Other Reasons to Report a Bad Landlord
There are various reasons someone might want to report a terrible landlord. As mentioned earlier, the first step in filing a complaint is to have a good reason to do so. Here are a few common reasons and notable laws to know if you intend to issue a grievance:
The Warranty of Habitability
At the very least, this legal right requires that the landlord provide a rental unit that is suitable for living and worth paying for. It is a basic standard that states that landlords must provide a property with hot water, clean drinking water, plumbing, electricity, heat, and smoke detectors, as well as being free from a pest infestation and meeting local building codes. While the specific rules differ depending on the state, the guidelines ensure the safety and well-being of tenants. If you realize that your landlord is not providing these basic standards to ensure good quality of living, we suggest that you notify your landlord immediately and ask them to address the request. If your landlord refuses, it may be time to consider legal action. It may require some patience, as landlords typically have a maximum of 30 days to correct the housing issue, but this depends on the type of request.
Failing to Complete Repair Requests
In a similar theme, landlords must provide a safe and livable property at the time of move-in, but it does not stop there. Landlords must continue to keep the unit in good condition and maintain suitable living conditions. If you find that there is an issue that disrupts a standard quality of life, you should communicate this to your landlord, who is responsible for addressing the problem in a reasonable time frame. This could include fixing a leaky faucet so that your water bill does not increase, making sure the plumbing works so the temperature isn’t scalding hot or freezing cold, or boarding up any holes so that critters can’t enter the premises from the outside.
If your rental unit is crawling with pests and made unlivable, then it is your landlord’s responsibility to handle this and seek professional services. A pest infestation, like bed bugs or a bee’s nest, requires attention from an exterminator and should not be taken into the tenants’ hands. Not all landlords are trustworthy and may not reimburse for the cost, even though you are maintaining the property, which is their job. Time is of the essence here—the problem can get worse the longer a pest infestation goes untreated.
Not Returning the Security Deposit
You may feel that you left the rental unit in pristine condition, free from any holes in the walls, scuffs on the floor, or mold in the shower. But what happens if your landlord decides to keep your security deposit? Tenants should know that every state has its own laws on what is required for landlords to return the security deposit. It usually must be returned within 30 days of moving out. If your landlord assesses the property and decides to keep all or part of it, make sure you ask for reasons in a demand letter, along with any receipts of outstanding repairs or services.
Entering Without Proper Notice
Typically, landlords need to give advance notice before entering the property. This is usually 24 hours in advance, and it may be done in writing. If your landlord fails to do this once or even multiple times, you may be able to file a complaint under landlord harassment.
The Right to Quiet Enjoyment
As the name suggests, this legal protection provides the right to quiet living. For example, a formal complaint was made against a landlord in a famous case from the late 1980s, where they failed to stop the loud siren-like noise of a smoke alarm in a timely manner. Because the alarm sounded overnight, the tenant reported that their landlord violated their right to quiet enjoyment. In winning the case, the tenant received three months of rent money as compensation for their quiet being disturbed. In addition, this legal protection also ensures that renters can live in the property freely and without the risk of their landlord or another person trying to claim the home during the tenancy and before the lease agreement ends.