Are you worried that your landlord wants to kick you out of your home?
It’s a legitimate concern, especially if you have that feeling in your gut that your landlord just doesn’t like you and they have already been giving you subtle vibes that they want to get rid of you.
In this article, I am going to cover 9 telltale signs that your landlord wants you out and some tips on how you can respond (note that some of these landlord actions may actually be restricted by the law). We’ll get into all of that.
Let’s get started!
The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.
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1. Passive Aggressive Behavior
Landlords are people too and will tend to exhibit classic signs of dislike through passive-aggressive behaviors, such as snarky remarks.
For example, they may express their true feelings about you by giving backhanded compliments like, “I see you cleaned up – it’s a nice change.”
Or if you complain at all about any aspect of the property or ask for something to be repaired, they may reply with, “maybe this property isn’t right for you”.
Other patterns of passive-aggressive behavior can include ignoring you or procrastinating around your requests (more on that later).
Of course, there are also the classic signs that someone just doesn’t like you very much, such as lack of eye contact, maintaining their distance from you, crossing their arms, sighing or grunting in response to things you say or do, and so on.
2. Responds Slowly to Questions or Repair Requests
Ok, we touched on this earlier, but a classic sign that a landlord wants you out is if they ignore your questions or requests (or delay addressing them).
If you have been giving them a barrage of repair requests, for example, they may start to think that you are hypersensitive or too picky because you are asking to fix very minor things.
I am not saying that you actually are this way – just that this could be how your landlord views you if you are constantly asking them for things.
When your landlord gets tired of your requests, they may start labeling you in their mind as a pain in the butt tenant and want to get rid of you as soon as possible.
In this case, it is very common for a landlord to disengage with the tenant and slow down their responsiveness.
Now bear in mind that if a landlord does this, they may be violating your lease or applicable laws. In many states, landlords are required to fix things within a reasonable period of time, especially if they are essential for habitability.
So do your research and understand your rights if you think your landlord is abusing their position.
For your convenience, here’s our 50 state reference table (including D.C.) that will link you to the official landlord tenant laws of your state.
3. Is Highly Suspicious of You
On a related note, if your landlord is suspicious of everything you do, that’s another sign that they may want you out.
For example, let’s say the landlord comes in to fix the garbage disposal because the tenant indicated it is broken. They come in and discover that the tenant put in broken pieces of glass or there was bone stuck in the disposal that caused it to jam.
Obviously, the malfunction was caused by the acts of the tenant.
If the next month, they call about a broken washing machine and the landlord discovers that the malfunction was caused by the tenant overloading it, then they will start to suspect that the tenant has a pattern of abusing the property.
Going forward, they will ask very probing questions around every future request and will probably make sure that their tech checks very carefully to find out what caused the malfunction.
4. Makes Unjustified Complaints or Accusations
If your landlord does not want you in the rental, they may start to nitpick everything you do or falsely accuse you of violating the lease even though you did nothing wrong.
If you start to see this pattern of hostility or it looks like they are “building a case” against you, it’s a pretty good indicator that they may want you out.
If you don’t want to give them a hook to hang their hat on, make sure you follow the lease requirements and rules to the letter and document any conversations or communications you have with your landlord around complaints and the like.
5. Excessive Inspections or Drops in Without Much Notice
In a similar vein, your landlord may try to catch you violating the lease through frequent inspections and try to evict you on that basis. They may also try to catch you off guard by dropping by your property without a lot of notice.
Now there may be legal limitations on this type of activity, so you should understand your rights.
In most states, landlords are required to give advance notice of at least 24 hours before entering, and they are not allowed to conduct excessive inspections that would violate your right to quiet enjoyment of the property.
If you want to learn more, check out my full article on this topic here.
6. Suddenly Starts Enforcing Rules
If your landlord has been pretty relaxed throughout the tenancy, but suddenly starts to hold a hard line when it comes to the rules, that could be a sign that they want you out of the property.
This could serve two purposes for the landlord.
First, they know that making things more restrictive could lead you to want to leave.
Second, if they start enforcing rules and you don’t comply, that could build their case for a breach of the lease and eventual eviction (depending on how serious the violation is).
Again, make sure you follow the rules when this happens if you don’t want to give your landlord an excuse to kick you out.
7. Increases Rent Dramatically At Renewal Time
One of the classic ways that a landlord can try to force a tenant out is by increasing the rent.
This often occurs when the initial lease term is up and a renewal term is about to go into effect. Of course, if you are on a month-to-month lease, this could happen at basically any time.
They may claim that the increase is due to market conditions shifting, but many landlords will try to work with the tenant to arrive at a reasonable middle ground. After all, it is in their interest to keep a good tenant and avoid a potential vacancy.
But if the landlord is taking a hard line on the increase and doesn’t seem to care whether you agree to it or not, that’s a pretty clear sign that your landlord wants you out.
Of course, not all rent increases are reasonable or even legal (if there are rent control laws in place). To learn more about what is a reasonable rent increase, check out my article on the topic here.
8. Does Not Renew Lease
Increasing the rent at renewal time is not the only sign that a landlord does not want you to continue on.
They may simply decide to not renew the lease at all. Of course, there may be legal limitations on this depending on your state and local laws.
For example, in some cases, landlords cannot refuse to renew unless there is just cause or if the refusal is an illegal retaliatory action.
As I’ve already mentioned, many of these potential actions from landlords may be subject to legal limitations based on your applicable laws.
So if you want a definitive answer on what your landlord can (or can’t) do, you will need to research the relevant laws in your jurisdiction (or have a lawyer help you navigate through it all).
If you prefer to have a lawyer assist you, I would try JustAnswer. They boast access to thousands of highly-rated, verified real estate lawyers whom you can connect with via their unlimited chat service.
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9. Offers to Release You From Lease
Sometimes the signs are not subtle at all.
If a landlord really wants you out as soon as possible, they may blatantly offer to release you from the lease. In some cases, landlords offer “Cash for Keys.”
This is when they will offer a sum of money to the tenant if the tenant agrees to vacate the premises. The idea is that the cash reimburses the tenant for moving expenses and compensates them for the hassle of relocating.
A lot of times, this is used when the tenant is already behind on rent and it is basically the landlord wanting to wash their hands of a problem tenant (and avoid the cost of a full blown eviction).
So there you have it – 9 telltale signs that your landlord wants you out. Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!