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Tenant Harassment Laws

There are several ways in which a landlord can get physically and mentally harassed by his/her tenants. Some of the ways in which this could happen is by a tenant violating a rental agreement, creating a nuisance in the rental property, shouting and yelling at the landlord without cause, threatening to sue the landlord with false claims, and so on. Sometimes, to strengthen a case, a tenant may even call law enforcement authorities, lawyers or building inspectors to support a false claim and intimidate the landlord in order to get what he/she wants.

Listed below are a few questions answered by lawyers on tenant harassment laws.

What can be done if a landlord is being harassed by a tenant demanding reimbursement for improvements?

Case Details: The tenant wanted to make improvements to the house and, as the landlord, I told him to go ahead as long as I didn’t have to pay for it. Now the tenant is demanding a reimbursement of $3900 he put into the house and harassing me over it.

Since you were clear right from the beginning that you would authorize the work but not pay for it, you would not be expected to reimburse him. Since he accepted the terms, he should not be able to demand money from you either.

What can I do if my tenant is harassing me by refusing to return my keys and insisting on being present for the move out inspection.

Case Details: This is in the state of Colorado

Your tenant has to be present at the time to give the inspection some credibility. He needs to see exactly what you are witness to and ensure that he won’t be penalized for something that was either present before he moved into the house or something that happened after he left the place. Basically, he has to be there to protect his own interests. You can’t stop him from doing so.

Can I file a harassment and slander case against a tenants if they file a case against me?

Case Details: Tenant left the apartment in a dirty state while moving out and I charged him $100 for carpet cleaning and $200 as an overall cleaning fee. The tenant wanted to move out early and I agreed provided I could find another tenant quickly. Now I am being harassed by the tenant’s parents through calls and emails threatening to file a lawsuit against me and falsely claiming that I have two leases against the house which is illegal.

From the facts of your case, it does not appear that you did anything wrong. If your tenants take you to court, you can file a counter suit. And if they do spread the word and tell others about you, and you can show proof of defamation, you can sue them for that too. However, it would be sensible to let them to sue you first as it would not worth the money to start a lawsuit yourself.

I have filed a complaint with the local police for aggravated harassment by my tenants. How can I get them evicted since their lease is not due for expiry yet?

Case Details: My tenant was referred by the City’s Department of Homeless Services who moved in with her daughter and boyfriend. They have been interfering with my other tenants’ and my own quiet enjoyment of our homes. I have been subjected to yelling, cursing, and threats by my tenant's boyfriend.

You will need the services of an attorney who can help you evict them for violating the terms of their lease. In most cases, city leases have clauses that state tenants cannot interfere with other tenants’ use and enjoyment of the property. You can also file a complaint for harassment every single time he threatens you again so you have a record of complaints that you can use in a landlord tenant court.

Landlords do not need to put up with harassment of any kind from a tenant. If the harassment becomes dangerous and if a landlord starts fearing for his/her safety, the tenant’s behavior can be reported to the police. It is also smart for a landlord to keep a record of any communication that he/she has with a tenant that could be used as evidence of harassment later. Also, it is best for a landlord to handle tenant harassment in a professional manner and refrain from using threats or profanity in return. With aggressive tenants, this could lead to more problems later on.
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