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My landlord just unleashed the worst verbal vitriol on me and I am afraid


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Old 2nd February 2018, 3:17 AM   #1
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My landlord just unleashed the worst verbal vitriol on me and I am afraid

The good thing is that I am moving out of my place in a week. I have lived in my current place for nearly 8 years, have always paid my rent every month in full, have never caused any trouble and have not damaged a stitch of the property in my time here.

I had to give my current landlord short notice because a much better place with much cheaper rent literally fell into my lap, but I still paid for the entire month of February, including utilities. My landlord is nevertheless convinced that I am an awful tenant, and left me a voice message that began with, "Listen up, Chicken Sh*t" and asked that I call her. She's verbally been bully-ish to me before, so I have tried to avoid talking to her over the phone or in person and to communicate via email. But I felt she'd only escalate if I didn't call her back. So I did, and what ensued was the most psycho, most horrifically abusive unleashing on me that I have experienced to date from anyone, business or personal, in my life. It is several hours later and I am having trouble typing because my hands are still shaking. Among such insults as, "Look at you, 40 years old and not married because no one wants to marry you," she also threatened to have the locks changed tomorrow, to throw my things out onto the lawn, and to rip up my check for all of February's rent because it's "dirty money" (I almost laughed at the last one and would have, if I weren't almost crying from all the other things she said.)

I'm moving in a week, rushing to finish packing to be ready for the movers and to have time to clean the apartment from top to bottom before I leave and after my furniture is gone. She and her husband have moved a few states away while her son is living at and overseeing their home and the maintenance of my rental property that is an extension of their property (separate building), but she is driving here in a few days solely to "see about the apartment."

I am afraid of her. I am certain that had our conversation this evening taken place face to face, she would have tried to hit or push me. I got the distinct feeling that she is really jonesing for a fight and that her whole M.O. is to be as absolutely awful as she possibly can. I will be gone during the week for as long as 10 hours each day, possibly 12 hours some days, and I am afraid for my things; I am afraid she will change the locks on me; I am afraid for my physical safety.

Do I have any recourse? The conversation tonight--I wish I'd thought to record it because it was so psycho, no exaggeration, and cruel--made me consider calling the police to see about a restraining order, but without proof of imminent danger of some sort, they won't do anything. I can't move sooner because I've already paid the $500 deposit for the movers for the day next week. I'm thinking of asking a friend to come here and stay with me, but I fear no one will believe me that I have reason to be afraid of my landlord, since no one but me heard our conversation. Besides, it's not at night that I'm scared of her, but during the day, when I fear for my belongings, and in the evenings, when I will be home.

I'd been telling myself before tonight that after next week I will never have to see or deal with her again, but seeing how bent on some kind of drama she seems to be, now I'm not so sure. I'm taking photos of everything and putting everything into writing with her. Except, unfortunately, that conversation. What can I do to protect myself and my things?
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Old 2nd February 2018, 3:43 AM   #2
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How frightening. I'd be still shaking if I were you.

Do you know if she's got a history of hurting any previous tenants? Having someone stay with you is not a bad idea. Is there anyone who could do it?
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Old 2nd February 2018, 4:25 AM   #3
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How frightening. I'd be still shaking if I were you.

Do you know if she's got a history of hurting any previous tenants? Having someone stay with you is not a bad idea. Is there anyone who could do it?
Re: her behavior towards previous tenants, I think she only had one before me. The only thing I know is that even though she was extremely nice the first few years I was there, I had this uncomfortable intuition about her that something was..."off." I felt guilty about it because she was so nice, but then she yelled at me one day and I was like, "That's it--that's what I was sensing beneath the seeming niceness." And one thing I've learned is that when someone is this way to one person, no doubt they're that way to others.

Re: would someone stay with me, there are some people who no doubt would want to if they could...but they have families and lives and it's not the greatest proposition given my stuff is everywhere getting packed up. The thing is, even if they can sleep over they won't be able to guard my stuff during the day or necessarily be there every evening with me, which is when I fear a confrontation from her.

Is there anything I could do to keep her away from me until I can get moved out? I'm also afraid she will end up changing the locks on me or something.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 4:43 AM   #4
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Wow. A lot of spam on your post! Reporting it all..

With respect to having someone stay, what you say about your place being in a state of disarray makes sense.

