How to deal with a bad landlord that just doesn't care…

July 15 2013 | Guest post by Jill
Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
"I don't care" mini embroidery banner by ArtandAroma
My husband and I really love our three bedroom upper duplex, and we get it for a really great price. We've lived here for almost three years. We couldn't imagine moving right now. The problem is that our bad landlord — the property management company that could not care less about anything that we contact them about. We have to call five-to-eight times to get anything fixed.

I can see on Google places that the landlord has terrible reviews, and terrible BBB reviews. But the other problem is that this is a huge company! They manage about a quarter of all the rental properties in my city, so I worry that if we handle this badly, we may lose a lot of housing opportunities.

What are your tips on dealing with landlords that just don't care?
-hiimcailin

I would start by googling the "Tenants Bill of Rights" for your area. These usually contain details on your landlord's obligations to you and specifics on your legal recourse if they are not met. If and when your landlord doesn't respond to a maintenance request or other issue, email or fax them your Tenants Bill of Rights, and inform them that you will be withholding rent until the problem is resolved.

There's also the slightly-less nuclear version, which is tell the landlord that if they don't have time to deal with the problem, you can hire someone to do the repairs and then take the money out of the rent check (with bill attached). That usually only needs to happen once for them to get with the program.

Also, if you have to make multiple requests to fix a problem, make sure that you document the dates of the requests — this will help you if the landlord tries to deny that they were informed of the problem.

What are the ways YOU deal with a bad landlord?

  1. We're in something of the same situation as you (although seriously considering moving out), since our building was recently bought by an Evil Property Management company (see also: http://offbeathome.com/2013/01/how-to-deal-with-evil-property-management-companies). I don't really have much advice, since we still haven't gotten our oven fixed, and it's been weeks since we first called them. (In our case, I'm not sure they merely don't care, I think they might be trying to make our lives difficult, since they're trying to renovate the building, and would like us to leave…). Good luck!

    • Same situation here – it's been almost a year since we first reported a leak in the basement. With photos. I've called the office multiple times, but only successfully reached a live person once.

      Weeks after the first report, they sent out someone to check out the roof (thinking that's where the leak originated – not unreasonable, we were having unusually extreme rainfall at the time). He found nothing, so they closed our ticket without fixing anything.

      We spent some time messing with various faucets and tracked down the source of the leak, then opened another ticket. More photos. This time, it took *months* for them to reply (no one ever answered the office phone, ended up leaving several messages asking for an update on our service request). Eventually, they sent a plumber, who took one look and told us he needed to talk to the landlord first because it was too complicated to fix that day. They closed our ticket and we never heard from them again.

      That was months ago.

      Now, in addition to the leak, one of our stovetop burners doesn't turn off. As in, if you turn the dial to Low, the element immediately goes red-hot as if we'd turned it to High, and doesn't power down for at *least* ten minutes after turning the dial off (unless we turn off the power to the kitchen directly from the fusebox). Yes, it's terrifying, but no, I haven't been able to reach the property manager.

      Not sure what else we can do at this point, other than drive all the way out to the office – which isn't even remotely near where we live – and hope to talk to someone directly.

      • For the stove burner, you could unplug that burner completely if it is the old type of electric stove with coils. Here are some directions if you have not done that before: http://www.ehow.com/how_4763454_heating-element-electric-stove-top.html

        Of course, if you do that you won't be able to use that burner, but you will be able to use the other three. If the burner worries you enough and you can't get your landlord to fix it this might be a good temporary solution.

      • I had a similar situation with our oven at our last place. Only the oven would overheat and heat up the counter tops on either side of it. I went to the leasing office and told them about it and after i got a "well that sucks" response i took it into writing. The moment is said "This is a fire hazard, i am worried about the safety of myself and my partner and our neighbors. If this is not fixed the building could burn down." as soon as I "threatened" the danger of it, they sent someone out.

      • Call your local building inspection department. Your landlord will absolutely catch hell from the city and be forced to pay fines if dangerous issues aren't taken care of. That usually lights a fire under their butts.

