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ASK Biblitz about Renting.

It is a fiction peculiar to Answers that landlord will somehow act to enforce your private arrangements with roommate, sublet or even a spouses.

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More on real estate value and guerilla marketing campaigns to lure unwary buyers to B.C.'s infamous market of mostly leaky condos.

More on affordable housing - principles, examples of what works, what doesn't.

Workout Routines and Exercises

Yes, disputes with the landlord do burn calories and raise your blood pressure, but one can't sculpt fine muscles like these without some help from professionals like our friends at TrainWithMeOnline!

When can a landlord withhold your security deposit?

Can your landlord keep your security to repaint and clean carpets?

Biblitz replies:
Only if repaint is necessary b/c of actual damage rather than reasonable wear and tear from fair use of the premises. Ditto carpets as long as you can show you made reasonable efforts to clean them as per term in the typical rental agreement requiring tenant leave the place in reasonable habitable condition. For particulars on security deposits, search the terms, 'landlord-tenant/ residential tenancy law' along with the name of your jurisdiction/location. Most sites have helpful FAQs to guide you.

Can I get a security deposit back from five years ago?

I want to get my security deposit from my previous landlord that I was renting a room 5 years ago. I have rented a room rom him March 2005 and got out April 2005 and I have never got my security deposit back from him yet. He pretty much desappeared. I have not been able to find him until now. Can I still take this case to small claim court? or Is it too late? I live in VA as well as the landlord.

Biblitz replies:
Yes, it's too late. A statute of limitations no doubt precludes your action, which usually you have two years to bring forward.

If my husband and I are both signatories to a lease and he moves out, isn't he still responsible legally for his portion of the rent?

My husband left me and is refusing to pay his half of the rent. What can I do to make sure he does?

Biblitz replies:

Nothing! Landlord doesn't care which one of you pays as long as one of you does and s/he is not required to spend time and money pursuing your husband for 'his half.' However, keep a paper trail documenting your efforts to notify husband of your shared obligations on the lease. You should also keep receipts/bank statements indicating you've made the payments. Make sure you close any joint accts or at least remove your share to a new bank acct of your own. Any gaps in his payments will augment your share of the assets if/when you divorce.
Note: It is a fiction peculiar to Answers that landlord will somehow act to enforce your private arrangements with a roommate, sublet or spouse. Landlord prefers, of course, to have more than one name on the lease from whom s/he may seek payment if you default, but s/he has no legal obligation to care which of you paid 'your share.' Tenants, on the other hand, are usually required to obtain landlord's written approval for roommates and/or sublets.

Do landlord's actions here constitute harassment?

Hey Leo,

ok. my mom was at work and im not suppost to answer the door if our landlday is there . because of past experinces . well the landlady came today and it was just me and sister home . she came to the door and rang the doorbell for 10 minutes becaue she knew we were home but we didnt answer it because mom said not to . then she went next door and I didnt no and called our house from the neighbors. I anserwed it and she said '' hi'' . I said hi , my mom told you I cant answer the door because of past experinces and she said 'I need the fan and your mom dont make the rules I do and I need to tonight'. am 13 is that harassing because my mom wants to call the cops?

Biblitz replies:
Yes, indeed, it's harassment and mom is right. Landlord is out of order. Landlord must give notice (sometimes in writing, sometimes orally, depending on residential tenancy legislation where you live) before seeking entry for any reason except a clear emergency. Her effort to circumvent notice requirements by exploiting naive minors for the purpose of making an illegal entry is worthy of a police complaint. This is a tough customer but, happily, one police should be quite familiar with. Good for mom! You have nothing to reproach yourself for here. Landlord is in the wrong entirely.

Has anyone experienced harrasment from neighbours in England?

If so, in what way and how was it resolved. For about 2 years a number of my neighbours have come into my home, obtaining keys from local authority and come into my home when I was out. They want me to know they have been into my home to try and scare me. Nothing has been done as I believe the authorities are involved. I have spoken to the police who say they do not know why they are doing this but nothing much has been done. I am afraid something more drastic may happen to me or my home (e.g. a fire started). Many of my neighbours are oaps.

Biblitz replies:
Workout Routines and Exercises
First, let's call these activities for what they are - bullying. What you need to do right away is to start a log tracking each event - date, time, what you noticed, how you responded and how authorities responded at each incident. Here's what University of Manchester had to say about UK bullying/harassment laws online June 11/10:


Harassment is unwanted conduct which may create the effect (intentionally or unintentionally) of violating a person's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment which interferes with an individual's learning, working or social environment or induces stress, anxiety or sickness on the part of the harassed person.


Discrimination takes place when an individual or a group of people is treated less favourably than others because of factors unrelated to their merit, ability or potential.

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when factors unrelated to merit, ability or potential of a person of group are used as an explicit reason for discriminating against them.