I'm in Australia, so I don't know your laws. However, I would expect that even as landlord, she's not able to bust in on you without warning. And with a valid and paid lease, she can't change your locks. If she does either of these things, I'd call the police pronto. And perhaps have a copy of your lease and receipts with you.

Does she live in the same building as you?

Last edited by basil67; 2nd February 2018 at 4:48 AM..
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Old 2nd February 2018, 4:53 AM   #5
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Wow. A lot of spam on your post! Reporting it all..

With respect to having someone stay, what you say about your place being in a state of disarray makes sense.
Maybe I could ask a friend to come spend a few evenings with me, not spend the night? After all, even my landlord has to sleep sometime. Would you do that, for a friend, for a few evenings?

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I'm in Australia, so I don't know your laws. However, I would expect that even as landlord, she's not able to bust in on you without warning. And with a valid and paid lease, she can't throw you out. If she does either of these things, I'd call the police pronto.
If she changes the locks or messes with my stuff in any way, I will call the police. However, she also threatened to start painting the apartment the day I am moving out and I'm afraid she'll come in and start on that while I'm out of the house, and then I can't kick her out and the police couldn't help then. I told her she will have 19 days of the apartment being fully vacated for the month to paint the walls but she wasn't hearing reason. She wants to start painting while I'm still here. That's what I mean when I say I truly fear her: it seems she is deliberately doing whatever she can to make it as hard for me to move as she can, not caring that going about it that way hurts HER.

I've thought about calling the police and asking for a restraining order on the basis of severe verbal abuse. But I only have her 13-second voicemail calling me "chicken sh*t" as proof. Do you think the police would bother? Could I at least call and run the situation by them?

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Does she live in the same building as you?
I live in a separate apartment on her property. Just feet away from her house.

Yeah, I don't know what's up with all the spam.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 5:06 AM   #6
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Is it normal in US to rent directly from a landlord rather than go through an agency? In Australia, real estate agency handles everything and I have never met any of my landlords before.

Do you have any kind of formal tenant protection groups that can threaten to sue her?
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Old 2nd February 2018, 5:13 AM   #7
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I'm seriously out of my depth here. But I suspect she can't just bust in and start painting while all your stuff is there. What country are you in? If it's the US, you may have to wait for the posters to come online tomorrow.

In the meantime, are there any tenant's rights groups online? They may be able to answer your questions....even if you find a list of what your rights are.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 5:16 AM   #8
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Is it normal in US to rent directly from a landlord rather than go through an agency? In Australia, real estate agency handles everything and I have never met any of my landlords before.

Do you have any kind of formal tenant protection groups that can threaten to sue her?
Both types of rentals happen in the states--direct from landlord and through a broker.

I don't know that I would have grounds to sue her given I cannot prove that this horrendous interaction occurred. I really wish I'd managed to record some of it; as I said, all I have is the 13-second voicemail calling me an epithet.

I want to protect myself from her. She obviously feels no restraint in being as verbally horrific to me as she wants to be, and I want to prevent her from having an opportunity to do so again. One friend suggests I push a box in front of the door when I'm home next week so that if she knocks and I don't answer, which I won't, if she then tries to let herself in she'll have to push past the box and in the meantime I can call the police.

I've also wondered if I could get a combination lock that would work to block a key lock? Meaning, would there be a type of lock I could use without installing anything in the door or such that would override the key so she couldn't come in when I'm gone?
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Old 2nd February 2018, 6:14 AM   #9
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I'm seriously out of my depth here. But I suspect she can't just bust in and start painting while all your stuff is there. What country are you in? If it's the US, you may have to wait for the posters to come online tomorrow.

In the meantime, are there any tenant's rights groups online? They may be able to answer your questions....even if you find a list of what your rights are.
Sorry I missed this--we must have posted around the same time.

It became clear to me in that psycho conversation with my landlord that she is not at all concerned with the rules and protocol for a landlord/tenant interaction. I don't know why, but she really seems bent on being as ugly as possible on purpose, as though to thwart me, just because she can and with no regard that if she impedes me being able to leave, it impedes her being able to get the apartment ready for a new tenant.

I'm also feeling it's possible she is showing signs of early-stage dementia. She was never THIS ugly. She had some real bitchy moments, but this was just...gruesome; her words were a chainsaw. That, and she was totally irrational and even delusional at times.

