8 tips for dealing with a difficult landlord

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Do you have a bad landlord? Are they hard to talk to? Do they ignore your requests? Or do they have unreasonable rules?

Here are tips to deal with a difficult landlord:

  1. Know your rights

    Be a well-informed and reasonable tenant. Know what you can do legally to solve your complaint. Go to this page to know your rights and responsibilities: Residential Tenancy Branch. Read the fact sheets. Go to the Fact Sheet for Tenant and Landlord Responsibilities at the New Journey Housing 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.

  3. Have proof

    Documents are strong proof that can 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 – Photos or videos are strong evidence. Make sure that there is a time and date stamp for your footage.

      Something to remember for your next move: Take photos of the place before moving in. Get photos 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, like for a paint job or carpet cleaning. Always ask for permission from the landlord before doing any major repairs.

    • Keep records – Keep copies of payment receipts, 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 your landlord.

  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 as a group or through the association could have better results.

  8. Get help

    Contact New Journey Housing. Ask for advice and help. File an appeal with the Residential Tenancies Branch if this doesn’t work. The RTB can mediate between you and your landlord. Goodluck!

 
Article updated May 18, 2021.
 
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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