Download our FREE Guide to Renter's Rights
Tenant Harassment
What to Do When Your Landlord Threatens You

What to Do When Your Landlord Threatens You

What to Do When Your Landlord Threatens You


What to Do When Your Landlord Threatens You

Even though laws exist to foster cooperation between Bay Area landlords and tenants, there are times when individuals may clash so bad that it can create a toxic environment where a tenant feels threatened by their landlord. If this happens to you, you probably feel scared, confused, and unsure what to do next.

Types of Threats Made by Your Landlord

An initial step is to identify the type of threats since it will affect how you deal with it.

Physically threatening behavior: If your landlord is acting out physically, such as using their body to block your entry or exit, getting in your face or intruding in your personal space, or putting hands on you then, it may be considered as something more associated with an assault.

Verbally threatening behavior: Your landlord can use "harsh" words to intimidate you or make threats in person, over the phone, or through writing, including text messages, emails, social media posts, or written letters.


Under state and local law, it's considered harassment for a landlord to get a tenant to leave by using "force, willful threats, or menacing conduct" or by "threatening to disclose the citizenship status of the tenant or the tenant's guests."

Immediate Threats

If you're faced with a current physical threat, you have to act quickly to find an escape. This may even involve calling the authorities. Additionally, when your landlord lives with you or if there are shared spaces, and you're concerned with your immediate safety, you might try temporarily staying with family or friends. If don’t have anywhere to go, try reaching out to a domestic violence agency to help you into an emergency shelter.

The first priority is to get to safety and then you can concentrate on what to do next.

  • Contact Someone: Don't deal with the threats on your own. And don't respond with threats of your own. If it isn't appropriate to call the police, or you aren't ready to contact the authorities, make sure you let someone know what's going on. This can be a trusted friend, relative, or an experienced attorney, who can help you understand your options.
  • Keep the Evidence: If the threats are in writing or you have other areas of proof, be sure to retain all of this. Save all of these messages, take screenshots and document all contact and incidents with the landlord; you can even send messages or emails to the landlord that document the happenings. This can help with further action that you take.
  • Pursue Civil/Criminal Remedies: Depending on the types of threats, you can try for both civil and criminal relief. At the very least, if your landlord threatens you, it's a violation of your quiet enjoyment, (which is implied in every lease) and you can likely break your lease. Options include suing for harassment and/or filing a complaint, and applying for a protective order, if needed. However, this may be more useful as you move-out or as an on-going measure to prevent further harassment.

Deal with your Landlord's Threats with Help from Tenants' Rights Attorneys

Your landlord is engaging in illegal behavior when they threaten or harass you. You have the right to be safe and to act against your landlord. A Wolford Wayne attorney has the experience and compassion to be on your side when it comes to tenants' rights issues. Get started with learning about what you can do. Contact us today.

Related Posts You Also May Like

Get Started

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.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.