How to Report a Bad LandlordJanuary 11th, 2010 by Staff Writer
Have you wondered how to report a bad landlord? If you’ve tried to communicate with him and aren’t getting your conflict resolved, then you have the right to report him. Each city as their own specific laws protecting tenants, but you’ll need to do some background work before you make your complaint. With the proper supporting documents, your story will be more compelling and sound proof to a third party. Additionally, you are more likely to get help in addressing the problem quickly and properly. Here are the steps to take when reporting a bad landlord:
Gather Your Evidence
Whatever your gripe is with your landlord, you should gather the facts and evidence. First, check your lease and any other contracts that you signed to understand your complete rights and terms. Also review previous correspondence such as letters, emails, texts photos and videos. Do note that emails may not be not admissible in court, however if you print them out and send them to him certified return receipt, they have a better chance of being used as the recipient will most likely sign the letter. A good rule of thumb is to store all correspondence in the event that you have to seek legal action.
Understand Laws and Violations
Has your landlord violated a law or a building code? Has he done something illegal? You can find apartment laws on your cities government site. They will have everything from building and fire codes, tenant’s rights and housing acts. Most of these can be found online, but can also be done at your local housing court or housing department.
Develop Your Case
When you have a clear, succinct story with evidence and supporting documents, you will be able to build a case against your landlord. When you report your case, develop your “headline” or the most important fact about your situation as housing authorities hear large quantities of complaints and you’ll want to make sure that yours is taken seriously. Start with a headline like “my landlord refuses to turn on the heat and the temperate has gone below 20 degrees for the past week.” You should follow up with the any correspondence, temperature readings or pictures to support your claim. Finally, be able to state the law. For example, NYC law requires landlords to turn on the heat when the temperature drops below 40 degrees after 10pm. Also, be able to state the inconvenience it has caused. In this case, it could have been that you had to move out of your apartment to due to unlivable living situations.
Contact the Appropriate People
The most severe and threatening concerns should be directed to the police. Otherwise, there are several government organizations such as your cities housing board or tenants union that should be notified. With proper evidence and a compelling headline, your case will be solid. With all the upfront work completed and help from a third party, you should be able to get your conflict resolved with your landlord.