How to Handle Tenant Harassment

How to Handle Tenant Harassment

As a landlord, you work hard to avoid even the appearance of harassment when it comes to your tenants. The goal is to strike a healthy balance with communication and allowing your tenant to live in peace in the home that they’re renting from you. It’s difficult, but the longer you manage your rentals, the better you get at it.

But what do you do if you are on the receiving side of tenant harassment?

Handling a tenant who has begun to harass you as the landlord can be tough. However, you should never let harassing behaviors by tenants go unchecked. As a landlord or property manager, you will not only want to address and resolve such issues but also protect yourself in the process. To do this, you will need to be able to recognize signs of harassment from your resident. In addition, it is important to know the right steps to take so as to deal with the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible. So what should you do when your tenant harasses you?

Read on to learn more.

What constitutes tenant harassment?

Tenant harassment refers to any act committed by or on behalf of a tenant that is intended to cause or actually causes harm to a property manager or landlord. Harassment of landlords by tenants can take many forms, with some being more extreme than others. Examples of harassment include:

  • Making hurtful comments, threats, and verbal abuse
  • Lying about paying rent 
  • Causing excessive property damage
  • Violating other tenants’ rights to live in a habitable rental property. This could be through disruptive behavior that disturbs other tenants or the landlord. It can also happen if the tenant is repeatedly a subject of noise complaints or destroys other tenants’ properties.
  • Refusing to leave when evicted
  • Physically assaulting a landlord

What a Landlord Should and Should Not Do

When you run into tenant harassment, resist the temptation to respond aggressively. Maintaining your professionalism will assist in preventing the situation from escalating and help you avoid legal trouble. If your tenant is engaging in harassing behavior, do not:

  • Threaten the tenant back
  • Change the locks while the tenant still lives in the property
  • Remove the tenant’s belongings
  • Renew your tenant’s lease

Your Options

As a property manager or owner, you have your rights and protections under the law. When harassed by your tenant, handling the situation properly will enable you to protect yourself without facing legal consequences. Here are the options available to you.


Regardless of the form of harassment or whether you receive lawsuit threats, do not panic. Remaining calm will allow you to make sound decisions and address the issue rationally.


An important step in dealing with a harassing tenant is to ask them to stop. Make sure all communications are recorded since they can be used in court if it becomes necessary. In case they do not agree to stop, you can take tougher measures.


Even as you try to handle the tough situation, remember to document everything. Proper documentation will come in handy in the event that the matter ends up in court.


Harassment can take a dangerous turn. Ensure you report any dangerous behavior to the police, particularly if you feel unsafe or your resident sends you threats.


Knowledge of the law around these matters will help you understand your rights as well as know what to do and what not to do. You will also be in a better position to avoid breaking the law, something that will save you a lot of trouble.


If your resident does not stop the harassment or you are unable to find a solution, you can begin an eviction process. However, you should ensure the entire eviction process is done legally.


A little bit of prevention can help you avoid the stress associated with dealing with a problem tenant. Below are ways to spot signs of a tenant that may turn out to be problematic.

Meet the tenant: Before renting out your property, take time to meet tenants. Be sure to ask the right questions and pay attention to how they respond.  

Run a background check: A thorough background check can reveal any criminal background, credit reports, eviction reports and more.

Contact previous landlords: Whenever possible, contact a tenant’s previous landlord to learn more about the individual’s rental period. That way, you can get an idea of how the tenant will treat you.

Go with your gut: At the end of the day, listen to your gut before accepting a prospective tenant.

In the end, professional tenant screening can go a long way in helping you avoid a host of tenant problems. LandlordStation provides the tools you need to stay on top of your properties. We have different tenant screening plans to help make the rental process easier. Visit our website today for more information.