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What can I do to stop a bad landlord’s bad behavior?

When landlords make life miserable, you may be able to take legal action. However, before getting legal, you may want to start by reviewing your Lease Agreement to find exactly what lease term is being violated, then sending a Complaint to Landlord. If there are unhealthy or unsafe conditions, you may want to submit a more detailed complaint to your landlord. If you give your landlord a written complaint, keep a copy for your records as it may be helpful for the authorities or the court to see.

If written complaints are not solving the problem, talking to a lawyer can help you figure out your next steps. If laws are being violated, or there is a local rent board, you may be able to get help from the authorities.

Can my landlord kick me out?

No, a landlord cannot just kick a tenant out of a residential rental. To kick a tenant out, a landlord must have an official court order, and even then, law enforcement must do the actual kicking out. If a landlord tries to kick you out without a court order and law enforcement, you may want to contact the police yourself. It is important to note that, depending on state and local laws, the same eviction process may not apply to nonresidential rentals, like hotels, motels, short-term vacation rentals, and commercial rentals. However, even in nonresidential situations, landlords generally will still need to have law enforcement do the physical kicking out.

To get a court order to evict a tenant, a landlord must go through the formal eviction process. This process typically requires giving you an Eviction Notice and filing an eviction lawsuit. At each step in this process, tenants may try to stop an eviction from moving forward. For example, after receiving an Eviction Notice due to unpaid rent, a tenant may pay the rent owed. Most of the time, after fixing the problem identified in the Eviction Notice, a tenant can avoid eviction.

Even if you have a bad landlord, if you receive an Eviction Notice or lawsuit, you need to take it seriously.

What happens if I ignore an Eviction Notice or lawsuit?

If you do not respond to an Eviction Notice, or a lawsuit, you are very likely to end up being evicted. Unfortunately, if this is due to a roommate or other tenant hiding these matters from you, you may not have much recourse. However, if it is due to your landlord not providing you with either the Eviction Notice or the lawsuit, you may still be able to challenge the eviction. 

Fighting an eviction can be complicated. If your landlord made up fake claims, or created the problem themselves by not cashing rent checks, tenants can usually benefit by taking prompt action and from asking a lawyer for help. If a landlord is lying, abusing the legal system, or just not doing things properly, you may be able to fight back.

Can I add new door locks to keep my landlord out?

Although it may seem like a good idea to change the locks so your landlord does not have a key, doing so may be a violation of your lease. Often leases will require tenants to provide landlords with a copy of the key if a lock is changed or added. Additionally, landlords may require any changes to the property be approved before installation, and this includes adding locks.

If a landlord has a history of entering without providing notice, you may have other legal options to stop them from doing so. While a landlord may own the property, entering without permission may still be illegal. The same may be true if your landlord is harassing you, or doing other bothersome things.


If you have a bad landlord, it may be worthwhile to talk to a lawyer to learn about what you can do to protect your rights as a tenant.

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.


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