      • if it's something dangerous or an emergency (like a pipe burst or your toilet doesn't work) most places have a law that if your landlord wont fix it right away you are allowed to call in a professional and deduct the cost from your next month's rent.
        having dealt with slumlords for many years, it's been my experience that it's usually a lot easier to just fix things myself. case in point: becoming a toiletologist and planning to paint my apartment later in the summer which it desperately needs. i'm not strictly allowed to do any repairs or alterations but what are they going to do? deduct from my damage deposit for improving the place in ways they should have been doing anyway?

  2. I would start by googling the Tenants Bill of Rights for your area. These usually contain details on your landlord's obligations to you and specifics on your legal recourse if they are not met. If and when your landlord doesn't respond to a maintenance request or other issue, email or fax them the TBR and inform them that you will be withholding rent until the problem is resolved.

    There's also the slightly-less nuclear version, which is tell the landlord that if they don't have time to deal with the problem, you can hire someone to do the repairs and then take the money out of the rent check (with bill attached). That usually only needs to happen once for them to get with the program.

    Also, if you have to make multiple requests to fix a problem, make sure that you document the dates of the requests – this will help you if the landlord tries to deny that they were informed of the problem.

    • I agree with all of this except the withholding rent part. You have to actually put it into an escrow account because if you just don't pay them they can and most likely will evict you for that. Escrow basically takes your rent money (so you are still paying) and simply doesn't give it to the landlord until the proper repairs are done. We dealt with this with a previous landlord and had to end up putting our rent into escrow multiple times to get stuff fixed.

      • I would add one more option.

        After check your Tenant Bill of Rights for the how-to of this situation in your area, the other option is using your rent money to resolve your maintenance issues yourself. Just include the receipts with your diminished rent payments and a letter of explanation. If they cash your check, they accept your solution (at least in California) and not only is your maintenance problem solved, you're also done talking to your land lord.

        The people who said document everything are exactly right. If you have to go to court/mediation you want to be able to prove your case. I would start a three ring binder and keep copies of EVERYTHING.

    • I agree. Threatening to bring up legal actions is the best way to get someone to do what they are suppose to do. I know with my old apartment it was a cheap rental owned by a company that owned more expensive rentals. We were on the bottom of their to-do lists. The only way we could get them in would be if we told the secretary we were "threatening to sue." Usually someone came in the next day to fix said problem.

      Basically you are talking to a secretary, not the maintenance people, the higher up. Being able to say "We have some legal issues going on, I need to talk to someone higher up if this doesn't get fixed" usually gives a secretary the red flag to pass the information on.

      As Jill mentioned, threatening to hire an outside source to fix the problem and charge the company is another "red flag" to get the job done. It worked for me to get a few things fixed.

    • You need to be careful about withholding rent, even if your landlord isn't doing necessary repairs. I live in Ontario, Canada, and withheld rent after the roof of my apt. fell in after my upstairs neighbour had a major flood. I was evicted for not paying my rent; even though the judge was very sympathetic, the law dictated I be evicted. Make sure you're aware of the landlord/tenant legislation in your area! There are often provisions in landlord/tenant laws for dealing with landlords who don't hold up their end of the deal. Best of luck!

  3. I agree document document document EVERYTHING. Every call, message and save the voicemails they leave you if possible. That way when you do get fed up and go to the rent withholding stage you'll have a nice tidy paper trail.

    • A side note to this is to consider contacting them in writing. Email and certified mail. Then you have a record of what was sent when, and with certified mail, someone needs to sign that they received it. You might also check your lease, which should specify how to contact the landlord.

  4. Ugh…I live in Montreal, and there's a slumlord problem here. Lots of "grey" area and off the books kind of stuff. Which means you might find a good deal, but, as in your case, you're on your own for most things. Here, thankfully, we also have a government body that regulates these things and tends to favour tenants, but the process is long and tedious. Do you have that kind of thing where you are? Of course, this can lead to bad blood, which doesn't really help in the long run.
    So, as we often do, some repairs might be worth doing on your own just to maintain a quality of life? It doesn't solve any problems, but a great apartment for a good price is hard to find, so maybe it's a pros and cons thing?
    Or, if you're feeling courageous, get what needs to be done, done, then hand in all your receipts at the end of the month, and say you'd like your costs to be deducted from your rent (some landlords will actually go for this, but it's a crap shoot). Lastly, can you make an arrangement with the landlord (in writing) that would cover something like that? I.e., we'll get stuff done if you compensate in the form of rent reduction, etc.? Like you said, they're huge, they're busy, and they own 25% of the town…maybe it would be a blessing for them to not have to deal with the details of leaky pipes or broken thermostats? I dunno…but I wish you luck. The ongoing saga of finding decent rentals…

