for stress, if this emotional distress occurred as a direct result of a housing disrepair. This is because as a tenant, your landlord has a legal duty of care towards you. This duty of care applies to private landlords, housing associations and local councils.

Are landlords responsible for their tenants behaviour? ›

As a landlord, you're not technically liable for nuisance tenants or occupiers of your property. However, you may be liable if you've allowed the tenants to cause the nuisance or if, when renting out your property, you were aware that nuisance was inevitable or almost certainly going to occur.

What are examples of anti-social behaviour? ›

Antisocial behaviour can include:
  • noise.
  • shouting, swearing and fighting.
  • intimidation of neighbours and others through threats or actual violence.
  • harassment, including racial harassment or sectarian aggression. ...
  • verbal abuse.

What is antisocial noise? ›

Noise disturbance is by far the most common anti-social behaviour reported to the police, local authorities and housing associations. It could be loud music and parties, lots of banging, construction or DIY in the middle of the night – anything that you consider unreasonable and is affecting your life.

How do I report a harassing landlord in BC? ›

If you find yourself in a situation with a landlord that is breaking the rules, provide the landlord with either the BC Residential Tenancy Guide, or a printout from the Residential Tenancy Branch's website. If you have questions, call the RTB at 1-800-665-8779.

What is considered landlord harassment in California? ›

Landlord harassment is illegal in California. California Civil Code Section 1940.2 specifically forbids a landlord to force a tenant out of their home by: Displaying “forceful, threatening, willful, or menacing conduct” towards you or your guests.

What a landlord Cannot do Florida? ›

According to the Fair Housing Act, Florida landlords cannot ask potential renters questions about medical history, age, any disability, familial status, ancestry, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, color or race. Tenants cannot be discriminated against due to any of these reasons.

Can you be evicted for paying rent late? ›

Failure to pay the rent by the agreed upon date, constitutes an automatic breach of lease agreement and if this is not rectified, then it can lead to eviction from the premises, goods/possessions being attached, and being listed with the credit bureau.

What is no fault eviction? ›

'No-fault evictions', which allow private landlords to evict tenants, seemingly without any reason, have come under the spotlight recently as their use is reported to have trebled in the last eight years.

What is a Section 21 eviction notice? ›

What is a Section 21 notice? The Section 21 notice is the written communication from the landlord to the tenant that they are seeking to evict them. The notice itself should be given through tenancy form 6A in England, or a letter that includes all of the same information as the form.

Can my landlord come in without notice? ›

You are paying rent to the landlord for exclusive use as the property as your home and as such you have the right to decide who enters it and when. If a landlord enters your home without permission they are, technically, trespassing, unless they have a court order to allow them otherwise.

What does quiet enjoyment of a property mean? ›

It does not mean that the tenant has the right to enjoy a quiet property. Instead, it means that the tenant has the right to use their property without unreasonable or unnecessary interference from their landlord.

Can a landlord take possession? ›

If a possession order was granted at the hearing and you do not leave your home by the date specified in the order, your landlord can apply for a warrant of possession, which enables a county court bailiff to evict you.

Can I be evicted if I don't have a tenancy agreement? ›

Your landlord could give you a section 21 notice or a section 8 notice with this type of tenancy. You're entitled to a legal notice in writing even if you do not have a written tenancy agreement.

Can my landlord evict me to sell the house? ›

You cannot be evicted simply because the property is about to be sold. This is neither a reason to be evicted or a reason for the eviction to take an accelerated route. If the landlord wants you to leave the property, they must act within the boundaries of the law.

Does a landlord have to give notice to end a fixed term tenancy? ›

A landlord can end a tenancy at the end of the fixed term (usually 6 months) provided that the tenant has been given two months written notice in the form of a section 21 notice to quit.

Do you pay rent for the month you move out? ›

Answer: When a lease for a fixed term comes to an end, your obligation is to pay only the days that you continue to have the right to occupy the unit. Usually the landlord will prorate the rent for the days by calculating a daily rate.

What happens if you stop paying rent? ›

Risk of court action by the landlord

Your landlord can take court action if you owe them money. They have up to 6 years to make a claim. They will need your name and address. They could find you at a later date even if you do not give a forwarding address.

Will a tenant pay rent after quit notice? ›

Paying Rent After Serving Notice

After notice is served on the tenant, they must pay within the time frame in the notice, so if the tenant gets a three-day notice to pay rent or quit, they must pay within three days. Once the tenant pays, they have cured the breach of the lease and cannot be evicted.

