Dealing With Bad Renters and Landlords Dealing With Bad Renters and Landlords
In any society, there are good people, bad people, and indifferent people. In the renting world, there are tenants who punch holes in the wall, snuff cigarettes on the countertop, and allow their cute little puppies to eat the carpeting and furniture. Then there are landlords who are unreasonable, unapproachable, and are interested only in the rent being paid on time. For this reason, rules and regulations abound, and both landlord and tenant are protected by the law. This article discusses this situation, and some of the things that you can do to improve your conditions.
The Bad Tenant
The biggest problems tenants cause are loud parties, destruction of property, late or unpaid rent, and drug offenses. Young people are a common source of problems because they haven’t yet learned to respect others’ property. Some people seem to think that because they pay rent, they can do as they please. Loud parties are common complaints of other tenants and landlords. If that is the case, the landlord is responsible for addressing the issue.
There is no excuse for the landlord to allow a tenant’s bad behavior to disrupt the lives of others. The landlord is obligated to address this problem. If he doesn't, then other tenants have the right to call the police to complain. That is especially important if crime, such as drug dealing, is involved. The downside is that once a bad tenant is ensconced in a unit, evicting the tenant is both costly and time consuming. A great deal of damage can be done, and the landlord cannot usually retrieve back rent and payment of damages. The National Tenancy Database, a subscription based service, has a list of known offenders and is a great help for landlords wishing to screen prospective tenants.
The Bad Landlord
The biggest problems with landlords are raising rent, unlawful eviction, refusing to fix problems with the housing unit, refusing to return your security deposit without cause, entering your home without warning.
A landlord can be just as bad as the worst tenant. Remember, landlords are in the business to make money. Sometimes they own the building, and other times, they work for a rental agency and could care less about the upkeep of the building or the issues of the tenants. If that is the case, tenants have the right to organize a tenant's association. This group can better deal with a poor landlord than an individual can. The law gives you the right to develop a tenant's association, and any landlord that tries to harass or hinder either the forming of the association or the individuals of the association are subject to prosecution. Plans for forming a tenant's association can be found online.
Dealing With Slumlords
We have all heard stories about slumlords. These unscrupulous people buy property that is structurally and aesthetically challenged for little or no money down. Often they rent to the poor and disadvantaged, such as immigrants that are not in the country legally because they are not likely to complain. Unethical individuals buy these properties, milk them for all they’re worth, and move on to a new property when maintenance of the building becomes a hassle. Many neighborhoods are ruined by the actions of slumlords. Generally, the only recourse for tenants and concerned citizens is in the form of government intervention, which involves passing burdensome and expensive laws. What the tenant can do, especially if the landlord is an absentee one, is to report the building’s condition to the Board of Health.
Most often, the things that define a slum are bad plumbing, electrical issues, unclean common areas, and unsafe living conditions.
Complaining generally has little effect, but the BOH Health can help. The BOH will inspect the property, contact the owner, and request a hearing. If the owner fails to comply, then a judge of the Housing Court will rectify the situation. Contacting the Board of Health should be done carefully. Take pictures or videos to document the condition of the building and be prepared to testify in court. Writing to the editor of the local newspaper is ill-advised, because the owner will often sue for libel, which will cost the tenant far more than he or she can afford.
Being a landlord is one of the toughest occupations in the world. Renting can be the biggest hassle of your life. Establishing a good relationship with the landlord is paramount in renting. Don't start the first month in your new home by making an enemy of the landlord. Still, keep in mind that renting should be beneficial to both you and your landlord, and your landlord has obligations under the law that he must fulfill. Always be sure to know your rights, always read the whole lease along with any rental agreements, and you have won half the battle.
Questions about dealing with your landlord? Look here for answers.