How to deal with my mother's situation, she is being harassed by apartment maintenance man? -

How to deal with my mother's situation, she is being harassed by apartment maintenance man?


My 86 year old mother moved into a new single level apartment building. Before she signed the lease, she asked about gardening and was told by the landlord that she could grow flowers and vegetables in pots as long as she kept them in a specific area along the wall of her apartment.

Now the maintenance man is removing the pots and making up arbitrary rules about what she can and can't have. For instance, he removed 2 solar lights (shaped like dragon flies) because he didn't like them. Then he removed a small U.S. flag and said mom couldn't display it because it made the apartment complex look like a cemetery.

We have tried calling the landlord and get no help. He claims that he knows that the maintenance man has "control issues" but will not intervene.

A few hours ago, my mom called me (I live about 40 minutes away) and said that the maintenance man was yelling at her through her apartment window and said my mom was going to be "in big trouble" for not following his directives.

I told her to call the police and ask for an officer to come to the apartment and that she should report the maintenance man for harassment. I'm going to drive over there tomorrow and see what is going on.

I'm going to tell my mom to call her lawyer and get his take on all of this. I'm thinking some kind of restraining order is the way to go. But, I don't know if that can be done since there is nothing in writing in mom's lease about the plants.

My mom is heartbroken that she can't have a few plants in pots like the landlord told her.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to deal with this situation?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.


This is great news! Thanks for the update. Your attorney sounds like a very effective and caring person; some attorneys wouldn't take a case like this, so I'm glad you've found one who will and who's also worked to find a good solution to the problem.
Helpful Answer (3)

Thanks for the update. I hope things improve for her.
Helpful Answer (1)

I just wanted to update everyone on my mom's situation. We have finally found a lawyer my mother trusts and have also gotten two other ladies in the apartment building to come forward with complaints about the maintenance man. All three of the ladies have seen the same lawyer and told their tales of harassment and verbal abuse.

The lawyer has contacted the landlord and has informed him that the maintenance man is to have no contact whatsoever with these three women and that if there are maintenance issues inside their apartments, he will have to hire someone else to come in and fix the problems.

The maintenance man is barred from even speaking to these ladies.

We are hoping that the landlord will finally figure out that the maintenance man has become too much of a liability to him and he'll fire him and hire someone else who will enjoy the tenants and enhance their time at the apartment building.

At least we are headed in the right direction.

P.S. Several of you have suggested that my mother move. If she were located in a big city, with lots of rental units available, this could be easily accomplished. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The only other apartments in the same town are multi building units that are rundown and unkept. So, moving is not an option as my mother likes the town where she lives, has many friends there and also belongs to several groups (VFW Aux., card club, etc.) that she doesn't want to leave.
Helpful Answer (2)

I would follow the lawyers advice. Are you actually dealing with the landlord or manager? Does the person you speak with actually own the complex or is it owned by a company?

Can she keep receipts for all items that he removes? If all tenants starting demanding refunds for their property that was removed, maybe, the landlord will take heed.

Are there any city code ordinances for Housing regulations in her area? The attorney will probably explore that.

I hope the landlord will straighten it out.
Helpful Answer (0)

The landlord isn't very smart. If the complaints are true, he is leaving the complex open for a lawsuit. Document, document, document. Dates, times etc. I always believed if it isn't in writing, it didn't happen. The maintenance man actions could be considered verbal elder abuse. The man needs to be let go to find another career. I would be afraid of retaliation from the guy.
Helpful Answer (0)

We have the police involved now. Also, another resident has come forward with the same complaints that my mother has. Perhaps there will be "strength in numbers".

I was there yesterday and took some pictures of the other residents' flowers, bird feeders, etc. as evidence to show that other residents are doing exactly what my mother has been doing all along.

We also have lawyers involved.

It is easy to say that it is time for my mom to move. The logistics of that are enormous! Well-kept apartments, that are only on 1 level, are few and far between in our locale. Rent is also another consideration. To have her move to the city (where more apartments are available) 40 miles away, would cost her at least another $200 per month.

She will not move in with someone else and I don't have room to have her move in with me.

If the landlord had any guts, he could have fixed this problem in the beginning. The fact is, he is afraid of his own employee. Boggles the mind.
Helpful Answer (0)

I thought this sounded familiar...

The post above was from 2 years ago, cannot believe this is still going on for your Mom. Time for her to move.
Helpful Answer (2)

It is not government subsidized.

I have spoken with the landlord. He has told me, "[the maintenance man...sic] has control issues." And, refuses to do anything about this.

Will have my mom contact her lawyer and maybe he can call the landlord and that might cause him to actually do something about this guy.

Will have to wait and see.
Helpful Answer (0)

A Personal Protection Order (PPO) may be appropriate, talk to the lawyer. But what if your mom has a maintenance issue? The lunatic maintenance guy would be breaking the law by coming in and addressing the maintenance issue.

Maybe you could try talking to the landlord yourself. I'm sure your mom is not the first tenant to be treated this way by this guy. Your words may carry more weight than that of a little old lady.

This sounds like a movie on Lifetime! Your poor mom....
Helpful Answer (3)

Talk to mom's lawyer about how to break the lease due to harassment. Get her out of there...unless....if this is some kind of government subsidized senior housing, get the funding agency involved.
Helpful Answer (6)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.