I don't know of any tenant rights groups I could get in touch with here. Where would I find out about such a group?
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Old 2nd February 2018, 11:14 AM   #10
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Update

I called my local police station first thing this morning and an officer called me back immediately to advise me of what recourse I can take. The officer is going to call her to advise her that she does not have the right to change the locks or throw my things out on the lawn or otherwise tamper with my stuff, and that she could be liable for harassment charges if she continues to verbally assault me.

He advised me NOT to threaten to disseminate the recording I considered lying that I made of our conversation last night, because, in his words, that would be "playing into her game." Instead, he advised me to email her to request that from here on all communication with me needs to occur in writing over text or email, not phone calls, voice mails, or in person. I'm composing this email now.

The officer is going to get back to me after he has talked to her.

Hopefully this will take care of the issue.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 11:34 AM   #11
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Make sure you take lots of pictures of the way you leave the apartment. It sounds to me like she's doing this to keep your deposit because I don't see any other motivator.

It's good that you got the police involved. That was very smart.
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Old 2nd February 2018, 3:49 PM   #12
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Wow! She is really not happy you're moving out is she!!

Couple of questions:
Did you sign or agree to anything when you moved in? If you did either, what were the terms?
Did you pay a deposit when you moved in?
I'm asking these questions for reasons which I'll follow up with.

I'm very pleased the police took this seriously, however, you had this idea...

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Maybe I could ask a friend to come spend a few evenings with me, not spend the night? After all, even my landlord has to sleep sometime. Would you do that, for a friend, for a few evenings?
Absolutely do this (!) even though you have informed the police.
I used to rent one of the spare bedrooms in my house and at one stage I needed to kick someone out under bad circumstances and I got two of my male friends to come over for the evening when he moved his stuff out so as to avoid any hassle from him.
The boys were perfectly happy and sat watching TV but were there just for my personal protection should I need it.
They were fine with doing this for me and nothing happened but I didn't feel silly - I would have felt more stupid if I hadn't got some support with me and something had happened!

If you have valuables which you can pack up and store with a friend too I would get that sorted asap - it just makes sense to protect your stuff - just in case.

If she comes in painting then you just move out same as you would have - there's no other way around that unless you can move all of your stuff sooner to storage.

Have you asked whether you might be able to get access early to your new place and whether the movers could do anything sooner?
It's worth an ask - you never know until you ask.
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Old 3rd February 2018, 12:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by amaysngrace View Post
Make sure you take lots of pictures of the way you leave the apartment. It sounds to me like she's doing this to keep your deposit because I don't see any other motivator.

It's good that you got the police involved. That was very smart.
Do video and take pictures with the date and time showing. Also, do not go alone, bring family and/or friends, whoever can help. I suggest the quicker you move out the better off you will be. And yes ask someone to sleep over for the rest of your time there, better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 3rd February 2018, 1:50 AM   #14
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However, she also threatened to start painting the apartment the day I am moving out and I'm afraid she'll come in and start on that while I'm out of the house, and then I can't kick her out and the police couldn't help then.
She can't just come in and start working. I believe in most states, landlords have to give at least 24 hours' notice when they need to enter the apartment. You may want to look that up to be certain. If she gives you proper notice, I guess you'd have to let her in to start painting. If not, she would be trespassing and you should absolutely call the police. Also, keep in mind that since you've paid February rent, that place is yours until the end of the month, even if you move all your stuff out on the 10th. I'm not suggesting that you have anything to do with the place once you've moved out, but just know your rights.

So it's her son that you've mostly been dealing with so far? Is he a reasonable person? If he seems decent and fair, you should let him know what's going on and tell him that she threatened to change the locks and move your stuff out. He might be able to talk some sense into her.

Set up a camera in your house. They're not that expensive. I'm not sure you can legally change the locks or use some kind of combination lock to prevent them from entering, but you can totally hide a camera in there so you have proof if she comes in and starts damaging/moving your property.

Are you a month-to-month renter, or did you sign a lease for a certain length of time? If you signed a lease and you're trying to get out of it early, you might have some more problems coming your way. If you're month-to-month, in my experience, you must give a 30-day notice to vacate. If you did this on the 1st of February, you may not have given a proper 30-day notice, since Feb only has 28 days. I'm honestly not sure how that works, but you may want to find out for certain so that you are 100% in the right, legally.

