Help! My Landlord is Crazy!

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A friend who shall remain unnamed considered begging for deployment orders to help get out of his lease. Convinced that his landlord was crazier than anything he’d face downrange, he planned to speak to his commander about finding a potential assignment for him, quickly! Fortunately for our friend, he lived in Florida, a state that permits servicemembers the option to break a lease if they receive on base housing under Florida Statute Section 83.682(1)(d). This isn’t great news for military landlords in Florida, but for our friend, it was the good news he needed to help him escape a tough landlord situation.

Not all states help military renters escape a bad rental situation with on base housing orders, though, so just how crazy does a landlord have to be before you go running to your CO for deployment orders to help you break your lease?

I’ve heard some bad stories over the past few years!

I won’t digress into the nitty gritty of the rare hellish landlord-tenant situation because I’m not here to scare you from renting. Instead, I’ll share some of the more likely scenarios that you may encounter from your landlord.

  1. Entering your property without notification. It is reasonable to expect inspections; however, all states require that landlords notify tenants prior to entry, though the amount of time differs per state, so check your lease and local codes.  

  2. Failure to follow up on maintenance requests. Make sure to understand the difference between a non-essential repair and an urgent maintenance request. Our two posts Are You a Military Slumlord? and Is Your Tenant Responsible for This Maintenance Issue? will help you better understand the difference.  

  3. Failure to fulfill pest control obligations. A study by RocketLawyer showed that pest control issues were one of the top four causes of conflict between landlords and tenants. If you’ve complained about pest control, then make sure to keep a written record documenting your complaint just in case you need to refer to it at a later date.

For the most part, these situations occur because your landlord may be new to the military landlord scene; perhaps this is his only rental property, and he hasn’t made himself fully aware of the tenant-landlord laws of which he may not realize he’s in violation.

So, if you are currently renting or preparing to rent, then prepare yourself for the above situations. Most are easy to remedy; they’ll likely involve nothing more than a quick conversation with your landlord to help him realize his error. You could also point him in the direction of growing into your ideal military landlord by sharing with him how much you love our blog and resource articles and then sending him the link to start reading himself! You can then congratulate yourself on doing a good thing for not only yourself, but also the tenants who come after you.

If, however, you find that your landlord persists in violating tenant-landlord laws for your area, then seek assistance. You can start by going to your base JAG for advice, but for the most part, they will then refer you to local civil courts. Landlord-tenant laws are a civil matter and must be dealt with in civil courts.

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photo credit: Mikkel BigandtDollarPhotoClub