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Questions to Ask Your Tenant Harassment Attorney

Questions to Ask Your Tenant Harassment Attorney

Questions to Ask Your Tenant Harassment Attorney

21Mar

Questions to Ask Your Tenant Harassment Attorney

If you are being harassed by your landlord, it’s likely putting you in a very challenging position. You know that you should never have to accept illegal behavior or living conditions, but you may also fear losing your home and peace of mind if your landlord retaliates against you. If this is the situation you find yourself in, you probably have a lot of questions. Fortunately, help is available. Here, we offer answers to some of the most commonly asked questions we get about tenant harassment. For detailed guidance on your specific circumstances, we recommend that you discuss your concerns with an experienced San Francisco tenant harassment attorney.

What is Considered Tenant Harassment?

While harassment from a landlord can come in many forms, there are several types of behaviors that squarely fit in San Francisco's rules as tenant harassment, including:

  • Withholding amenities that are included in your lease, like Wi-Fi or other utilities
  • Ignoring your requests for maintenance and/or repairs
  • Entering your apartment without permission or proper notice
  • Increasing the rent in your rent-controlled apartment illegally
  • Evicting - or attempting to evict you without a just cause
  • Refusing to accept rent payments or cash rent checks
  • Threatening you with physical harm

The fact is that as a tenant, you have legal rights, and whatever form of harassment your landlord is engaging in (whether it is listed here or not), consulting with a dedicated tenant harassment attorney can help you determine the best path forward.

Should I Move Out if My Landlord is Harassing Me?

Having a difficult landlord is never easy, and it’s understandable that many harassed tenants feel forced to simply move out. After all, forcing tenants out of their homes is often the goal of tenant harassment.

However, before you give up and move, talk to an attorney about your options. While tenants who are forced into moving out due to harassment may have a case for what is called constructive eviction and may be able to recover damages from their prior landlord, it is usually in your best interest to avoid having to move at all. There are several proactive steps you can take to help protect yourself:

  • Put all of your communications with your landlord in writing
  • Keep copies of anything you receive from your landlord
  • Put up cameras in your private space if you think your landlord has been entering your home
  • Call the police and/or file a police report when appropriate

If a dispute or harassment claim involving your landlord does occur, following these steps can help you confidently pursue your rights and, if necessary, establish a pattern of intentionally harmful behavior by your landlord.

Can My Landlord Force Me to Leave My Apartment?

There are, of course, legal and legitimate reasons for which a landlord can evict a tenant from a rental unit. However, in order to evict a tenant, there are rules that landlords must follow, including providing you with appropriate notice. If you live in a city like San Francisco, Oakland, or Berkeley that has eviction control, your landlord must have a "just cause" to evict you. If a landlord forces you to vacate without going through the eviction process or you feel you have no choice but to leave due to harassment, you may be entitled to substantial damages.

Can I Sue My Landlord for Harassment?

The exact definitions and penalties for landlord harassment vary by location and the severity of the conduct, but if you live in San Francisco, Oakland, or Berkeley, California you may be entitled to bring a lawsuit against your landlord.

In San Francisco, for example, landlords who violate the tenant harassment provision in the city’s Rent Ordinance may face both civil and criminal penalties. A tenant may be entitled to three times their actual damages as well as compensation for emotional or mental distress.

Turn to an Experienced San Francisco Tenant Harassment Attorney for the Legal Help You Need

Your home should be your safe haven, and if you are dealing with harassing behavior from your landlord, the seasoned San Francisco tenant harassment attorneys at Wolford Wayne can help. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team has dedicated their practice to skillfully fighting for the legal rights – and rightful compensation – of tenants like you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information about how we can help you protect yourself from an unethical landlord.

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For more information or to discuss your legal situation, call us today at (415) 649-6203 for a phone consultation or submit an inquiry below. Please note our firm can only assist tenants residing in San Francisco, Oakland & Berkeley.

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