  5. Similar situation — we've lived in our place 3 years, big property management company doesn't care. I had a broken fridge and a leaking sink faucet … I contacted them repeatedly over the course of a year and a half, calling, submitting work orders, complaining to the superintendent who said head office wasn't giving him any assistance and there was nothing he could do.

    So I took pictures. Look at the giant gap in my fridge door! Look at the fluid leaking out the back and staining the tile! Look at how much water is on my counter, visible because I put paper towel on it to soak it up! Printed those photos off, submitted them with a work order, AND emailed them to head office, and BAM — new fridge delivered randomly within 3 days, plumber came in to fix the sink a day later.

    I think sometimes those large companies just hear too many complaints and if they don't have on-site resources (my last apt was a large property management company too, but there was a super AND a cleaning lady AND a fix-it guy on premises, so things got fixed because they could come see and assess the need), they just ignore requests until they get urgent.

    So yeah. Photos, photos, photos! It's hard for them to say something isn't broken or isn't broken enough to be fixed when the evidence is right there in front of them without having to do an inspection visit ­čÖé

    • Great idea!

      Just telling the landlord that something is broken might not get their attention. But if you tell them that it is causing ongoing damage, like you did with the tile, they are more likely to listen. (In my experience, anyway.)

  6. First, if a company is continuing to do business despite a terrible reputation and shady business practices, they are probably deep up in the Good Old Boy network in your town. That means that you may or may not get satisfaction going to any kind of housing authority etc, depending on whose cousin/lodge brother/son-in-law the owner of the company is. That sucks, but it's been my experience in the USA anyway. Some states don't allow tenants to withhold rent due to landlord disputes (this one is one of them) so I don't know that I'd take that option without doing some research. Ditto fixing things and deducting from the rent; that is something that varies by state, so be sure to look up the regulations for where you live.

    Also, just playing devil's advocate, having worked for a property management company; they sound huge. And huge means a lot of tenants calling all the time needing xyz. Yes, some people are reasonable and only call when something is really broken, but some people are nuts and call wanting crazytown stuff. (We used to have a woman call us every single day to complain because her neighbor in the apartment complex was cursing her with evil magic.) It might just be that your call is falling between the cracks. I like the poster above's suggestion that you take pictures of everything and email them to someone high up, like the head property manager. Keep copies of everything you send, too, and be persistent. It might not be that they don't "care", it might mean that they're swamped. Also, someone owns your home; and sometimes, the people who own rental property are the slum lords, who think that rent is magic money that shows up every month without them having to do anything or spend any money on the property. I don't know about where you live, but the company I worked for could not spend any money on repairs for any unit without the owner's permission…and sometimes it would take calling three or four times and getting cussed out by some shady yuppie living in another state before the owner would agree to allow the repair.

    If it's something drastic, like unsafe wiring or anything else that is potentially dangerous to you or keeping you from being able to live normally in your house(no water, no fridge, no heat), then I'd say if they don't do something about it ASAP, start figuring out who you need to talk to within your city about how it hasn't been fixed. If it's something small (the stair rail is wobbly, the carpet is torn, the faucet drips) then I'd say give them the benefit of the doubt, understanding that things that ARE drastic take precedence over other repairs. Good luck! I hope it works out!

  7. never underestimate the power of the registered letter. I've been astonished by how quickly things have gotten done after countless phone calls have borne no fruit.

  8. I definitely agree with the document everything suggestion, for every time you call also send them an email so you have every little scrap of communication in detail. Unfortunately this won't really effect how they're treating your issues now but it could potentially save your bacon if they try to screw you over later.

