Landlords from hell

(Photo by Ryan Hueglin)

Having a healthy relationship with your roommates certainly does create a positive atmosphere when living off campus, but when you have a negative relationship with your landlord, it can make living there unbearable.

With landlords having to deal with their tenants directly, the relationship established can only work when both sides can get along and the lease is being honoured on both sides.
When both sides are unable to get along, however, it is very rarely a simple situation. Complications with landlords can involve, but are not limited to, not properly accommodating the needs of the tenants, whether they be working appliances or replacing light bulbs, as well as demanding more money for rent or key deposits without proper notification.

A Wilfrid Laurier student and Waterloo tenant, Taylor, is currently in a living situation where her landlord has been lacking in accommodating to her apartment and raising the rent after the lease had been signed. The stresses of her landlord have caused plenty of nervous tension to her and her other roommates.

“We are not able to really live in our apartment,” Taylor said. “We are under constant stress about what he will come up with next or if he will get anything done.”

After a $200 key deposit had been sprung on Taylor and her roommates the day they tried to move into their apartment, they each had to pay the funds from their own budgets, which put a notable strain on their budget for the early parts of the year. They have also had to hire other services to clean the apartment upon arrival, which they were not reimbursed for. While Taylor and her roommates are hoping that their landlord will eventually make amends and live up to his responsibilities soon, the tenant has contacted an employee from the department of residence to discuss the possibility of going to court and what their next steps should be.

“We are already sick of dealing with him due to awful communication and constant lying on his part; it has only been two weeks,” Taylor explained.

“If he fixes the problems we will most likely not take legal measures, but if he doesn’t we will make sure we get what was initially agreed upon. He currently is not following his own lease so if that continues, we will have a case.”

Taking proper precautions are essential. If problems persist with your landlord, there are many options that are available to ensure that they do not continue. There are free legal services for students, such as Legal Aid, that are easily accessible and will investigate the situation thoroughly.  Services such as these are available on campus and are usually free of charge. If the situation is so bad that a case can be made, you will get in touch with a lawyer and the case will inevitably be taken to court.

Taylor hopes that whoever is going through similar problems with their landlord doesn’t give up because it is the easy thing to do, as they will not get any results that way and the problems will only escalate.

“Team up with your roommates and help each other through this. Know your rights, definitely look through the Tenancy Act and seek legal help,” Taylor advised. “Never be intimidated by your landlord, the law favours the tenant.”

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