Get all of your paperwork in order. Find a copy of your lease, proof that you've paid your rent, proof that you gave notice to vacate, etc. Document every single thing that happens. Even if it's just a verbal conversation, write down the date, time, and place it happened and what the conversation entailed.

For my own curiosity, do you have any idea why she flipped out on you? Like, are you trying to break your lease early, for example? There's no justifying her insanity and verbal abuse, but I'm just wondering if her anger has any basis in reality, at all.
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Old 3rd February 2018, 4:10 AM   #15
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Wow! She is really not happy you're moving out is she!!

Couple of questions:
Did you sign or agree to anything when you moved in? If you did either, what were the terms?
Did you pay a deposit when you moved in?
I'm asking these questions for reasons which I'll follow up with.
I've lived there since July 2010, and for the first year, there was a lease. After that it was month to month, with an agreement from HER that she would give me at least a couple months' notice if she needed me to move out. I verbally agreed to give her a couple months' notice, "if possible" (her words). In this case, unfortunately it was not possible because the new apartment was an opportunity that fell into my lap just over the past several weeks. I dreaded giving her notice because I feared some irrational, abusive response from her but I had no idea it would be as bad as it was. In the end, I gave her 30 days' notice, not to the actual day I am moving out but to the end of February, for which I paid the full months' rent and utilities.

Re: deposit, no, she never asked for a deposit nor the last month's rent.

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I'm very pleased the police took this seriously, however, you had this idea...


Absolutely do this (!) even though you have informed the police.
I used to rent one of the spare bedrooms in my house and at one stage I needed to kick someone out under bad circumstances and I got two of my male friends to come over for the evening when he moved his stuff out so as to avoid any hassle from him.
The boys were perfectly happy and sat watching TV but were there just for my personal protection should I need it.
They were fine with doing this for me and nothing happened but I didn't feel silly - I would have felt more stupid if I hadn't got some support with me and something had happened!
Thanks for the encouragement. I have one friend who lives five minutes away and who has insisted she will come over a.s.a.p. if there is any problem, as well as to just come over one evening next week. I'm going to ask two other girlfriends, hopefully so that Mon., Tues., and Wed. evenings there will be a second car in my driveway and someone in the apartment with me that surely will make my landlord think twice before coming by and demanding to talk to me. I'm pretty confident she won't dare be so ugly to me in front of someone else. She's "clever" with her abuse in that she is good at hiding how horrific she really is; and she targeted me, no doubt, because for a long time I was very isolated in this small town and she knew that.

I still don't know what I can do while I'm away at work, in terms of my things. As you suggested below, I am moving an expensive musical instrument to a friend's house tomorrow because I wouldn't put it past my landlord to take it just to be a jerk. She is very vindictive as I saw in spades last night and honestly I wouldn't put it past her to poison my water that I keep in a Brita pitcher in my fridge, or do something like that.


Is there a way I can lock my front door with a combo lock or something that would override the key lock? So that someone with the key, but without the combo, could not enter my apartment?


Quote:
If you have valuables which you can pack up and store with a friend too I would get that sorted asap - it just makes sense to protect your stuff - just in case.

If she comes in painting then you just move out same as you would have - there's no other way around that unless you can move all of your stuff sooner to storage.

Have you asked whether you might be able to get access early to your new place and whether the movers could do anything sooner?
It's worth an ask - you never know until you ask.
I just got the keys to my new place today and am going to take a few things up there in my car every day after work, which is halfway between the new apartment and my current one. I don't think the movers can come any sooner, maybe one day sooner but I don't think I would be ready. Originally they were coming on Thursday and then my official move-out day was to be Friday, so I could clean the empty apartment from top to bottom. Since my landlord has threatened to be there, I now plan to clean as I pack and then when the movers come and I leave with them, to have that be it so that I can get out of there, be rid of her, and never come back. I'll get it all as clean as possible but my original plan to get the place sparkling, with carpets cleaned and everything, went out the window after she spoke to me the way she did. Of course she won't see it that way but at this point I want to do anything possible to never have to see her face again.

The cop who spoke with her told me that if she starts verbally assaulting me, to keep my phone with me so that I can immediately start recording her, and then he said I can call the police and they'll send an officer over. I really hope it doesn't come to that because honestly I want to do whatever I have to to not endure another verbal attack...or...and I do fear this...a physical one.
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