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How to Deal With Landlord Harassment

Almost half of our population choose rentals over homeownership as it is much more convenient and economical. But unfortunately, it is not always as peaceful as one would expect.

This is mainly due to the unlawful harassment from the landlord in an attempt to terminate the lease agreement. In most of these cases, landlord-tenant relationships can go south, and things can get out of hand. This can ultimately affect and disrupt the life of the tenant. According to the laws, any kind of inappropriate behavior by the landlord is illegal.

As a tenant, it is crucial to understand what harassment is and know the legal actions they can take against it.

On a brief note, harassment is when someone uses aggressive actions against you in order to get what they want. The following are some of the steps you can take in an instance of harassment.

Call the Police and File a Complaint.

The moment you realize that you are a victim of harassment, the first thing that you should do is inform the police. You can file a complaint by following these steps:

  1. Go to the local police station within your area.
  2. Report the whole incident to the officer-in-charge and ask him to file a complaint.
  3. Take your witnesses along with you.
  4. I suggest you go to straight the police station instead of filing the complaint on the telephone.
  5. Always take a copy or a photo of the FIR or any document that you submit for further procedures.

Ask the Local Authority or Council for Help

Landlord harassment can be disturbing, primarily when the tenant is residing alone. If you ever face this situation, please don’t hesitate.

Communicate with the local authority or council for help. We would suggest you join or become a member of a tenants’ union or any such groups. Get in touch with the tenant relationships representative of that council and share your incident with them.

The council members or officer will then communicate with your landlord on your consideration. In case of a serious issue, they might assist you in taking legal action against the landlord. The council’s department will also help you in finding accommodation when the landlord is compelling you to leave the rental home.

Always keep or maintain records

It is very crucial to maintain records. Before you reside, make sure that all the paperwork is complete. Ask the landlord to put all communications in writing, and you should do the same. Keep copies of every signed agreement.

  • Maintain an organized copy of your rental agreements
  • Make sure to note the dates and times on your calendar, a record of all the documents or deals that you signed for the lease.
  • Keep a diary and maintain what was said during your conversation with your landlord.
  • Take a photos
  • Install security cameras for your safety and make videos.

You might not need pictures and copies of these documents daily. However, in case of any emergency or harassment, these would be your supporting proof. These documents and evidence will be needed when the tenant is taking any legal claim against the landlord. Maintaining these records could significantly improve the chances of winning the case against the landlord.

Note the date, time, and nature of the harassment. If the landlord is sexually harassing you or sending you inappropriate messages over text or calls, you should save that as evidence. Maintain each piece of evidence that supports your case and is related to the incident in any manner.

Hire a Lawyer

Before hiring a legal professional, we would suggest you talk to the landlord first. Ask him to stop the kind of incidents. If you are not comfortable talking alone, you may ask the council member to support you.

Communication might help you in solving the issue. However, if there is no solution after communicating with them, you may take a legal step and hire a lawyer.

The professionals may help you with the legal proceedings and the laws that you should know in such a situation.

The professionals will guide you and make you understand what you can do and what you shouldn’t do in this situation.

When going to court:

On the court date, be sure you are well prepared before you attend the case. Collect all your evidence and witness notes, videos, and go over your story once more. Arrive 30 minutes before the given time so that you have enough time to find the courtroom and reach on time. Avoid being late as it creates a negative impression on the judge.

Always Have a Witness

There have been cases where the landlords harass you because they want you to move out of the house. They might misbehave and do the wrong situations to make the tenant’s living conditions worse. However, the tenants need to know that any such action is illegal. The landlords cannot take any such action to terminate a lease agreement.

In these situations, it is advisable to contact the police at the earliest. You should have a witness or a friend to support you. Ask your friends to join you and record the conversations with the landlord. This can be your proof, which can later be used in court.

Conclusions

Landlord harassment is a criminal offense, and you should always raise your voice against it.

It is against the law for the property owners to harass a tenant or force them to leave before the lease terminates. The landlords and tenants both have certain rights. The landlord can evict them in certain situations. However, no law grants them to misbehave and harass the tenant. Different states and nations have a different set of provisions that protect the right of both parties.

About half of the population of the world lives as a tenant. Therefore, both sides must understand and follow the legal guidelines. It will be excellent if some of the fundamental legal rights are highlighted in the agreement.
With the awareness of these rights, a tenant can enjoy an ideal residing in the property.

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