8 tips for dealing with a difficult landlord

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Do you have a bad landlord? Is he hard to talk to? Does he ignore your requests? Or does he have unreasonable rules?

Here are tips to deal with a difficult landlord:

  1. Know your rights

    Be a well-informed and reasonable tenant. Go to this page: Residential Tenancy Branch. Read the fact sheets. Read the Fact Sheet for Tenant and Landlord Responsibilities at New Journey Housing’s website and attend their Rental Workshops.

  2. Review your lease agreement

    Read your tenancy agreement. Check the terms and conditions of your lease. Is your problem covered in the agreement? Ask for help if the agreement is not clear to you. Call, write or visit the Residential Tenancy Branch and speak to an officer. A reminder: Read and understand the lease agreement before signing it.

  3. Have proof

    Documents are strong proof that will help you when you make a complaint. Make sure that you always have agreements on paper.

    • Make your requests in writing (and keep your files) – Send all requests by email, letter, or text. Save your landlord’s answers. Make a record of the date, time and description of the discussion if the landlord answers by phone or visits you in person.
    • Take a photo before moving in – Take photos of the house before bringing in your furniture and other things. Get shots of damage, if there are (examples: broken or old shelves, carpet or wall stains, and others). You will need these when you claim your security deposit at the end of the lease. Get before and after photos if you want to do improvements, for example for a paint job or carpet cleaning. Always ask for permission from the landlord before doing any major repairs.
    • Keep records – Keep copies of receipts for payments, cancelled cheques, or any agreement. Save digital files of emails and photos.
  4. Stay respectful

    Always be calm, kind and reasonable when dealing with your landlord. Be clear but respectful. It will not help if you fight with him. Work with your landlord, not against him.

  5. Choose your battles

    Don’t complain about every little thing. Do what you can to solve a situation (if it does not break the contract terms). Value your time and save yourself the stress if it’s only a minor issue.

  6. Never miss payments and be a good tenant

    Don’t be a tenant that is hard to deal with. Pay your rent on time and keep your place clean. Don’t disturb your neighbours and follow rules. Your landlord will have nothing to say against you when you file a complaint.

  7. Talk to the other tenants

    Talk to your co-tenants if you live if an apartment building. They could be having the same problem. Check if there is a tenant’s association. Filing a complaint through the association could have better results.

  8. Get help

    Get the help of New Journey Housing. Ask for advice and help in making your case. File an appeal with the Residential Tenancies Branch if you need more help. The RTB can mediate between you and your landlord. Goodluck!

Sources: 7 tips for dealing with a difficult landlord, Apartments.com; How to deal with a bad landlord, Earth and Money; Residential Tenancies Branch website; and Winnipeg Rental Network. Retrieved March 1, 2019.

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Community Resources

Attend New Journey Housing Workshops. Learn about home maintenance, budgeting, purchasing a house and many others.

Read Winnipeg Rental Network resource guides. Read the Tenant & Landlord Resource Guide pamphlet for information and help on rental housing concerns.

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