Indirect discrimination

Indirect discrimination occurs when there are rules, regulations or procedures in place that have a discriminatory effect on certain groups of people.


Bullying can be defined as persistent actions, criticism or personal abuse, either in public or private, which humiliates, denigrates, undermines, intimidates or injures the recipient.


Victimisation is punishing or treating an individual unfairly because they have made a complaint, or are believes to have made a complaint, or to have supported someone who has made a complaint. It is unlawful, as is post-employment victimisation.

Please contact us if you need any additional information or clarification.
Do! Even if you don't live in Manchester, these guys sound connected. They'll probably have good advice on how best to proceed.

Help! I'm being harassed in council property!

Hello, Can someone please help me !!! Im a single mother aged 19, hoping to go to uni, Have a lot of problems in my life at the best of times and have been diagnosed with depression. I live in a council property and have been harrassed non-stop for the past couple of weeks. Living like this is killing me and I dont know what to do. I first thought I saw a shadow of a man outside my window and I ignored it, a day later I 100000% saw a shadow of a man peering into my living room around 11 at night, I reported that to the police...nothing they could do.... A few days later someone had spray painted my living room window...u cold *****..... Reported to the police...nothing they could do. And last night I had my living room window put through....THAT time police managed to make an appearance. Im so scared...whats next !!! Im staying with my mum at the moment as I fear going back there. I spoke to the council and they say I have to go back. they arent even looking into it. The police are being of no help at all. The council actually said id be considered for a move if someone were to bust in and stab me or my child. HOW BAD IS THAT !!!! That may be next and thats what scares the hell out of me, for myself and my little boy. can someone please help and offer me some advice !!!

Biblitz replies:
Alas, this is the price women especially pay for life in the patriarchal open society, and the only way to change that is to lobby political reps for tougher stalking laws. You should call the local rape crisis centre and ask for advice on dealing with a stalker. Each jurisdiction has different laws to address the facts you describe. The women at the crisis centre will be familiar with yours. Probably they'll tell you to keep doors and windows carefully locked and start a journal to log each incident - what happens, when it occurs, what you were doing at the time. Keep a record. This will help police catch whoever it is, and it's most likely someone you know. Invite friends often. Don't follow a routine. Buy a CD with the barking of a vicious dog and play it occasionally, shouting at it to shut up - you know, stuff like that. Come and go at irregular times, leaving a light on at night whether you're home or not. Circulate a flyer in the neighborhood telling women to be on the lookout for a stalker who's been caught peering into a local woman's window at night followed by a forced entry in which a threatening message was spraypainted on the wall. Say that perp may be escalating and to be on thge lookout for one another, keeping curtains closed at night and doors locked. Remind everyone that you're all safer if you share information. Offer to walk with anyone at night who may be apprehensive about walking alone with this character or characters at large and ask for same.


Turtledoves now, maybe, but what happens when one of you decides to part without notice?

More on illegal rent/rent increases.

Landlord has no obligation to go after absent spouses or roommates to enforce your private financial arrangements regarding rental payments. Conversely, tenants are usually required to obtain landlord's written consent before admitting roommates or agreeing to sublet. Read both as strong indicators that sharing a household with strangers is fraught with danger. One of you is invariably left holding the bag. Free advice: Live only with immediate family, otherwise it's cheaper, more peaceful to bunk alone. If money is an issue, simply seek smaller, less luxurious digs.

Any remedies for noisy neighbors?

I just moved away from some noisy neighbors in my old apartment...and moved into an apartment AGAIN with noisy neighbors. I'm cursed! We have been here about 3 weeks and have not said anything until yesterday (trying to talk to our neighbors in our old apartment just made it worse, even through the matter how nice. So, we thought we'd just avoid it with our new neighbors and just be patient). Well, apparently they have a child (about 5 years old) with Downs Syndrome. Supposedly he likes to bounce and stuff. This is very loud and it shakes the apartment (believe it or not...if it's really him). This is a family with 5 kids. My wife and I are in the apartment above them. We learned from our last neighbors that it would be better to be on the second floor instead...WRONG! With this family it doesn't make a difference. It's really funny because when we were moving in, my wife appologized if we were being noisy moving in and the first thing out neighbor asked is if we had kids. My wife replied that we don't and the mrs. neighbor was super glad because the 2 little children with the couple before us woke her up at 6 am all the time. Then she gave a snide remark about how people need to seriously discipline their children blah blah blah.

Besides this, they play the music loud with booming bass and they ALWAYS slam their doors. They slam the door like five times in a row even at 2 a.m. in the morning! I'm just super frustrated with noisy apartment neighbors. I'm a light sleeper and I'm just dying here. I told my wife that we're never living in an apartment AGAIN! But until then...any suggestions? All well thought-out questions are extremely appreciated! Ask questions if you want more info.

