There are two types of landlords in this world — the accommodating ones that care for their tenants, their health and safety, and those who show up only when it’s time to collect a check. Unfortunately, the dire reality is that petty property owners are abundant. The natural power imbalance of this complex relationship makes many landlords believe they have the right to lie, manipulate, and make their tenants’ life a living misery.
But there’s only so much injustice a person can take before taking matters into their own hands, right? Redditor YerTime did precisely that, as they explained in their ‘Malicious Compliance’ story. One month ago, when the user handed in their move-out notice, they found themselves in a predicament where the phrase “it was in the contract” was only the beginning of the conversation.
Being played and forced to pay an extra month in rent, they decided to go out of their way to make sure the deposit finds a way back into their wallet. What followed was a sweet act of revenge that put the management in its place by rightfully calling out their bluff. Read on to find out how the whole ordeal unfolded, and be sure to weigh in on the situation in the comments!
Recently, a tenant shared how they were forced to pay an extra month in rent and deal with manipulative behavior from the property management
Image credits: Anthony Tran (not the actual photo)
But instead of going along with their demands, they pulled a sweet act of malicious compliance
Image credits: Dustin Moore (not the actual photo)
Image credits: YerTime
In an ideal world, every tenant would have a harmonious relationship with their landlord that would allow them to promptly solve any issues that occur. But the reality is far more complex, and the amount of rental horror stories we hear every day does beg the question: why is having a terrible experience with a property owner or its management so relatable?
This may be explained by how common renting today actually is. According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, renters occupied around 36% of 122.8 million US households in 2019. Out of those, the most likely to rent are young people, racial and ethnic minorities, and those with lower incomes. No wonder why residents are sometimes fighting so hard to get back their well-deserved deposit, as rent makes up a big chunk of their expenses. The researchers stated that nearly half of tenants spend 30% or more of their gross household income on rent.
Many individuals have had the unfortunate “pleasure” of encountering an awful landlord at least once or twice. But with the internet at their fingertips, they can share their stories with everyone online, spark valuable discussions, and encourage others to learn more about their rights.
But whether it’s proprietors who unexpectedly bump up the rent or, as in the scenario in question, refuse to give back a security deposit even when the apartment was left in pristine condition, a fairly big part of residents are still getting actively gouged by their landlords.
As Rachel Khirallah, a Dallas-based attorney who handles real estate disputes told Vice, people are often wronged by a property owner or a rental company. “Some landlords are unfair, they lie, cheat, and steal. You have to be vigilant and take control over your own destiny.”
The attorney shared several precautions that may help people avoid or fight horrible landlords, especially when they’re withholding security deposits. “Landlords come up with various charges or reasons why the security deposit can’t be refunded.” She said that it’s crucial to analyze the itemized list of deductions on your deposit the property owner presents you with. “If they’re taking money off for things like general wear and tear and painting fees, or falsely claiming that apartment features were broken or ruined when they weren’t as a way to withhold your deposit, that’s illegal,” she added.
Remember, it’s important to document emails and phone conversations, and take pictures of your place before moving in and after moving out to prove your landlord’s claims are false. “You should always assume things might take a turn for the worse, and document literally everything,” Khirallah suggested.