What can a paying tenant do if they are being harassed by their landlord?

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What can a paying tenant do if they are being harassed by their landlord?

I know of a landlord who is charging his tenants $650 a month when the lease states $450 and demands his rent throughout the week instead of waiting until the end of the month as stated in the lease. He makes aggressive and harassing phone calls at 12 am telling the wife (who is disabled) that she needs to get off the couch and get a job. Extremely poor living conditions (no stove/oven, non-grounded wires, inefficient plumbing, etc). He did not make changes as he’d promised the inspector. Allowed water to get turned off. They pay rent on time. What can they do? They also have a child.

Asked on July 20, 2011 Florida

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The written agreement (lease) between the landlord and the tenant controls the obligations and duties of each to the other. Such obligations typically in the written lease are time to pay rent, the amount of monthly rent and conditions of the rented property.

If the landlord is harassing the tenans, most States have laws regarding "quiet enjoyment" requirements of the rented property. The harassment could be considered a violation under your State's laws.

Most States have habitability laws regarding safe and habitable condition requirements. The absence of an oven,bad electrical wires and poor plumbing appear to be a habitability violation.

Perhaps contacting the local building inspector to inspect the unit being ented for code violations and the local rent control board will make things better for those tenants you know. If the rented unit's conditions are so poor, the tenants could possibly end their lease on such a ground.

 


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