    We had a great apartment that was poorly managed, about 6 months after we moved in the water heater sprung a leak, no big problem for us as we the water bills were included in our rent and the heater was located over a sink so it didn't make a mess but we informed the leasing agent anyways and they told us they'd contact the owner of the property to get the warranty information and so on. Week later… nothing. So we sent them another email, and another, and another, each time receiving a response along the lines of 'oh, your water heater's leaking, we had no idea! No problem, we'll call the landlord and he'll send someone out by the end of the week'. Fast forward a year and a half (during which we sent them an email every month or so) and we've moved out and they've gone in to do the condition report to see if any repairs need to come out of our bond. Everything was in tip top condition… except the water heater. Duh. They then tried to tell us that as we had apparently never informed them of the leak which had over the last 18 months caused rust damage and all sorts the cost of repair would be coming out of our bond. Hahahahaha, no. As soon as we forwarded them all the emails they were of course all 'whoops, sorry, misunderstanding, never mind!' If we hadn't kept the emails as proof we had repeatedly told them about the leak who knows how much we'd be out of pocket now.

    So yeah, sorry for the very long comment but it seemed a relevant cautionary tale.

  9. You've already gotten lots of advice on the concrete, legal and practical strategies above. I just wanted to say you might also have to make some life quality decisions, too. How badly do you really want to keep this particular place? You may have to decide if it is worth keeping, regardless of what happens with your management company. Are you willing to hire somebody to make the repairs yourself if necessary? If yes, then – follow the strategies above, and if they don't work, get the repairs made. It's important that your home is safe and livable. If not – consider looking for another place to live that is NOT managed by this company.

    This happened to me, and in the end, the solution was : move. I know you said you can't imagine it right now, but try just thinking about it as a possibility. I know it sucks – I've moved a LOT.

    Make sure you leave reviews, too. Keep your reviews literal, concrete and precise (so you don't open yourself up to a lawsuit). And keep documentation of everything you include in your reviews.

    • Along with this, if you are going to relocate, and you're trying to find a place that doesn't belong to this company's network (you said that they have a LOT of properties in your location), start asking around. Ask your friends, co-workers, whoever, if they know of anything opening up around town or in the neighborhood you would prefer–and if they know if the property is part of X Company. You just never know, there could be a wonderful property opening up down the street that isn't part of the giant X Company.

      Oh, and good luck with things. While I have been relatively lucky (discounting the fact that I was viciously attacked on multiple occasions by my landlady's dog at one place I lived as a grad student and proceeded to have nightmares and anxiety around dogs even up to today), my sister and her husband are still in proceedings with a landlord they had a few years ago who broke a variety of laws with the properties he owned.

  10. Contact an organization that promotes tenant rights: they have lawyers to help you figure out what is the best course of action.

    As a lawyer myself, here's my tip: be informed of your rights and let the other side know you are. It's the best deterrent ever. The company knows there are laws over her head, it simply relies on people's ignorance to get going.

  11. We ran into this problem several times in our last apartment. When our landlord was unresponsive for days at a time, we simply took matters into our own hands, had the work done, and paid for it out of our rent money. Then we'd just mail the bill to our landlord along with the balance of what we owed on our rent check. Our landlord never complained, and I think they may have even preferred it this way. It cost them the same amount, and they didn't have to do the work of hiring a contractor. Of course, as other commenters have said, if you handle things this way, make copies of everything so you have a paper trail.

  12. Continue trying to get the landlord's attention (using the great advice you've gotten in previous comments) but start looking for a new place that is not owned by the same company. They have shown that they can't handle tenant issues in a reasonable timeframe and to me that makes them not worth dealing with unless their properties are there only ones you can afford in town. I've dealt with landlords that don't get things fixed, and nothing got them to change their ways. You just have to keep bugging them or decide that it isn't worth it and find a new place.

  13. After a couple of years living in an area ripe w/ slumlords and secretly-condemned apartments, I developed a simple strategy for apartment fixes: do it myself. Granted, I'm pretty handy and have friends/relatives who are plumbers, electricians, and roofers, which makes it a lot easier, but I did end up swallowing those costs. It just wasn't worth fighting with the company in terms of time or frustration. In the end I looked at it as a tradeoff: live roach-free in the clean building and have to do my own maintenance work in order to get it done soon, or move to some place where I was less comfortable.

