On this week's 'So You Think You're An Adult', one listener is really bothered about the way his landlord is behaving during lockdown...
The listener's problem
I rent a room in my landlord's house. We’re about the same age and have always gotten on well. I’d almost consider him a friend at this stage.
We’ve lived together for five years now. Recently though I’ve been feeling very uncomfortable in the house. My Landlord has stated before that he thinks the pandemic is sort of a hoax or is at least overplayed in the media and as such he is carrying on as if nothing is happening. That means he’s having people over for dinner and he meets regularly with his friends even now at the height of lockdown.
At this point it’s really bothering me because the numbers are so high. He never keeps his distance from me and any time I’ve mentioned it he laughs it off as if I’m sort of making a joke.
This leaves me with very little I feel I can say. It’s his house and he has all the power. What can I do?
Declan Buckley's advice
"This is a really awkward one, because obviously the landlord person is completely in the wrong in the way he's behaving... the complication is the friendship vs tenancy scenario.
"The guy's sitting at home saying 'I can't control the scenario I'm in'... in this situation, I think if the landlord is living with him... I don't think he has the same legal redress that he would if he had a landlord living somewhere else.
"I think the core of this, though, isn't the landlord side: it's the friendship side. If this guy is his friend, he needs to handle it like it's a friend scenario and tell him how he's feeling about the situation.
"It reminds me of that ad you see on the television at the moment, about the young lad driving the car, turning around to his friend saying 'would you please put your seatbelt on in my car'... Underlining it is a very sensible activity, but the problem is around... the way guys deal with each other and peer pressure they have.
"I think this guy needs to realise he has got certain power, and the power is in his voice."
Barbara Scully's advice
"Living at the moment is stressful enough anyway, without feeling unsafe in your own home. Regardless of the fact he's only renting a room, this is where he's living.
"I sense in the letter there is a power imbalance, which isn't just related to the fact that one of the friends is a landlord... I think in the friendship there's possibly a power imbalance as well.
"I would sit this guy down, and explain to him he is compromising this person's health with his behaviour... if he thinks COVID is some kind of conspiracy and it's all a big scam, that's fine... but he has to adhere to guidelines within the house.
"I have a feeling that the landlord person doesn't realise this is bothering this guy as much - rightly - as it is.
"He needs to sit [the landlord] down and say 'I'm deadly serious about this'... the next stage would be to drop a hint of or even to contact your local Garda station for some guidance on this.
"You can say you don't believe in COVID... but you still need to wear a mask when you walk into the shop or you'll be asked to leave. It's the same here: he has a responsibility to this guy, who is paying him rent every month."
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