How You Can Handle Difficult Landlords
No matter how well you follow the terms of the contract, some landlords are more difficult than others because they are overly strict. Not to worry. It can be annoying, but managing a demanding or overbearing landlord is possible. Here are some essential tips for how you can handle difficult landlords.
Renting inevitably involves landlords. We get to pick the rental home we want, but we don’t get to pick the landlord who comes with it. Occasionally, we’re fortunate enough to have a landlord with whom we get along well. Sometimes we’re unlucky; for example, many landlords tend to be nit-picky about every supposed “violation,” have slow maintenance response times, and refuse to refund deposits.
Pay your bills.
This goes without saying, but you have to ensure you are paying your bills on time as a tenant. Even if your landlord is outright difficult, this one act will hopefully build a little trust in your relationship.
Know your rights.
To protect against the pushy landlord, learn your rights. Familiarise yourself with the terms of your tenancy agreement and the rental laws of your state or country. For example, your landlord cannot, under any circumstances, seize any item or property of yours as a tenant or interfere with your access to your personal property.
Pick your battles.
Having a difficult landlord is like dealing with a difficult family member or colleague, you can not resolve every issue but you can be the rather essential ones. If your landlord is consistently unresponsive, stop communicating about every small issue that needs to be fixed. The more you talk to them, the more likely it is that they won’t care since they already don’t care. It’s preferable that you pick the issues that are most important to you to argue about. They must maintain the property in functional condition as required by law. However, what that means to you might not mean the same thing to your landlord. So, if you must choose, choose for the improvements that are undeniably necessary to make the house liveable.
Another thing on our list of essential tips for dealing with a difficult landlord is to save a copy of the signed lease for your own records. Put your repair requests or complaints in writing and keep copies of them if your landlord tends to neglect concerns with the property. This way, you’ll have documentation of your requests in case further action is required.
Communicate with other tenants.
If you live in an apartment complex, it’s a good idea to speak with other residents to find out if they’re having the same problems as you. You can work together to speak to the landlord as a group if, after speaking with a few people, you discover it’s a problem that affects the entire building. Or, even better, you might find that other tenants have solutions to your particular issues that they can share with you.
Understand your lease.
This is not the fine print of signing up for a new app on your phone. This is your home. It is important that you review your lease, so that you understand your obligations in addition to your landlord’s.
Even if it’s true that some landlords may overlook some small offences, even if they are stated in the lease, you need to have a clear idea of how you and your landlord will interact: Since this is a business connection, there could be penalties if you break the terms. As a result, you should be aware of the following regulations:
- Late rent payment (penalties, grace periods, etc.)
- How much notice you must give for renewing or moving out
- Pets and any additional costs
- Guests and whether people can be unattended
- Subletting your rental space
That is just a small sample of what you should look for. Your lease may be much more detailed. In any case: read the fine print.
Remember to be civil when you disagree with your landlord, just as you would when you disagree with a customer service representative.
But keep in mind that you are the client. You have the right to request the services that your lease and the law require from your landlord if they are being uncooperative. Be polite, but also persistent and determined.
Lastly, if these essential tips for dealing with difficult landlords aren’t enough, it might be time to decide if it’s time to move on when (or before) the lease is up. Ask yourself, “Do the benefits of living in this property outweigh the difficulties?”
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