landlord

Trinidad Sexism

I rented an apartment at a great price from an elderly man. In front of his real estate agent he informed me there were no issues with utilities and he liked people that kept to themselves and he left people alone. Once I moved in, he began stopping me for random conversations that would eventually lead to comments about my body and statements involving sex or porn. I would repeatedly tell him I was uncomfortable with those conversations and it was inappropriate. He also started cutting off the water for random construction projects before I left for work or church and said he had the right to maintain the property whenever he wanted and it NEEDED to be done. Once inside my apartment, he would continue describing my “enticing” body and come back to topics of sex and porn. He repeatedly asked me if he had a chance with me/ if I would give him a chance/ and if I would be interested in him / what I thought about him/his appearance etc and I turned him down each time. No matter how many times I expressed not having any interest in anything with him, he would tell me I can’t blame him because he is a man and it’s because of the way I look and he sees my body and I have to expect that because he is just being a man. I continued telling him I was uncomfortable and eventually started asking one of my friends to come over any time the landlord had some random project to do in my apartment. The landlord then began approaching me when I was alone and scolding and lecturing me for bringing someone over as if he needed to be watched. I told him it was a matter of my safety and comfort as men I did not know were randomly going through my living space for these construction projects. He insisted that I should be alone when he comes over and that his right as landlord includes coming in whenever he wants to see what is going on in his place. He told me everyone he ever met loves him and thinks he’s the greatest landlord and man ever and I’m the only person he’s ever met that doesn’t love him. He has stopped me from going to work, church, and meetings. I’ve had to stay home for random “fixes” he claimed to have to urgently address which he used to sexually harrass me and claimed he never told me to stay home, I just chose to keep him company. He has also yelled at me for calling him out on it. He insisted to me that my friend coming over to witness what was going on was really just using me for sex and insisted that we were having sex and he KNEW (there was nothing of the sort). However, he would also soften his tone and speak very politely when my friend came over or if he saw that I had my phone on speaker. Due to the COVID situation, my job was affected and I asked the landlord if he would accept the government grant. He said yes but delayed in giving me my last receipt for half a month, which in turn delayed my application. By the end of the first month of missed rent, he gave me an eviction notice. After he sent passive aggressive notes by my door, I sent a lawyer’s letter informing him that he agreed to wait on the COVID grant, and I had offered to stop the grant and borrow cash to pay him and he refused, but that I would oblige and move out. Today he replied via email denying everything and claiming I brought men into the property, distinguished by their skin color. I am still moving out before the time limit given on the eviction notice. A lawyer told me that his denials and claims have nothing to do with eviction and he has no grounds. He is lying about everything and I think it’s because of the rejection to his sexual interest. There is a new tenant that looks like a fearful young woman and I wonder if she is his next target. I am literally afraid of turning on any lights or making a sound to give any indication that I am home to avoid anything more from him until I move out. I have been assaulted before and I am just trying to avoid being on the receiving end of another man’s anger.

Anonymous

My roommates have been without hot water for over a year. When I moved in, I contacted the landlord about this problem. When he finally showed up to the apartment after 6 weeks, he told me the problem was my fault because I had not made a key for the super. When I mentioned that was his job, the landlord blatantly said he did not mean to be chauvinistic, but that the men who live in my apartment would know what to do. He then told me I ask too many questions, and that the men should email him about the problem. To make matters worse, my roommates tried to convince me his comments weren’t sexist.

Georgie

I get an email from my landlord after posting in the shared group about restarting the router remotely if we have connectivity issues. Landlord’s worried I’m resetting everything, and emails. He explains what all the lights and the switch mean on the router. I calm him down and explain what I did and why. He replies ‘great reply by the way’ and ‘I’m impressed you know what you’re doing with the internet’ then proceeds to re-explain what the light on the front of the router means, and how to turn it off then on again with the switch.

MK

My landlord is a raging narcissist and misogynist and cherry picks his tenants as people whom he perceives as weak or timid so that he can pull all sorts of illegal stuff and intimidate his tenants into submission. I fit into his favorite category–young woman. The first year living here was frustrating but bearable. He would invade our privacy a bit and stop by at weird times, but I put up with it to maintain the peace. It wasn’t until this year and he started refusing to make repairs and trying to drop all sorts of illegal charges on us that I lost my patience and put my foot down and stand up for my tenant rights. That’s when the sexist harassment started: he called me “vile little bitch” and all sorts of other names, saying I was “hysterical” and only backing down when my dad, a man and the cosigner on my lease, threatened him with legal action. However, he then began sending me emails in secret, threatening to “make me pay” or make my life miserable for getting my dad involved. He sends these sorts of letters to me now any time I raise an issue, from fixing a light to asking him to provide simple documentation. He has decided that I’m some sort of ringleader whenever other tenants complain about issues with their own home and sends me emails when that happens, claiming I’ve poisoned people against him. He clearly can’t stand intelligent women or women who stand up for themselves. he acts completely differently with my male neighbors and even with my female neighbor who always insists her boyfriend be there when the landlord is around. It is clear he wants to come off as a “big strong man” in order to intimidate me. I’m finally moving out, but the people he’s been bringing in to see the apartment have one thing in common: all are young women in their 20s. I want to tell them all to run away as far as possible and I would if I weren’t afraid of this guy. I’ve been sexually harassed and called names before, but this is the first time in my life where I’ve wished I was a man so that this landlord would respect my autonomy and leave me alone. It makes my blood boil.

Joanne

After two years living with a violent abusive housemate I decided to voice my concerns to the landlord. His response? “If the atmosphere is so threatening, why haven’t you just moved out?” I just sat in my bedroom and cried. Basically either calling me a hysterical woman, or a liar or both. It just mirrors the situation of domestic violence victims where people ask “why didn’t she just leave?” instead of condemning the abuser. More to the point I shouldn’t have to leave my home because a man is threatening and intimidating me, it’s my home too. Anyway, fast forward six months to an incident after being woken up again at 4am by our housemate and two male strangers returning home drunk to our house, my female housemate gets up to find vomit all over her towels. She’s understandably angry and confronts him over this. She’s angry with him but not threatening. He leaves and doesn’t return for two days (on a day which he knows I always stay over at my partner’s so the house will be empty apart from him and my female housemate) and he runs into the kitchen launching a sustained verbal and very nearly physical attack on her. She repeatedly tries to speak to him in a logical reasoned manner but he simply screams at her “I do not want to listen to you, I just want to yell at you”. It was so bad that she handed in her notice to the landlord the next day and reported him to the police. The landlords response? “Well there are no witnesses, the police can’t prove anything and you are moving out anyway”. Now I work in criminal prosecution and I know that there was more than enough evidence for her to press charges if she had wanted to, however she was too frightened of repercussions to do so. Both the landlord and my housemate clearly have problems with women. They treat us like liars or hysterical fantasists when all we were was scared of being in the house with somebody who was clearly violent and clearly had a problem with women. He had a problem with me because we worked in the sector however I was more qualified than him (I’m a trainee Solicitor, he is a paralegal but tells everybody he’s a lawyer). The saddest thing about this is that we informed the landlord of our concerns six months previously and he did nothing. I have saved all of this correspondence to show the police should I ever need to. This man is dangerous and I have no doubt in my mind he is a future domestic violence perpetrator but nobody will listen to us.