There are two types of landlords. Nice ones, and not so nice ones. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll end up dealing with a nice landlord. If you’re not, chances are you can end up with a scammer of a landlord who will try every and any scheme out there to get what they want. We have highlighted three common landlord schemes to be aware of below:
1. Rent Increase: The most common ways landlords try to illegally squeeze money out of their tenants is to illegally increase their rent. For example, if you have a month to month tenancy, the landlord has to provide at least 30 days notice before it can increase the rent.
2. Costs: In addition, some landlords will secretly try to pass through landlord costs that a tenant typically does not pay for through to the tenant as additional rent. These can be for things like property taxes, security, utilities or other expenses typically associated with the cost of ownership. Therefore, it becomes very important for a tenant or potential tenant to study the lease and report the landlord to local housing departments if landlords are trying to take advantage of the tenant.
3. Illegally breaking in: We had one case where the landlord attempted to gain access and possession of their rental property by trying to break down the front door with an axe. The tenant was inside inside and videotaped the incident both from inside the unit and had a witness videotape it.
TIP: If tenants need help, nationally, they should always call their local housing department first. They are a good first resource and provide investigation and advice for free. They are generally an advocate for the tenant and can cite and/or pressure landlords who are acting unscrupulously. If that fails, they should go to an attorney.