I Want to SUE My Landlord?

My relative's neighbor is a landlord and owns a lot of real estate in our neighborhood. She buys condos and then rents them out. She had a vacancy I was interested in, and charged me a reasonable amount for rent. However- no contract. All rent is paid in cash and under the table. Our verbal agreement is that from time to time- WITH notice- she will show off the apartment to potential buyers.

This all seemed like a fine deal since rent includes everything including utilities. But about two months in, my landlord started getting more nosy. Calling me up to demand she come by to just "look around and make sure you're putting holders under the chairs so my new wood floors don't get damaged." Or asking to come by to pick up tiles she forgot for another apartment. One time she text me the same day and insisted she come by. When I claimed I was not home, she inquired if she could just get the key from me- or barge in herself. I have a lot of private things lying around and don't want her rummaging through them.

Fed up with someone who seems more like an overprotective mother then a landlord, I had the locks changed so she couldn't break in. Sure enough one Sunday afternoon I hear a pounding on my door, and when I opened it I found my flustered landlord, looking sick and bewildered, saying "Why doesn't this key work?"

She now wants me out- despite the fact that I have paid her in advance for a few months rent. How can anyone be that horrid? I am legally allowed to do what I WANT in MY apartment! I am taking her to court now. Why is she doing this?


I didn't try to cheat anything. I want to know why my landlord is acting like a crazy person.

Update 2:

@reenz- you're a dumb idiot. WHAT the hell did I say I was doing on her property? ITS MY ******* APARTMENT! I pay my rent on time every month. I am not breaking laws. I have my private things in my apartment and she has no right to barge in when I'm home and "look around". Notice is always required. Stupid bytch.

8 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Best Answer

    Just because someone is nosy or obnoxious doesn't mean you can or should be suing them. Generally, if you don't like your landlord, if they are being nosy or doing things that bother you, the best thing to do is MOVE OUT. What are you thinking, that by suing your landlord, things will get better? I don't think so!

    Neither do tenants sue landlords to get them to stop doing something...no, if you want someone to stop doing something, like coming in to your place without giving notice, the thing to do is say to her, "It's illegal for you to come in here without giving notice...so please stop doing that."

    Your landlord wants you out, and she is entitled to ask you to leave, and from what you say, you are not comfortable staying there with the way she is behaving anyway, so it seems to me you would want to move.

    You can try to sue her after you leave, vindictively if you choose, to get back at her, but on what grounds would you sue? If you allege she came in without giving notice, she will say she didn't. Also, having no contract makes it harder for you to have a good case in court. You are not likely to find a lawyer to take your case, and without a lawyer you don't have much chance of winning a case, besides which, if this woman has bothered you, why spend more time and energy focused on her...the healthy thing to do is to just MOVE OUT and get on with your life, and find a better landlord for your next place.

    • ?6 years agoReport

      I don't know what state you are in, but in many places going to court over something like this just means going to small claims court, and some state/counties require mediation as the first step, and in small claims no lawyers are allowed.

  • 6 years ago

    It works both ways. Both the tenant and the property owner have laws and regulations they are required to follow. The property owner must not violate the tenant's privacy and barring a very real emergency, like a flood or a fire, cannot enter the tenant's home without giving notice, in most communities it is at least 24 hours notice, and more in some places. The property owner can have access to the property if it is for a valid reason (not snooping or harassing) and if he or she provides the legal notice required.

    If you have a receipt for the rent you've paid, it doesn't matter whether you have a lease. You still paid your rent for so many months and you have proof. You can take your landlord to small claims court, which costs little and no lawyers are allowed. It wouldn't hurt to see a lawyer for an hour or so to learn what your rights were, if they were violated, and what your choices are, and to get your evidence and argument in order should you choose to go to small claims court.

    If you don't have a receipt, or a copy of a check you gave her, or anything in paper to prove you paid rent in advance, then I think you are out of luck. Never, ever pay anyone anything without obtaining a receipt! If need be, carry your own receipt pad you can pick up at any store selling office supplies and write out your own receipt and request their signature on it before you hand over the money. I gave one to my child after one too many landlords played rip-off games and conveniently never could seem to provide a receipt. It is way too common for property owners and property managers to take advantage of young people.

    The property owner does not have the right to check up on you all of the time to ensure you are doing things exactly as she or he wants. When a tenant pays rent, he or she is paying for that property to his or her Home for the duration the rent monies cover. Also, a tenant is not responsible for normal wear and tear of the property. That is the cost of doing business for the property owners. Sure, a lot of property owners take advantage of young people and low-income people without the knowledge and/or resources to stand up to them and fight back, but that doesn't mean it is actually legal. So when you rent, write down Everything you can find wrong with the place, date it, sign it, make a copy of the dated and signed document, and turn it in. Then when you leave, do the walk-through the owner is required by law to do with you, compare the place to your original document, note that you are not responsible for repainting, cleaning carpets, refinishing wood floors, because that is all normal wear and tear. You are responsible for things like breaking light fixtures, ripping up curtains, punching big holes in the walls, but Not normal wear and tear of daily life. After the two of you have agreed what you are or not responsible for, make the owner sign a final document settling things so he or she cannot come after you unexpectedly later with bogus charges (which is a notorious scam commonly pulled by property managers and owners). Protect yourself, otherwise, you will eventually end up paying for what you don't owe and being ripped off, at least once.

