Skip Nav

How to Deal With a Landlord

How to Deal With a Not-So-Cool Landlord

We've all had one: the landlord who makes even the simplest of tasks difficult. If you are currently in a similar situation, breathe, there are ways to defuse the tension. Whether you turn to your building's management or put it in writing, it will only be a matter of time before your landlord respects your rights and follows through. Follow our four tips and use the comments below to vent — trust us, we understand.

Put It in Writing

For all renters, documentation is key, especially for those dealing with a tough landlord. Make sure to document the entire leasing process with photos and extra copies; continue to jot down things as they turn up. This is especially important if you're having to constantly manage repairs or if similar patterns (e.g., broken promises or unresponsiveness) repeatedly arise. If the problems escalate — knock on wood — these notes will help you prove your case in court. Also, if you happen to acquire paperwork or receipts, keep them in a small file. This could save you from paying unnecessary charges in the future.

Know Your Rights

Aside from the basics, knowing the details of rental law aren't necessary — unless you have an uncompromising landlord. If your landlord included something in the lease, it's OK to nicely remind them of what has been stated or hold them accountable. If you're having issues that extend beyond a bad attitude or your lease, study up on the landlord-tenant laws. Rental laws vary by state, so it's important to know which ones apply to you. If your landlord is breaking the law and unwilling to compromise, it may be time to speak with your building's management or start searching for another place to live.

Patience Is Key

Adopt the old motto "kill them with kindness." Although it's easier said than done, patience is key, and accepting that will save you loads of worry. Stand your ground and know that being calm and respectful will likely work in your favor. If you do need to make requests, try doing it in writing and don't be willing to stop at that. Do whatever you can to avoid conflict (no loud parties!) and just be thankful he/she is not your roommate.

Seek the Help of Others

Pick your friends wisely! If your landlord is uncooperative, turn to your building's management or handyman to get things done. If you live in a large complex, the management firm ultimately has more to lose than your landlord: it's their goal to keep you happy. The handyman is also a great contact for simple and last-minute repairs: keep him on your good side with a small tip when appropriate.

Latest Money & Career