    This is not at all to say that all individual landlords are slumlords, or that that even holds true where you may be, but sometimes going with the big property management company IS a tradeoff in terms of "customer service". It sucks, but I guess it's your choice whether to deal with that (and fight them for said service), to do it yourself, or to find someplace with a better landlord situation. :/

  14. In my job i deal a lot with people having issues like you do..I would just say for you to first off know that you have the legal right to live in a safe and habitable unit/dwelling.
    Depending on where you live there are many different resources to help you in situations where the manager is being a slumlord or negligent to the property.
    If its negligence call the local code enforcement agency for your area.. If calling them makes your landlord (or people you rent from) angry and they try to retaliate call the local Legal aid or Legal services (different cities have different names for all of their agencies : / ) which offers free legal help and advice.
    Just know that you do not need to put up with negligence and you have the right to live in a safe and healthy environment…
    The agencies are usually listed on the city website in which you live or county website..
    hope that wasn't too boring or that it helps..

  15. One other thing people didn't mention: It's Ok not to be polite. At some point you should contact them in writing, saying You have emailed and calledX # times, that the issue is a matter of extreme inconvenience/ safety / renter rights and not having
    it fixed is NOT okay. Make your anger show. At the time I thought we were play in
    good cop, bad cop but really only the bad cop tactics ever worked.

    • I would amend this to say you don't have to be "nice" but you do need to be polite. I think the language suggested above is polite without being nice. It is not okay to call names/yell/be belligerent. You can use your stern "I'm serious" voice. Being assertive =/= being mean.

      • Also, if you do somehow lose your temper or if you can't help raising your voice, especially when you're dealing with a big company, it can help to acknowledge that you're just angry/frustrated but that you know the person you're speaking to is trying to be helpful and is not at fault for the problems. Calling someone names or being mean to the service rep personally is never ok or helpful. As someone who's worked for service companies with irate customers before, I know it made a huge difference in how I felt about the call (and sometimes how high on my priority list the call went) if the person was yelling and abrupt and angry but took the time to clarify that their frustration was with the company or the issue and not with me personally.

        • Oh man, I hear ya! If I'm helping a customer and they're complaining about some policy of the company, I'm usually able to offer them some way to make their experience better. But if they're upset about a policy and get mad at me, I'm like, how much power do you think I have?!

  16. as someone on the other side of the coin here….. PLEASE let your landlord know when something is wrong. I own a home that I rent out. I am in the same town as my home and I have my cell phone with me at all times. I just had a tenant send me a letter saying that I am not attentive enough. When these tenants called me in the middle of the night with no heat, I had someone there within an hour. When there was water in the basement, I had someone there within 2 hours. I have no problem coming to aide when needed.

    This letter had an entire list of things like: The deck steps are dry and cracking and the dryer makes a squeeking noise and the finish on the kitchen floor is coming up…. All of these things would have been fixed if I had known about them. Was I expected to call every month and ask how things were going? I really didnt think so but maybe I should call for my next tenants.

    • As someone who rents a house, I have a list of things like that too. There are just lots of normal wear and tear things that happen to houses, so sometimes you have to make a concentrated effort to go around and make a list of everything at once.

      But unless they've contacted you about these things before, I don't think they can blame you. The first time we renewed our lease, the landlord came and did a walk through. But the second time we renewed the lease, he didn't even though we asked him to come look at a couple of things. So now we don't know if we should pester him about a lot of small things OR realize that they are small things but worry that in the end could diminish our security deposit.

  17. Fun tip on figuring out if a prospective property is owned by a company you are familiar with/know is not a responsible landlord: check your city or town's assessor database. At least in the US, most all property records are online and publicly viewable. Sometimes you have to make a profile and log in to view information, but generally the current owner for any given property is viewable. It also shows the most recent date of purchase and purchase price, in most cases (real estate agents use this information when advising clients on purchasing properties). If you look up your current property and see that the owner is "EvilCompany Inc", and then look at a prospective property and see the same name, you can know to steer clear. I know in some areas, it can be difficult to know who is actually managing the property. In my area, most of the buildings managed by management companies have a sign by the entrance with their name – I always tried to keep on the lookout for those when looking at prospective rentals, back when I was renting.

