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11 Signs Your Landlord Is Taking Advantage of You

Have you ever wondered if your landlord is playing fair or taking advantage of your rental situation? Currently, rental prices make it hard to get ahead and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Watch out for signs indicating you’re getting the short end of the lease agreement. It’s time to know your tenant rights and ensure you’re not being taken for a ride!

1. Excessive Rent Increases

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Excessive rent increases without proper justification or notice can indicate that your landlord might be taking advantage of the situation. When rent is raised consistently and significantly, it creates financial strain and can disrupt your budgeting plans. Ask your landlord to provide fair notice for rent adjustments (at least 30 days); these increases should be justifiable.

2. Ignoring Your Maintenance Requests 

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Consistent neglect of maintenance requests signifies that your landlord doesn’t have your best interest at heart. When essential repairs are ignored, it creates an uncomfortable or even hazardous living environment. Landlords are legally responsible for addressing and promptly resolving maintenance issues, particularly issues related to heat and water.

3. Overcrowded Space

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If your landlord adds extra tenants to your unit without your consent or breaches occupancy limits, it can lead to overcrowded living conditions. It violates your right to privacy and may compromise the safety and comfort of your place.

4. They Come Unannounced

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Your landlord must give notice before entering your space, except in emergencies. If they visit unannounced consistently, it is a sign that your landlord is overstepping boundaries. Remind them that you have rights as a tenant.

5. Unfair Lease Terms

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When your lease agreement contains one-sided or unjust terms that primarily benefit the landlord, it can imbalance the landlord-tenant relationship. Inflexible lease terms may infringe upon your tenant rights and make a living in that rental space hard. Read that lease carefully before signing!

6. Extra Upfront Payments

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If your landlord demands more than one month’s rent as an upfront payment, it could be considered excessive and exploitative in some states like California and Nevada. Landlords typically require the first month’s rent (sometimes the last month too) and a security deposit. Charging more than this amount is uncommon.

7. Refusal to Provide Lease Information

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If your landlord avoids providing you with a copy of the lease agreement or any relevant information about your tenancy, this is a problem. It is essential to insist on receiving a copy of the lease to understand your rights and responsibilities. It should be in your hand from the moment you sign it- don’t leave without it.  

8. Retaliation for Tenant Complaints

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Experiencing negative consequences or retaliation for expressing concerns about the property is a red flag. Your right to express concerns and seek improvements in the living conditions should be protected. A good landlord will take these concerns to heart and find solutions.

9. Discriminatory Behavior

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If you face discrimination by your landlord based on age, race, gender, religion, or other protected characteristics, it is unacceptable and against the law. Such behavior violates fundamental principles of fairness and equality. 

10. Not Allowing Service Animals

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Prohibiting service animals violates tenants’ rights and is unlawful. Service animals are not considered pets; they are trained to assist individuals with disabilities. Landlords must make reasonable accommodations to allow tenants with disabilities to use service animals, even if a “no pets” policy exists.

11. Using Lead Paints in the House

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Allowing lead content in housing without proper mitigation measures is unethical and can also be illegal and lead to serious health consequences for tenants. Many jurisdictions have strict regulations regarding lead content in residential properties. Landlords need to comply with these regulations to ensure the safety of tenants. 

This includes addressing lead-based paint hazards in older buildings, commonly used before the risks of lead exposure were known. Ensure your lease includes a clause about lead paint to ensure they aren’t compromising your health.

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