    I don't think it was legal for you to change the locks. Next time, if a landlord is violating your privacy and the law, send him or her a registered letter politely and respectfully stating the problem and that you are asking him or her to follow the law from that point forward. Be sure it has to be signed for upon receipt so you have proof you sent it, and be sure you kept a copy of the signed letter. That way you have proof you tried to work it out, that the owner was violating the law, and it is illegal in many places to punitively evict a tenant for exercising their rights.

    Also, you can look into whether your city/county has a tenants advocacy office or group, and also find out with what state or county agency you can file a complaint against the property owner.

    Good luck, and I'm sorry you were taken advantage of by a whack-a-loon. There are a lot of them out there.

  • LILL
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    It was illegal for you to change the locks. Most states have laws that require a landlord to have keys to their rental properties.

    Taking her to court for what? Your in violation here by changing the locks. The landlord has the right to evict you. And NO, you can NOT do whatever you want on someone else's property. There are rules and laws you must obey.

  • .
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Actually, the landlord - you know - the gal who owns the property that you RENT from - could say she smelled smoke or something and thought it was an emergency.

    And in some states tenants cannot change the locks.

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  • 6 years ago

    you have no lease, you have no record of you making payments because as you said they were paid in cash under the table

    You are as good as gone if she wants you out

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    answers to long...AK some what....what is wrong with his answer....if you paid your rent in cash and she claims you did not then she has committed the crime of perjury, a felony....next is personal experience...the housing court judge in does not care about a lawyer a top lawyer or if you come to court with no lawyer...nor a sob story for that matter...just the facts..PERIOD...you have a verbal month to month lease....if you google landlord/tenants rights for you state you will probably find simple easy to understand statutes...the worst one for you being, with proper legal notice you must leave in a month....she can have you leave for any reason OR for no reason...makes no difference you are a good tenant that pays on time....Now, your relief is she knowingly violates the law....if she asks to come by to pick up tiles or look around and you say yes.she is not in violation...what does cash under the table really mean....cash doesn't bounce....skipping a yearly rental inspection is minor violation...If it is a violation at all so is you changing the locks....the fire department isn't going to wait for the landlord to show up with the key...they will just break in....think about it landlord is in violation of about 10 things and your one violation is changing the locks..that she found out about by trying to illegally enter your home...that was pretty bad advice from every other answer but mine...yeah, she can show the apartment to buyers...in my state proper legal notice means written notice at least 24 hours in advance...written notice at least 1 day before the end of the month to end tenancy...that means if she wants you to move by april first she must give you written notice prior to midnight on February 28th, 2014...another law in my state is if you pay rent in cash you MUST receive a receipt...and you receive it within three days....here is how housing court works in my state...after spending $322.00 to file the case and being properly served..you get a court date...mediation is an option...right there before court...pretty informal...if you agree you go into court the judge approves it . otherwise you give sworn testimony that you have evidence to prove your case...the defendant also swears he has a defense...it would be rare the judge would not set it for trial and just rule right then and there...3 or 4 days later he sets it for trial ...all he can rule is to evict or not to evict...not money...he probably can order the landlord to follow the rules. that's housing court...it sounds like you are suing her in small claims court....it is much easier to get away with perjury there....How stupid is the landlord......I suppose you can snitch her out to the city for rental violations....Only a court can evict you...but your credit takes a hit if she files an eviction action....but right now legal notice to move....small claims court cannot order her to follow rental rules....you can mail me with more details...I have been to housing court....I have also rented from the landlord from hell...several times...That's how I know the law...BUT, each time I have had a verbal month to month lease...sometimes I miss rent on purpose...but I always know I can be gone in thirty days.....one more tidbit...what do you do if the landlord locks you out and tosses your stuff.....just in case you should get renters insurance....small claims court will award you fair market value...insurance will pay you replacement cost..and you get to file a police report....read landlord / tenant rules and regulations...maybe our states differ but they are mostly the same ...

  • Dan H
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Because she is a nosy person.

    Good luck.

  • 6 years ago

    You tried to cheat the system, and not get a lease. What did you EXPECT to happen?

    • ?6 years agoReport

      Actually, if the landlord was being paid "under the table," she was cheating the system, not the tenant. Something to look into if this tenant talks to a lawyer about her chances in small claims court.

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