    If you ever have a true safety issue – such as a serious fire hazard like exposed wires, or anything that compromises a secondary egress point (like a rotted-out wooden back staircase, that sort of thing), check on what resources are available. The last rental I was in had an issue where the fire alarms would constantly go off in humid weather, and the alarm would shut off the elevator. I lived on the top floor and had suffered a bad injury, making it very difficult to go up and down all the stairs between my apartment and the exit. I was able to speak with the city fire marshal about it and the faulty fire alarms were replaced within 48 hours.

  18. I've had that problem before. It wasn't a big company, but the on-site manager just didn't care. It once took two months to fix a bathroom sink, so we had to go to the kitchen to wash our hands at all times, and then later the dishwasher broke, so she had it shut off, but it meant the garbage disposal didn't work. Oh, and there was a sag in the floorboards in our hallway (we were on the second floor) that kept getting larger, and when we finally got it looked at, she tried to say it must be because we had two chinchillas. This was ridiculous since a) they rarely were out if their cage, and b) I doubt they could even produce the amount if urine nessesary to cause a sag that big, even if they roamed free 24/7.

    Anyway, we finally got around it by befriending the handyman when the manager did deem to send him out. We got kinda lucky because it turns out him and his dad did freelance work and needed help figuring out their taxes. My husband is a tax preparer, so he helped them out, and Mike ( the handy man) bumped us to the top if the repairs list. And he gave us his cell in case of emergencies. He's actually our go to guy for repairs we can't handle ourself now that we're home owners. We pay him a fair rate, and we know he won't cut corners so its a good relationship.

    Obviously, our situation was a bit unique, but what you can take from it is to try and befriend maintenance personal when they do come by. It never hurts to leave a tip, and/or a note of thanks and maybe mention that there are cold beverages in the fridge. People go the extra mile when they feel appreciated, and if they see your unit on the to do list again later, they may be more inclined to make sure to get to you in a timely fashion.

  19. Wow, how relevant.

    Last year, when TS Beryl (or maybe Debby? I don't remember) came through, my roof sprang a leak. I called the property management people that morning, and it took SIX WEEKS for the guy to set up an appointment with me.

    Right now, my issue is a cracked window. The building is settling, and so we got a stress crack in the window. I told them about it around a month ago, and they told me the guy was swamped and probably wouldn't be able to make it for a week and a half. Okay. Fine. But then that turned into three weeks. I called last week to find out what the fuck was going on – turns out the repair guy told them he fixed it. Uh??????????????? NO. They've told me that he'll be in touch with me soon to set up a time, but I have serious doubts about that.

  20. I suppose it depends on the rental market where you live but here in Australia everything has to be done by writing. On one occasion we had no clean running water for 6 weeks. In the end I walked into the real estates office, there was about six other customers lined up at the counter. My property manager was there, I made it very loud and clear that if they did not fix the water we would be moving out next week, taking them to the small claims tribunal and the council would be deeming the property unfit for human habitation (my father worked for the council and had confirmed the issue was bad enough for that). I told her we were sick of drinking out of the garden taps like dogs and I was sick of paying my rent on time every single week for a home that I couldn't even shower in. All of the other people in line were horrified, so was the property agent. By that afternoon they had dropped of 10l of bottled drinking water for us and the plumber was out the next day. Sometimes you just have to get mean.

  21. I had a similar situation two years ago. I started renting a great house with two friends but everything went to hell when we realized just how little the property management team cared about us, since we were (and still are) students. If we needed something fixed we either had to do it ourselves if we could, or call several times, but if the neighbours complained about something (ie- we had too many recycling bins) they were quick to talk to us.

    The only advice I can think to give, since I moved out as soon as possible, is to learn all of the rental rules and laws in your area inside and out. In Ontario at the least, we actually have an entire system that regulates renting and everything that goes along with it. In my experience, all property management companies tend to take advantage of student renters, but get scared when you know your rights and aren't afraid to let them know you're willing to do something about it.

    Good luck!

  22. Ugh, landlords. I've had the good (except one thing), the bad and the ugly. Current place the landlord is part of a large-ish but local company. They are great about problems like the garage door, bugs (outside thank goodness) or the time two days after we moved in that a pipe burst. Maintenance is always here within one or two days for non emergencies and the guys clean up after themselves and are always very polite. Only complaint is that they won't replace my constantly leaking fridge even after multiple repair trips as it is against corporate policy to replace working appliances.