Biblitz replies:

Most jurisdictions have noise bylaws that stipulate noise levels, how much is reasonable and until how long. Eleven p.m. is usually the limit on music, parties, night noises. Best idea is to start a detailed log describing the different noises and when they occur. Sounds like a lot of work but you're up, anyway. Do this for a week or so. When you've accumulated some evidence, draft a letter quoting the noise bylaw and fitting your facts contained in the log to the various provisions, i.e., doors slammed at 2 a.m., jumping and pounding weekdays - 9 a.m.- 11 a.m., then again from noon until 3 or 4 p.m. Explain at the conclusion that unless the noise is curbed to reasonable levels within the meaning of the noise bylaw and regulations, you'll notify municipal enforcement authorities and consider, if required, civil action. Cc to you and landlord.
Or you might write the same letter to landlord with a request to forgive or reduce rent/security deposit in view of the noise until you are able to secure more agreeable digs, that had you known about the noise you would never have moved. Add that while you appreciate landlord is unable to police the conduct of tenants, that your log clearly shows neighbors below exceed the bounds of reasonable noise as per the bylaw and regs. and that while some may find it tolerable, you do not. This may get you free rent until you're able to move again, but the log here is key. You have to show you've examined the bylaw and that the noise you experience exceeds those parameters.

Any law/rules/regulations to prevent construction on weekends?

I am living in a landed property and the next door house is being rebuilded completely. It goes at 8.30 am in the morning until 5-6 pm. The problem is they are doing it at saturdays and sometimes sundays too. The noise is driving me crazy and its not renovating, it REBUILDING. I asked the manager of the construction to start the work a little later on a saturday morning and he pretended not to hear me. I would think i deserve a break after a full 5 days work and now i cant even relax in my own house. Are there any rules or regulations or law that i can use against them if ever i would take them to the police? Can i file a complaint to the police? Aren't they suppose to stick to working hours? (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday)

Biblitz replies:
Yes! There are noise bylaws in most jurisdictions that stipulate the hours construction may take place and when exceptions apply. Some municipalities give crews permission to work weekends in certain circs, which vary in each jurisdiction. The proper approach is to alert the municipal authorities when you believe a construction site is operating in breach. Police won't attend, but a municipal building inspection crew often will. If the site is acting outside the rules, owner will be fined. You may also bring a civil action for the breach if you're suffering real losses as a result of the breach.

Disabled friend fell in bath tub. Landlord is chaging her to fix it. Can they do that?

The apartments never provided her with railing in the tub. They are now charging her 350.00 to fix the damage. What rights does she have?

Biblitz replies:
Application of accessible construction rules and requirements are often determined by the age of the building. That's one question for your friend. Another is whether friend's fall/injury/dmg was the result of negligence on the part of landlord. If she was entitled to accommodation, did she follow proper procedures requesting it and, if so, does she have anything in writing to prove it? If so, she can e-mail her facts in a very brief msg to a personal injury atty to see if she has a claim. Frankly, it sounds pretty cheesy to bill someone for dmg caused by a fall that might well be the result of construction/maintenance negligence. People rarely expect those with disabilities to be fully apprised of their rights so they tend to exploit them. Tell friend to act quickly and to be sure to document fully any injuries/treatments as a result of fall. Poor thing. How frightening.

I get a free place to live at my job on site. Is it legal for my employer's family to do random house checks?

I am a full-time volunteer at a summer camp, where I get to live for free during the off season. The executive director's husband, who does not work at camp, occasionally decides he will come and do a house check without notice. Is this legal?

Biblitz replies:

No! But it will be tricky to address with the local residential tenancy authority unless you have something in writing to evidence a landlord-tenant relationship. If not, write a ltr to exec dir something along these lines:

As you know, since (date you undertook residency) we've had an agreement in which I provide full-time volunteer srvcs at the (name of summer camp and location), including (list main srvcs you provide) in exchange for a tenancy in the house (location, description). While I understand owner landlord has the right to inspect the premises from time to time, the tenant also has a right to notice of the inspection. On the following occasions (dates, times) I've been surprised by landlord (name), who entered (with a key?) w/o notice. There was no indication of emergency at the time of any of these incidents, so, in fact, these were illegal forced entries. I would, of course, be pleased to comply with any reasonable inspections you wish to make in the manner prescribed by the legislation (list if you can the residential tenancy act in your jurisdiction). Is there some reason you are unable to comply with legal notice requirements? If not, I'll assume the matter is closed and that friendly relations remain so.

Thank-you for your kind attention to this matter.

This reminds exec dir that there is legislation governing even your tenancy arrangement, which differs from most only in the nature of consideration (payment). It confers rights and obligations on both parties. A somewhat light hand shows your willingness to resume friendly relations. If there is some underlying issue or question, such a letter also provides landlord with an opening to discuss it.