Bad Landlord or Bad Tenant?

Sometimes complaints coming from renters are legitimate concerns, and other times people are simply complaining because they didn’t get their way. (Sometimes, landlords are being unreasonable or even violating laws and regulations.)

As a tenant, it’s important to know the difference. Here’s a look at some common complaints to give you an idea of those that are valid, and those that might smack of entitlement.


Complaint: My landlord always charges me late fees, even though I only pay my rent a day late.

Verdict: Entitled Tenant

Many landlords offer a grace period of a few days before charging a late fee, but landlords are welcome to collect late fees on the first day rent is late. Your lease agreement should clearly state which day rent is due, which day late fees will incur, and how much they will cost. It’s a pain in the butt, but hopefully if a late fee happens to you, you won’t forget to pay rent again.


Complaint: My landlord never returns my phone calls.

Verdict: Valid Complaint

Your landlord or property management company should be easily available to contact. Good communication is the pillar of any relationship, landlord-tenant relationship included! Open lines of communication should be provided for both general rental questions and concerns and emergency situations.


Complaint: My landlord is threatening to evict me if I don’t clean up all the dog poop in my backyard.

Verdict: Valid Complaint

Landlords and property managers are never allowed to threaten their renters. If you as a tenant are violating your lease terms, such as failing to clean up after a pet, your landlord should provide you with a verbal or written warning. If you don’t remedy the situation, you may be at risk of any repercussions outlined in your lease agreement – which may include an eviction. If lease violations continue and your landlord does move forward with an eviction, they must follow the legal eviction process.


Complaint: My landlord hasn’t fixed the broken door lock I reported 2 weeks ago.

Verdict: Valid Complaint

As a renter, you are entitled to a safe living environment. While a broken door lock does not make a property uninhabitable, it could threaten the safety of the renter. If an entryway does not have a working lock, and it wasn’t your fault that it broke, your landlord or property manager is responsible for seeing that it gets fixed in a reasonable amount of time. Some states have specific safety laws, and failure to meet them could result in the renter legally breaking a lease without penalty.


Complaint: My landlord charged me $150 to clean the mini-blinds and took it out of my security deposit.

Verdict: Entitled Tenant

Cleaning window treatments is one of the most misunderstood expenses when renters receive their security deposit deduction report. HomeAdvisor reports that the national average cost to clean window treatments is $233, and can range from $142-$339 depending on the type of material, location of the property, and level of cleaning required. Blinds are also easily damaged, and may need to be completely replaced to return a property to move-in condition. You can mitigate this potential complaint by conducting a thorough move-in inspection with your landlord.


Complaint: My landlord is making me get rid of my dog because he bit someone, but it didn’t even break the skin! My landlord is heartless and hates dogs.

Verdict: Entitled Tenant

If a pet threatens the safety of other tenants, guests, neighbors, or community members, your landlord can absolutely ask the pet to leave. You cannot be evicted for having a dangerous pet, but your landlord can issue a Cure or Quit notice, asking that the pet leave the property. If you don’t want to say goodbye to your pet, your landlord may require you to go through the official lease breaking process, which can include hefty fines and other fees. So keep an eye on your pets and make sure they are well-behaved!


Complaint: My landlord is selling my rental property and the real estate agent comes over all the time to show the property.

Verdict: Valid Complaint

It is never acceptable for a real estate agent to show up and enter a property unannounced. The same is true for contractors, inspectors, and anyone else involved in the home selling process. These types of activities can prove to be a huge disruption to a renter who just wants to live in peace. Your landlord must follow your specific state laws for entering the property, and this applies to anyone your landlord sends to the property as well. If this keeps happening, make sure to speak up and let your landlord or property manager know about the law.


Complaint: The upstairs neighbor flooded their apartment and the water damaged all of my clothes, my bed, and my computer. My landlord is refusing to pay for my belongings!

Verdict: Entitled Tenant

This is a tough situation to be in, but this is the reason so many landlords and property managers require renters insurance prior to move-in. According to a survey conducted by Insurance Quotes, 53% of millennial renters do not think they need insurance, because they assume their landlord’s insurance will cover the cost of stolen or damaged property and belongings. Your landlord’s insurance policy typically only covers the physical structure and any property owned by the landlord. Renters insurance will pay for any damaged or stolen personal property that you own as a renter.

These common complaints, and their validity, might help to give you some guidelines next time you want to bring up an issue with your landlord. It’s important to check local and national laws if something isn’t clear, but the above outline can give you a starting point and help you to keep a positive relationship with your landlord.


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Kaycee Wegener manages marketing and media relations for Rentec Direct and shares industry news, products, and trends within the community. Learn more about Kaycee at and on Twitter at @thatrentergirl.

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Kaycee MillerKaycee Miller manages marketing and media relations for Rentec Direct and shares industry news, products, and trends within the community. Learn more about Kaycee at and on Twitter at @thatrentergirl.

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