Landlord Harassment

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Industry Observer License #035626

In United States real estate law, people who have been harassed by their landlord or any person working for their landlord in an effort to make the person abandon their rental contract, have legal rights of protection. Often, in areas of the country that offer rent control, property owners will harass their tenants into moving out so that the rent can be raised for the new tenant. While this is illegal and ethically wrong, it can be difficult to prove. In the event the landlord commits a crime while harassing their tenant, many regions will punish the landlord more severely.

Landlord harassment can take many forms. For instance, when a property owner refuses to repair the property, keep up with landscaping, or trash collection, this can be a means to irritate a tenant. If they continually reference improper behavior on the part of the tenant, mutilation of the property, or create a great deal of noise, these acts too can be harassment. While some of these mentioned methods of harassment might in fact be deliberate, it is harder to substantiate. It is vital to document any potential harassment in the event the situation escalates. Obvious harassment would be considered verbal or written threats of physical injury or financial harm, or even actual physical assault. In situations of this type, it is best to contact law enforcement officials immediately to substantiate your claim of harassment.

Under the Human Rights Act, tenants are guaranteed certain freedoms, such as the right to enjoy their own private life and possessions within the property. There are many pieces of legislation at the federal level of government to protect a tenant, and many local and state governments have their own layers of protection in force. In many instances, a property owner can become angry with a tenant if the tenant has been vocal about an issue or has complained to a government agency about living conditions. The landlord however, is not at liberty to retaliate in any fashion against the tenant. This means that not only can the property owner not evict the tenant; they also cannot raise their rent or make changes to the terms of the rental contract within six months of the tenant's complaint. In the event a tenant sues their property owner for harassment of a retaliatory type, the burden of proof is on the landlord to show they did not engage in any tactics of retaliation against the tenant. If the retaliatory activities took place after six months have passed from the date of complaint by the tenant, the burden of proof lays with the tenant.

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Bruce Swedal 
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Rainer
12,452
Maygan Smith
Dennis Realty & Property Management, Spring Hill, FL - Spring Hill, FL

Thanks for sharing this post as I have been a little confused in the past who the burden of proof lays with. It can be a little tricky.

Jul 07, 2011 04:12 PM #1
Rainmaker
146,806
Krista Lombardi
Prudential Calfornia Realty - San Diego, CA

Hi Bruce,

This is especially true in California. Often renters have more rights than landlords. Ive met lots of shady landlords and it's nice to see that CA takes steps to protect renters.  

Jul 07, 2011 05:11 PM #2
Anonymous
Anonymous

Bruce - great post here . I use to own rental property day my last property SOLD I was FREE of all the problems ;p

Enjoy your Wednesday ;p dallas homes for rent by owner dallas houses for rent by owner lynn911.com

 

Jul 27, 2011 11:23 AM #3
Anonymous
Amy Kloosterman

Thanks so much for this information. It couldn't have come at a better time because I'm in the beginning stages of pressing charges against my current landlord. I'm 21 years old and I've never rented an apartment of my own prior to this. I have been bullied, harrassed and threatened for the past 7 months and I just recently found out about my rights as a tennant.

Aug 28, 2012 12:33 PM #4
Anonymous
Rebecca

I wonder if the fact that my landlord only gave me one date for a floor repair and only possible aproximate weeks that maybe avalible and is now claiming that she cncled 4 dates with a floor repair person counts as a refusal to repair my floor? I also have a screen door that she has not fixed for over a year the floor is going on 6 months and when I fixed a drain that I thought was just a leaky faucet that needed tightening( it was the kitchen and I did not know if I would have to wait weeks or months, the faucet is still not fixed and she has been notified for two months now) and then billed her for the repair and carpert removal for the bathroom she now is threatening to have me evicted. Is this harassment? She keeps saying that I should move out because I am ocasionally late with the rent but I always pay in full including late fee. I have to wait on child support which is not always the 1st of the month.

Jun 18, 2013 12:25 PM #5
Anonymous
Stephanie

On september 21st 2013 I was off work. When I returned to work on September 22nd 2013, my manager and co-workers notified me that my landlord was up there asking them if I still worked there, and telling them that she rented to me. My question is, Is she allowed to do that?

Sep 27, 2013 02:17 PM #6
Anonymous
kim
So i have a question my son lives in franklin County Va and rented an apt about 3 months ago the landlord is always showing up and telling my son nobody is allowed at the apt he has told my son he is evicting him.My son has paid his rent and deposit has not had any loud parties even though the neighbors have.Last night my son had a few friends over they were watching videos on youtube and the landlord tried braking into the apt.My son opened the door the landlord demanded he be let in to the apt my son stated he had no reason to be there and as the lease stats he must give a 24hr notice if he wants to inspect the apt.My son decided it was worth the issue and told everyone to leave but the landlord called the police .So after the police showed up and ran my sons social security number they told the landlord he was over reacting and told me son to have a good night.Less then an hour later the landlord was back calling the police again for no reason then my son had one friend over he does not want any one other hten the tenant in the apt.At 6am this morning my son and his friend are sleeping and the cops are back knocking on the door because the landlord called them again.Again the police did nothing because there was nothing going on.My son is at work and gets a call from the landlord that he is having my friends car towed the my son barrowed.This is crazy and this is harrasment correct?What can my son do he has put all his money to move into the place.
Dec 29, 2013 10:48 AM #7
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Rainmaker
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Bruce Swedal

Denver Real Estate
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