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Should you be afraid of your landlord?

AP - There is a fear on the rise going on around the bubble. That fear is being able to talk to your landlord. Fear that if the tenant asks to have something fixed that they will then be evicted, or have their rent increased to an unaffordable level.

So what are a tenant's choices? Option A appears to be to make the repair yourself or hire your own contractor. If you are a contractor that can make your own repairs, odds are you are out working at this time. And it is increasingly apparent that getting a contactor for labor work is "rather difficult" at this time. It is possible that once the weather changes and construction season ends that there will be additional contractors available. But this year, an end to the construction season and contractors being freed up even for a couple of months remains to be seen. Since more and more people are afraid to ask their landlord for the necessary repair, the option that is heard increasingly is that the tenant just ends up going without the repair being done.

So now the questions are for the landlord. How do you dispel the fear that your tenant may be having? Or do you want that fear over them as a way to ensure that they pay their rent on time all the time? Do you want your tenant fixing up your place, or do you want them avoiding you out of fear?

What is obvious is that in the bubble, a number of people have tenant/landlord relationships that did not require a contractual agreement or lease. You would hope that those original agreements were out of trust. But if this were the case all the time, why is this fear rising in tenants? Is it possible that getting these people to rent originally was out of necessity because the landlord needed those individuals at a time when people were not renting? And now that there are more profitable options, the current tenant should be afraid?

There are many stories out there of people that have had to leave due to unaffordable rent. However there are also many stories out there of landlords that while having the opportunity to gouge, have indeed held their rent within reason. And you would have to believe that just about every landlord with a decent size place to rent in the bubble has been contacted by big business to see if they can be persuaded to kick their current tenants out so that they can move their people in. The public awareness that this is happening is fear enough.

Should tenants be justifiably afraid? Afraid may not be the right word, but tenants should have a Plan B. And be prepared, tenants, to make sure your Plan B includes options outside of the bubble. The reality is that as housing catches up, houses for sale will catch up first. The trickle down effect to rentals is going to take even longer. So the message is probably simple for renters, especially those without a lease: you better be looking as well.