    Last place was bad. We had a persistent leak behind our shower wall and after the property was bought by a big out of state company, we were suddenly the source of the problem and finally left after six months of weekly visits informing us to 'stop flooding the bathroom.' Not even kidding. I loved the look on their faces when I informed them on more than one occasion that the only ones home for the time in question were our cats.

    The place before that was hell. All requests had to be mailed to a p.o. box with rent. There was no emergency number. We lived without a shower periodically over the entire two and a half years there, culminating in four month stretch where 'the maintenance man was out of town' just before we moved out. I think out of town meant he was hiding from the dea officers who came to talk to us about the meth lab in the apartment below ours. Plus the guy was a slob who caused as much damage fixing things as there was in the first place. I could go on and on about this place, but will just finish up with that it was hard not to scream at the landlady when she met with us (three days later than scheduled) to do the check out inspection and said she didn't understand why we were leaving.

    Anyways, the only advice I can think of is to know your renter's rights and it might be best to just move. Oh, and not to be seduced by low rent. Sometimes paying a bit more means better service.

  23. I know I had a couple of crappy landlords. We had a sink that was making weird noises and they just would not fix it. I should have known when we moved in and the ballast in the kitchen light went out and it took them 5-6 weeks to fix it.

    Finally, when I was moving out anyway, they put a for lease sign in my yard and would call to let me know they wanted to show the property and every time the realtor lady would show up, I would ask her (in front of the prospective tenants) when she was going to get a plumber out to fix it. I made sure to mention it had been almost 4 months that we had been having this problem and we let her know several times. I think the fact that I was making it harder for the place to be rented out for the next year finally made the difference.

  24. We had a landlord like this. We eventually got sick of it, called our building and health inspector office and them both walk through and write reports. We mailed them to the landlord. Still no real repairs or effort. So we had the inspectors come back and take a look at the "repairs". Still didn't pass 100%. So we put the rent in escrow at court, and filed suit. Did he fix it? Nope, and now we're looking at winning a few months rent back plus damages because we had to move.

    I'm not saying everyone should run out and sue. But things like water/plumbing issues, structural problems and electricity can turn into dangerous health hazards. Maybe to the landlord/rental company it's just a space they make money from, but you pay to make it your home. You have the legal right to feel safe and healthy in that home. Reading all the other comments I see lots of folks complaing about long standing issues . . . . I would certainly recommend getting a building official involved and see if that speeds up proper repairs.

  25. It seems like there are a lot of us in this boat.

    We have rented a house for four years from a local church. We have a rotten bathroom floor, roof leaks in the kitchen and bathroom,ants caving in a wall in the bathroom, a leaky sink, and an AWFUL mold problem. All of these issues have been brought to the church member designated as the "landlord". He made it clear when we renewed our lease that he didn't care about our house. "I don't care if it falls down around your ears" was his exact words. Because of all this and some family health issues We are moving.
    It's not the choice everyone would make but it's our ticket out of this house.

  26. Don't tell a tenant to attempt in any way to fix a problem. In some situations you can run the risk of harm or death or even liability if you damage anything else.

    This is what I do that now makes landlords tremble in their feet.

    Get yourself a Legal Shield Membership ontarioelite.com and never enter into any commons without contract that is first reviews through Legal Shield. In Ontario the providor law firm is Mills & Mills and trust me. They are the "sharks that other lawyers fear".

    My landlord decided she was going to try and evict me so she can try and rent at a much higher price, tried using the eviction for "nephew" excuse. Didn't work so tried illegal rent increase. That didn't work so refused to make repairs such as furnace not working, water entering house from bad eves, and a serious mold problem.

    In the end it didn't cost me a dime and I had a very stern letter personally addressed to the landlord from Mills & Mills.

    The end result, I now have a damage claim against the landlord for neglect of duty. A potential fraud charge against them and the CRA may be doing an audit while immigrations will be investigating this "nephew" was supose to be moving from India.

    Last year a mechanic who damaged my car ended up paying out $370 by the time I was done with him.

  27. I agree with registered letters, and learning the laws about deducting repair services off your rent. When it hits them in the bank account, they will start to care.

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