Like all relationships, the landlord – tenant relationship can take various forms. Often, it can have an adversarial tone to it and sometimes it’s just the usual ups and downs. But other times, it can go too far if the landlord crosses the line into tenant harassment.
Sadly, it’s not unusual for landlords to harass their tenants to get them to leave, especially if they have rent and eviction control. Specifically, the San Francisco Rent Ordinance defines this with examples of fifteen forms of this outrageous behavior. With so many different instances, it’s helpful to take a closer look at some common types of Bay Area tenant harassment.
It is illegal for your landlord (or anyone acting for your landlord) to shut off any of your utilities for the purpose of evicting you. This includes water, heat, gas, electricity, elevator, and phone services. If this happens to you, you should take action immediately:
- Communicate with your landlord: You can tell them (in writing) that their actions are illegal and that they need to remedy the situation immediately; you should keep a record of the correspondence.
- Keep a log of all the times that your service was shut off, with all of the details, such as the times, and dates.
- If the problem persists contact a tenant attorney to explore your options for suing your landlord for this for actual damages and attorney fees.
Landlord Unlawful Entry
A landlord or their agent can’t enter your home without your consent unless they give you 24 hours written notice and only for the following reasons:
- To make repairs that are necessary or agreed-upon.
- To show it to prospective tenants, buyers, mortgage holders, repair persons, or contractors.
- When the tenant has already moved.
- If the landlord is authorized to be there by a court order.
Just as your landlord is forbidden to enter your space (unless it’s under the circumstances identified by law), they are also banned from keeping you out. In yet another effort to harass, some landlords take measures to prevent their tenants from entering their own home. Your landlord or their agent can’t:
- Lock you out,
- Change your locks,
- Plug the hole in your lock,
- Remove any part of your door or windows,
- Remove your property; or
- In any way attempt to block your entry in your home.
Threats and Retaliation
Tenants are also protected against landlord retaliation. If a tenant has filed a complaint against their landlord, it’s illegal for the landlord to have a retaliatory response to the complaint. Unlawful actions include:
- Threatening to report a tenant to immigration services,
- Decrease housing services,
- Attempt to recover possession, increase rent, terminate the tenancy, or
- Threaten any of these.
Speak with a Bay Area Tenant Harassment Lawyer Today
If you’ve experienced harassment from your landlord, then you are likely going through a tough time or just have a really difficult landlord. Whether you’re dealing with being locked out, your landlord entering your space, or them trying to retaliate against you, there are things to do to take action against them. At Wolford Wayne, we are the team of talented attorneys you want fighting for your Bay Area renters’ rights. Contact us today for more information—we’re here to help you.