How to Deal with Nosy Landlords
I live in California and I know that my landlord can enter my apartment without permission but only if it’s an emergency. And by emergency, that means in the event of fire, and leaks and so on. But I have a very nosy landlord who asks who my visitors are, checks my mail and I suspect, even getting inside my apartment when I’m not around. I’m in a lease agreement so I can’t just move out yet – or else, I’m going to pay a whole lot of fees that I cannot afford.
But a few months after the endless suspicions of trespassing, I have finally resolved my issue with my landlord. Thanks to RPA and their complaint center. In addition, I received numerous tips from friends and family.
Let me share to you some of the words of wisdom that I’ve been taught.
- I talked to my landlord about it. Not really shouted at her for being so nosy or accused her right away. What I did was I used a lot of “what if’s”. Yes, it was an indirect approach but it was worth it. I didn’t really tell her to stop, I told her that tenants have the right to privacy and sometimes, they would need that private space to themselves. So, you see? I generalized the issue.
- I wrote her a letter. It was a friendly letter. It started off by saying thank you for sending someone over to check my apartment. And then it ended by me saying that hopefully, I would be informed in advance next time so I can tidy up. I also have a dog, which made it easier for me to create an excuse. I just said that my dog can sometimes be temperamental and I wouldn’t want to cause any injuries.
- It’s time to get tough. If the two friendly approaches didn’t work, then it’s time to get tough. If you can’t talk to your landlord vis-à-vis, then write another letter but this time with stronger wordings. You can remind your landlord about the legal consequences of trespassing. You can even quote some provisions in your state tenant laws to make it more assertive and formal.
- File a complaint against your landlord. Prior to a lawsuit, which could cost a lot, file a formal complaint against your landlord through a mediator company. I used RPA’s services for this. This is also the link that I used to access their complaint center: http://www.rentalprotectionagency.com/complaint_center.php. Filing a formal complaint is more threatening to your landlord because of the implications involved. You see, when you file a complaint and your landlord does not cooperate, there will be repercussions involved. For instance, your landlord can get a negative image that will be distributed in all major search engines. That is something that your landlord may not want to happen and in most cases, it is an effective way of resolving a tenant-landlord dispute.
- Move and file a lawsuit. Repeated abuses of your right to privacy may become a valid reason for you to terminate your lease early. But this should only be done upon the advice of a lawyer so that you will still get your security deposit back.
Throughout the negotiations and the steps you took to try to protect your privacy, never withhold rent or change the locks. These are illegal and could get you evicted. You don’t want to be sued for that. I didn’t want that either so I just continued to do my responsibilities as a tenant.
If you are not sure that your landlord is going inside your apartment, you can leave signs like a magic tape so when the door is opened, you it’ll hang and you’ll know that someone has been in your apartment without permission. You can also invest on a security camera but that may be too expensive for you. Just explore all your options.
Remember, a nosy landlord will continue to be nosy until you teach him a lesson of respecting your privacy.
Edited on: Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 12:03 am
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