How to Report Bad Landlords: A Guide for Tenants and Property Managers

bad landlords
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Depending on who you ask, landlords are either contributing to the positive social fabric of a neighborhood or they are social parasites. While it’s not fair to demonize all landlords, many bad landlords have gotten away with crimes for decades without being held accountable. With the help of federal and local authorities, they are held responsible for problems at their properties.

Here are the three best ways to report bad landlords.

1. Try Information or 311

Depending on the severity of your complaint, you may just need to tell someone that your landlord is negligent. Landlords that leave trash around or don’t fix things that they’re supposed to can be reported to local or city authorities.

Often, information lines or 311 calls can ensure that your complaint gets logged and that the local authorities follow up. With the help of 311 or information, you can register a formal complaint and have the city back you up.

When reporting a landlord, authorities will sometimes ask for personal information. Most allow you to complain anonymously. If your landlord is violating a law and you know it, reporting via 311 anonymously can protect you from your landlord’s responses.

2. Seek Out Non-Profits

In most cities and states, there are non-profit tenants’ associations. There might even be one that covers your home that you don’t know about yet.

Go on to a search engine and type “(your city and state) housing association” or “tenants association”. You’ll come up with results that can help you solve the problems you’re dealing with.

Perhaps you don’t want to get the law involved yet. If this is the case, these associations can give you advice on how to report a bad landlord without taking things that far. Often a letter that’s signed by multiple tenants is enough.

If your landlord receives emails, these tenant associations can help you craft the perfect message.

3. Contact HUD

Many people who live in state- or city-controlled housing deal with landlord issues. Sometimes your bad landlord is the city and if this is the case, it can feel like there’s no way out.

Thankfully there is accountability within HUD and other housing authorities. IF you haven’t heard from your landlord or supervisor about a problem that needs to be fixed, contact the housing authority.

If your apartment is controlled by city or state laws or if you’re part of a housing program, you can probably be protected by HUD. A violation from HUD will send the fear of god into your landlord, which might be what it takes when you’re dealing with serious issues.

Bad Landlords Need Accountability

Without accountability, bad landlords get paid to provide unethical living conditions for people who can’t afford to own their home. An unethical landlord must be held accountable so that their tenants can live fairly in healthy and reasonable conditions. Thankfully, there are resources for people being abused by their landlords.

If you want to know more about your landlord, check out our guide for seeking a landlords credit report.

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