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Creepy landlord
Old 06-08-2016, 05:57 PM   #1
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Creepy landlord

DD and her boyfriend recently signed a lease on a single-family home in MD. It's on a 17-acre parcel, they have use of the house and one acre of the parcel. The rest of the acreage is rented out for horse boarding.

The lease began on 5/15, and the landlord has been at the property multiple times since then to make simple repairs and "check on things". He came and cut the grass once, even though the lease states that the renters are responsible for that. Landlord lives about 20 minutes away, so he's making an effort to be there (it's not as if he lives next door). DD and BF are a little annoyed that the LL is there so often, they rented a place in the middle of nowhere because they wanted privacy.

Today landlord informed them that he wants to install security cameras at the house. He didn't specify where / what the cameras will be monitoring. BF is livid; DD doesn't want cameras installed but is using the classic stall tactic...responding to the email with a request for more information.

I know there are landlords on the forum, and I suspect some attorneys. The property is in MD. I can't imagine that it would be legal for a landlord to install security cameras that monitor the driveway / yard / patio / doors at a single-family home that is occupied by tenants. Does anyone have any experience with this?

DH and I are landlords of one town home. There is no way we would presume to put security cameras at that property. That's creepy! DD and BF do not want cameras at their place. Do they have any legal recourse?
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:21 PM   #2
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I can't speak from personal experience, but just did a search:

https://www.ezlandlordforms.com/arti...al-properties/

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Landlords/property managers may have sufficient reason for wanting to install cameras on the insides of their properties to protect it however; they should refrain from doing so while the property is occupied. Placing a camera on the outside of the property to monitor driveways, parking lots and other common areas should be sufficient if protection is the true goal.
The only time I rented was when away as a student many years ago before cameras everywhere. That we creepy enough just knowing the landlord had keys and did come in the apartment a few times, even doing repairs while we were in class.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:54 PM   #3
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First - in the landlords defense... he may be nervous about new tenants... Tenants can do a lot of damage in short order. When we first rented out our casita I was very nervous.

That said - the landlord should ask permission before entering - preferably 24 hours in advance. Obviously if there is an emergency (sewer seeping out under the front door, major water leak/flooding) then they should knock first, call out loudly, etc, before entering.

Has this landlord rented the place out before - or is this the landlord's former home? He may just be nervous/unfamiliar with the concepts of landlording.

Definitely NO to cameras inside the house or aimed towards any windows. That is a clear violation of privacy.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:54 PM   #4
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I'd start looking for another rental. This should be an adequate reason to break the lease.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:59 PM   #5
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This reminds me of a house I inquired about on VRBO. The owner called me and seemed very nice, we talked about a few details and then I mentioned that I didn't know the amount of the security deposit. He said " I don't ask for one. I have ways to know what's going on when I'm not there." Uh, oh...dead silence on my part.And then, Bye now.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:01 PM   #6
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Guy was probably talking with some friends and told them he rented the place.

Friends probably wondered why a couple of kids wanted a place out in the middle of nowhere.

I know, Meth Lab! Watching Breaking Bad maybe.

It sounds a little spooky, but the guy's not really scaring me yet.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:22 PM   #7
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The landlord is probably protecting his 'baby'. It's creepy, but probably not intentionally so.

I would not let him put cameras on the property in a SFH. A Multifamily, no problem. Or on the other 16 acres, no problem. Just not pointed at the front door, or the inside.

Maybe he is trying to protect the home from the other horse boarders.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:54 PM   #8
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Landlord probably is worried that his tenants could be drug dealers, making meth in the basement, throwing parties or engaging in unsavory behavior. A lot of landlords are leery about renting to young people.


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Old 06-08-2016, 09:17 PM   #9
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Landlord probably is worried that his tenants could be drug dealers, making meth in the basement, throwing parties or engaging in unsavory behavior. A lot of landlords are leery about renting to young people.


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I guess it depends on how one defines "young". DD is 26, BF is 28 years old. Of course, he may be worried about the meth lab...DD is working on her Ph.D. in chemistry and BF is a manager at an industrial plant. They could probably put together a pretty good operation!
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:39 PM   #10
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I'm a landlord for 3 properties, one somewhat similar, 6 acres, the tenants use about 1 acre and my father maintains and uses the rest. I look at tenants as clients, so I try to have a relationship with them (not as friends). I inspect the outside of the properties (or my father or a friend) once a month via drive by and I go in and walkthrough periodically 2 to 4 times a year. Those times are scheduled at least a few day in advance. In some states tenants can refuse entry by landlord for non-emergencies unless the landlord provides written 24 hour notice (this is my understanding, not a lawyer). Maybe you should simply talk to the landlord, express your concerns. Perhaps compromise and say you would be happy to have the camera system set up so that you can monitor and record them yourself and maybe allow remote monitoring by the land lord when you are gone for extended periods. You could change the password for access when you return. Or offer that maybe a monitored alarm security system would make you more comfortable than the cameras. You generally can have you and the landlord be called when there is an alarm. A cooperative landlord -tenant relationship is a good one.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Philliefan33 View Post
I guess it depends on how one defines "young". DD is 26, BF is 28 years old. Of course, he may be worried about the meth lab...DD is working on her Ph.D. in chemistry and BF is a manager at an industrial plant. They could probably put together a pretty good operation!
Ding ding ding! This added info is helpful. I bet the landlord mentioned this to some buddies over some beers and they were like "WTF dingleberry, those guys are setting up an industrialized meth lab to put Walter White to shame!". Then he realized he'd been snookered (or so he now thinks). He's making sure there's not a lot of foot traffic and chemical barrels being unloaded.

