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I recently moved into a new home. I share the place with 2 other roommates. Last night close to midnight the landlord came over banging on my bedroom door. I was about to fall asleep. It turned out someone had complained of marijuana smoke and she thought it was me. Someone else "confessed" to doing it.

Marijuana was legalized a few years ago in my area. I think the concern was that someone was smoking inside the building. There's three things I'd like to make very clear to the landlord

  1. Don't disturb me at night.
  2. Communication should usually be done in writing or a phone call.
  3. There are no additional rules aside from what was already agreed on.

Regarding 3. I moved out of my old place because they were too controlling. I had made it clear to the landlord that I'm looking for a place that tries to keep rules to a minimum. I don't think it's her business if I smoke or what I smoke, especially if it's not at home.

I have trouble with being too indirect or too abrasive. This is my attempt but I'm concerned it doesn't hit all 3 points:

Hi Landlord. I realize someone complained yesterday but if it's after 8pm could you please wait until the next day? If you need to reach me phone calls or email work best. Thanks! :)

Is it ok to phrase this as a request even though it's really more of a demand? The more I think about it the more I can see it from the landlord's side as well. If someone was smoking inside and someone else was allergic, that's much more urgent than knowing if someone ever partakes in doing it.

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  • Is there anything in your lease about whether smoking is permitted inside the building, or inside your room? – DaveG Jul 7 '20 at 1:03
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    @DaveG no there isn't. Even if there was I would hope the landlord's reaction wouldn't be to knock on doors at midnight. Arguably it is illegal to knock on doors at night because it's in breach of quiet enjoyment. – user29971 Jul 7 '20 at 2:00
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    Do you know who complained? Because if it was the third roommate, you have bigger concerns than your landlord knocking on your door. – AsheraH Jul 7 '20 at 4:59
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    Wait, he knocked on your apartment door? Or he entered your apartment without permission and knocked on your bedroom door? Those are two VERY different issues – Kevin Jul 7 '20 at 14:40
  • @Kevin presumably the landlord had permission to enter from the roommate who complained. OP can you confirm? – Kat Jul 7 '20 at 21:42
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I don't think your suggested statement will address your concerns. Your landlord could be justified in knocking on your day late at night in some cases, such as if you're being very noisy. Even if your lease doesn't prohibit noise, there's probably a local ordinance which does. So telling your landlord "don't knock on my door after 8" will have to mean "don't knock on my door after 8 unless it's warranted". The real issue is you have differing opinions on when it's warranted, and your request does nothing to resolve that.

The better thing to do is discuss when it's appropriate to wake you up at night and how conflicts between roommates should be handled. I'd open the dialogue with something like:

Hey landlord, I was surprised you knocked on my door at midnight the other night. I understand there was a complaint, but it was about behavior that's not against the rules, and that's kind of late to be knocking on the doors of people who may not even be involved in something like that. In the future, would you be willing to contact me by phone or email instead if it's about something that isn't breaking a rule, that way I can get back to you at a reasonable hour if I'm asleep at the time?

This implicitly acknowledges that your landlord has the right to immediately intervene if someone is violating the lease, but also makes a clear (and reasonable IMO) request about when to use other channels. Your landlord may or may not agree with your request, but if you stay calm, hopefully you two can work out a solution.

If the conversation goes well and they seem reasonable, I would ask about why they intervened when there's nothing in the lease about smoking. If it turns into a struggle, I would just leave it until it comes up for you personally. Better not to push your luck when someone is at the end of their patience.

Source for advice: I've been in many situations where another person and I had different ideas about what was reasonable behavior. Acknowledging where they're coming from and communicating your perspective make it more likely you'll be able to discuss the issue instead of becoming deadlocked as soon as they disagree with your suggested solution.

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