Okay, so the home wasn’t as bad as this but living with this crazy landlord was less than an ideal situation.
There were no lightbulbs, the sliding closet door was off its tracks, and no bedding. After traveling more than 24 hours from Bangkok to Boca Raton, Florida, all I wanted to do was lie down and take a nap, but it seemed like my landlady had forgotten to mention a couple of things about the rental in her emails. This was the beginning of a tortuous relationship where she always blamed someone else for problems in the townhouse. But it was a “one song” drive away from work, 2 miles from the beach, and literally right across from a biking trail, which meant I wasn’t planning on spending that much time in the rental anyways.
Sometimes, living away from home is not what you expect, either in a good way, bad way, or somewhere in between. There might be a time when your landlady/landlord is completely nutty and if they are, I feel you. Thankfully I only had to deal with mine for a couple of months, but here are 7 tips on how to survive crazy landlords and solve landlord tenant disputes:
1. Do not engage. As tempting as it is, do not get angry or impulsively say a remark that could set them off. I hated my landlady but I still acted nice to her because crazy is not logical.
2. Take pictures of everything when you first arrive. That way, you have evidence to back your claims if your landlord/landlady tries to say anything different or charge you for damages. Take, for example, this broken shower head:
Yes, the shower is 100% on. Yes, there is only a drip of water emerging from the shower head. After one of my friends used the shower, he said, “Hey Heesun, you should show your landlady a picture of Vietnamese drip coffee?” “Why?” I asked. “So she can see what your shower’s like.”
3. When communicating, try to get everything in writing. Then later, if you’re trying to build a case against him/her, you already have a solid foundation of evidence to build from.
4. Think about your security deposit. Provide a “move-in report” and have both of you sign it, so later there are no misunderstandings when trying to get your security deposit back. Also, when you provide them with your security deposit, give it to them as a check! Make sure it is clear that you expect them not to cash it until the end of your lease and only if there have been damages.
5. See what renter’s rights you have in your geographical area. For example, I’m paranoid that my landlady will not give the security deposit back, so I looked up Florida’s renter’s rights and saw that she had to return the security deposit within 30 days of the lease end date. Knowing your rights will make you a force to be reckoned with and will show that you are someone who’s smart and not to be taken advantage of.
6. Explore other options before threatening to move out. Make sure that there is availability with Airbnb and hotels or maybe a coworker can let you crash at their place for a while. You don’t want to threaten leaving, move out, only to find that there’s nowhere else for you to go.
7. As a last resort, you can bring up “lawyers” as a way to show that you’re serious. This will usually get people to reconsider how they’re treating you, but this could also potentially backfire if they choose to pursue legal action as well.
This experience showed me that it really isn’t about you. People are going through their own crap and they are who they are, especially if they’ve been that way for 43 years of existence, meaning that they’re pretty unlikely to change. Since my lease was only for the summer months, I made the decision that it was not worth the mental energy to engage in her passive aggressive games. If it were for a longer period of time though, I probably would’ve started to look for another place. I hope these tips help!
Have you ever encountered a ridiculous landlord? If so, what did you do? Share your tips in the comments below!