What a landlord Cannot do in Tennessee? ›

Landlords are prohibited from harassing or retaliating against tenants who exercise their legal rights. In Tennessee, the landlord must not terminate, refuse to renew a lease, or fine a tenant for complaining to the landlord regarding the deposit, complaining to a government agency, or exercising a legal right.

What is considered landlord harassment in Washington state? ›

Refusing to Accept Rent Payments as a Means of Intimidation

Actually, refusing the rent as an attempt to threaten the tenant into leaving or retracting a complaint is landlord harassment.

How do I file a complaint against my landlord in Colorado? ›

Problems with your landlord? Call,Colorado Housing Connects at 1-844-926-6632. The Colorado Division of Housing does not enforce any housing codes nor mediate landlord/tenant disputes.

What constitutes landlord harassment in Colorado? ›

Landlord harassment is when the landlord creates conditions that are designed to encourage the tenant to break the lease agreement or otherwise abandon the rental property that he or she is currently occupying.

What rights do renters have in Tennessee? ›

You cannot be evicted without notice. The landlord cannot change the locks or shut off your utilities to make you leave. Most of the time, a landlord needs to go to court before evicting you. If you did something dangerous or threatening, the landlord only needs to give you three (3) days to move out.

How do I report a landlord in Tennessee? ›

Tennessee Department of Consumer Affairs 500 James Robertson Pkwy Nashville, TN 37243-0600 Phone: 615-741-4737 Fax: 615: 532-4994 Inside TN: 800-342-8385 Email: Consumer.Affairs@tn.gov TDCA offers free mediation services for complaints regarding the Landlord Tenant Act. An attorney is still required.

Can landlords do random inspections? ›

Landlords and their agents or contractors should only carry out work or inspect your home at reasonable times. You're entitled to: at least 24 hours' written notice of an inspection. reasonable notice if someone needs access to your home to carry out repairs.

What a landlord Cannot do? ›

Landlords cannot enter tenanted properties without giving proper notice. Landlords cannot arbitrarily end someone's tenancy before the lease expires. Arbitrary, mid-lease rent increases are not permitted unless specified in certain circumstances in the lease or by the municipality.

Who do I report my landlord to Washington State? ›

What can you do if you think your landlord is discriminating against you? You can file a complaint with the Washington State Human Rights Commission (WSHRC). You can call the WA HRC at 1-800-233-3247. Get more information and a complaint form: www.hum.wa.gov/file-complaint.

What a landlord Cannot do in Washington State? ›

Landlords are generally prohibited from locking a tenant out of the premises, from taking a tenant's property for nonpayment of rent (except for abandoned property under certain conditions), or from intentionally terminating a tenant's utility service.

What are tenants rights in Colorado? ›

Tenants. Tenant rights state that they may exercise their right to habitable housing whenever they consider it appropriate; this includes asking for utilities in good condition, getting repairs in a reasonable amount of time, and collecting their security deposit once they leave the premises.

Can a landlord enter without permission in Colorado? ›

Repairs and Maintenance

However, landlords are required to provide advance notice to their tenants before they can enter the property. A landlord is permitted to enter without notice only in the case of an emergency, such as a serious water leak or a fire.

How much notice does a landlord have to give a tenant to move out in Colorado? ›

A landlord needs to give a written notice to the tenant to move-out allowing 21 days for the tenant to vacate – specifying the exact date on when the tenancy will end.

Is Colorado tenant friendly? ›

Colorado

Colorado currently has one of the lowest property taxes in the country (0.55%), making it a good choice for real estate investors. But of course, that's not all it has going for it: it's also a very landlord-friendly state for rental businesses.

What can I do if my landlord enters without permission? ›

What Can Happen If a Landlord Enters Without Notice
  1. The tenant can call the police. ...
  2. The tenant can potentially sue you for invasion of privacy or harassment. ...
  3. The tenant can potentially sue for breach of lease.
2 Jun 2014

Can tenant refuse viewings? ›

You do not have to allow viewings if they are not mentioned in your contract. You could say that they must only take place at certain times. If you refuse viewings and your agreement says you must allow access, you might find it difficult to get a reference or have problems with getting your deposit back.

Videos

1. How Do You Handle a Bad Landlord
(TherapyNotes)
2. What is Landlord Harassment
(Plain Law)
3. Harassed by your Landlord watch this
(Julia M. Spencer)
4. Landlord harassing me with her friend, who tried to physically block me from closing my door.
(Sierra)
5. Is Your Landlord Harassing You?
(Jamesia Johnai)
6. 10 Things Landlords Must Never Do |Understand your landlord obligations| Landlord legal obligations
(Property Investment Lawyers - UK Landlord Lawyers)

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