FYI I knew a former student studying for his chemistry PHD that actually did cook meth and got arrested for it when it blew up in his face. Of course he said he was just experimenting.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:02 PM   #12
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Maybe THEY? you should simply talk to the landlord, express THEIR? your concerns. A cooperative landlord -tenant relationship is a good one.
Maybe you should just advise them to sit down and actually talk to their landlord? Then they might understand what he wants to do and why, and he might understand their feelings about it etc? Maybe they could come to a result that is agreeable?
Don't people actually talk to people anymore?
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:10 PM   #13
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They should carefully read the lease, and then the rental laws in MD.
I once rented and the landlord wanted to sell the place (after he had me sign a renewal for a year without telling me he was going to sell).
His agent came by and said he would show folks inside, I told him, my lease said the landlord cannot harrass me and coming in is harrassment.
Nobody ever came in, and I moved as soon as I could.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:07 AM   #14
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What's wrong with telling the LL exactly how you feel? "Not only no, but HE11 NO!" on the camera. Do the same with drop-in unannounced inspection/visits. If he has the right, he'll just have to legally enforce them. He can't kick you out for refusing him, he MAY have rights but will have to go through all the legal hoops to exercise them.

No need for you to research anything. Tell him no and if he's in the right, you'll find out with legal papers served.
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Old 06-09-2016, 05:38 AM   #15
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Or, even more likely, growing marijuana in the back pasture. We have a situation very like what OP describes, in back of us: the wealthy owner couldn't make horse boarding pay, is trying to sell the property to a developer, and in the meantime rents out the original house (which needs a lot of work) and an apartment over the horse barns to folks of limited means. The property is extremely private - not even any horses, these days - and would be a great place to grow private "crops," although I've never observed any. That ground must be the most fertile in the world from all the years of manuring.

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Landlord probably is worried that his tenants could be drug dealers, making meth in the basement, throwing parties or engaging in unsavory behavior. A lot of landlords are leery about renting to young people.


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Old 06-09-2016, 07:21 AM   #16
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These things are all possible, but remember in this country you are innocent until proven guilty the landlord can't stalk them to see if they are being naughty.
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Old 06-09-2016, 07:31 AM   #17
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No argument there!

It's funny - the last tenant we had (the one who drove us out of landlording for good) was so incensed that someone was letting dogs poop on the townhouse grounds that he demanded we either install exterior cameras to catch the poopetrator, or "force" the HOA to install them. (The first was not permitted under HOA rules; the second was a no-go). He emailed us several blown-up pictures of poop piles to prove his point.

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These things are all possible, but remember in this country you are innocent until proven guilty the landlord can't stalk them to see if they being naughty.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:16 AM   #18
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Maybe you should just advise them to sit down and actually talk to their landlord? Then they might understand what he wants to do and why, and he might understand their feelings about it etc? Maybe they could come to a result that is agreeable?
Don't people actually talk to people anymore?

That is the approach that DD took yesterday. She emailed the landlord and asked where/why do you want cameras?

It's funny, but I never even thought of the meth angle. Since I'm a chemist, and worked with hundreds of chemists, I know what we do and don't automatically use a Hollywood portrayal of a chemistry teacher gone bad as my reference point. I guess the landlord might. But I know my daughter and any involvement in drugs is not in the picture. Full stop.

Stepping back and looking at the couple as an outsider, I guess there are other things that might put the LL on edge. I call them adrenaline junkies: they run, cycle, rock climb. BF races rally cars and whitewater kayaks. Maybe the LL sees all the gear at the house and thinks "alternative lifestyle... must be trouble".

My internet search of MD landlord/tenant law did not answer the question of security cameras at a detached home. The cameras are not specified in the lease, so there would be a reason to break the lease and move elsewhere, but that would be a hassle. Hopefully they can come to agreement.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:25 AM   #19
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Sit down and talk != Email

No matter what his next reply, have your daughter and her BF invite him over for coffee to discuss. If all parties aren't then totally happy, then turn the discussion to ending the lease sooner than later.
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Old 06-09-2016, 08:41 AM   #20
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Sit down and talk != Email

No matter what his next reply, have your daughter and her BF invite him over for coffee to discuss. If all parties aren't then totally happy, then turn the discussion to ending the lease sooner than later.
+1

Emailing is not talking. So many things can be misconstrued via emails. Face to face discussion is what is needed.
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