How to Deal with Nosy Landlords

By Tenant

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.

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3.  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.
  4.  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: 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.
  5.  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

10 Responses to “How to Deal with Nosy Landlords”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


February 12th, 2013 12:20 am

On the contrary, I love nosy landlords because they keep everything in order. They know of building problems and have them repaired even before we realized that they exist. This makes living in their apartments way easier. However, I wouldn’t want them to go through my personal stuff though. Here in my state, it is legal for a landlord to enter the apartment without permission so I kinda got used to it.


February 12th, 2013 10:40 pm

I’d flip if I knew that my landlord has been entering my property. Yes, technically they own it but since I’m on a lease, then that means it’ll be my private space until the lease ends.


February 13th, 2013 6:00 pm

Get those security cameras installed. I wouldn’t mind spending just to make sure that I’m getting the privacy that I want – and paid for in the form of my rent!


February 14th, 2013 1:20 pm

If you can’t afford one of those security cameras, then you can just make your landlord believe that you have them installed. During a casual conversation, tell your landlord that you have a video of someone entering your apartment but you are not sure who it is. That should scare your landlord into stopping.


February 15th, 2013 8:40 am

Ok. You did all those.. Now are you ready to move? Because for sure, your landlord will not take your actions against him lightly.


February 16th, 2013 4:00 am

Oh no..the “talk to him in a friendly manner” will not work for me. My right to privacy has been violated once and I’m not going to let that happen again. So on the first instance, I’m going to jump directly to number 4 and file a complaint against the landlord. He doesn’t deserve my respect since he didn’t respect me and my rights in the first place.


February 16th, 2013 11:40 pm

The problem with some senior landlords is that just because we are renting in their apartment, then they will go all nuts and act like they’re our parents.


February 17th, 2013 7:00 pm

This usually happens when the landlord is always living on site. That’s why when I’m looking for an apartment, I always make it a point to ask if the landlord is also living on site or not.


February 18th, 2013 2:20 pm

I actually prefer it if the landlord is living on site because it would make it easier to reach them for repairs and other apartment-related concerns.


February 19th, 2013 9:40 am

I had the worst experience. My landlord allowed his maintenance man inside my apartment without my permission. And you know what the maintenance guy did? He made over a hundred phone calls, watched TV, took a shower and even made himself a sandwich! And worse thing is, I caught him still watching TV! And he just sheepishly said that he’s been waiting for me to tell me that my pipes have been fixed. Again, I didn’t authorize this entry and that made me so mad, I was shouting at my landlord!


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