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I had lived in a shared rental house with 4 other tenants. Problems arose when the landlord wanted me to move out early despite what the lease said. He got the other tenants to bug me until I agreed, but I insisted he paid for the cost of moving. Clearly he holds ill feelings about me, and I just found out he’s been “trash talking” me on Facebook and posted a link to my account. What actions should I take? I intend to block him and report it to Facebook as bullying. Is there anything else I should do, like take screen shots in case things go further?

I was willing to forget the situation after I got my damage deposit back but things like this keep coming up and I haven’t fully excluded the possibility their may be some arbitration/court with him in the future.

In terms of what he’s actually posting about me on Facebook is just stupid crap, mainly name calling and saying “I’m the worst person in the world” and how I left rotting food and came back and threw garbage on their lawn. There is no element of truth to any of these claims.

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    Find a good cease and desist letter template online you can use and send it to the landlord by registered mail. – mikeazo Jun 22 '16 at 12:02
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    I'm dubious. You shared a rental house with FOUR other tenants, and all joined in with the landlord to push you out. Do you have trouble creating relationships with others? Are you a messy or dirty or have grotesque personal hygiene or something? Please help fill in the missing pieces. – Mike S Jun 22 '16 at 15:49
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    @MikeS first off it was mainly two of them, not all four. Second, the landlord had lived in the house with them and they were all friends and I was sort of a random stranger. Third, among immature people like them, ganging up to bully someone isn't uncommon. – MrMurphy Jun 22 '16 at 21:19
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    I posted an answer but my larger question is this: Does this really matter? Most nonsense like this an immediate outburst after the event happens and that’s it. Do you somehow need this landlord as a reference for something or do you seriously believe that somehow this Facebook slander will impact your ability to find an apartment elsewhere? My answer basically addresses how I deal with adult/professional bullying like this: I don’t make mountains out of molehills, but I do keep evidence of abuse for future use if somehow a pattern of behavior appears. A pattern of abuse is a stronger case. – JakeGould Jun 23 '16 at 0:18
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Who is going to read this nonsense? That is the question.

If your former landlord is just posting this nonsense on your personal timeline, it’s irritating but honestly not “slander.” But if—for example—you have a local community group/page on Facebook and the claims of you damaging things were posted there you might have a case; how much you want to pursue it is your call. At the end of the day this tantrum will most likely fade away to be forgotten in a week or so.

But my best advice? You should take screenshots of the trash talk and save them somewhere just in case if this escalates to something else. That way you can prove that this has been happening for a while. And maybe you can send them a note—or even post a comment on Facebook that says:

“Look, I’m not going to take any of this trash talk bait seriously, but if you continue to do this even when I ask you to stop you are engaging in harassment. I have screenshots. I have a copy of my lease. I know you are upset, but if you are harassing me and we go to court I will win. Simple as that. So please stop this for your own benefit.”

Past that? Doesn’t seem like “trash talk” on its own is much of anything.

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    not "slander", but in relevant jurisdictions, libel is any publicly distributed written falsehood, regardless of whether relevant people are contextually likely to read it. and the question clearly indicates that (although not precisely where) this isn't just on the op's own timeline. – underscore_d Jun 22 '16 at 16:28
  • Well, it's not slander because it's in writing ... that would make it libel. Or did you mean it's not defamation? – Martin Bonner Jan 14 at 15:26
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Actually, he has been libelling you which is defamation in writing - slander is verbal defamation.

Notwithstanding, if what he has done has or is likely to cause damage to your reputation and is a statement of fact that is not true then it is actionable.

Neither name calling nor his opinion that you "are the worst person in the world" are statements of fact. Saying you left rotting food and that you threw garbage on the lawn are.

You could sue for damages or seek an injunction requiring him to withdraw his statements and apologise, however, a better (and cheaper) first step would be to send a cease and desist letter. You can find templates online or pay a lawyer to send one. The latter is likely to scare the s@&t out of him and may be worth the money just for the satisfaction.

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    Better to find a lawyer to do it for you (although that costs money vs free), as that letterhead really helps sell the C&D. I've had to do this twice, and both times I shopped around for relatively new attorneys who did it for $30-40, although this will differ depending on your location. – Thebluefish Jun 22 '16 at 14:32
  • @Thebluefish a threatening letter from a lawyer is enough to scare most folks. Although my attorney costs a lot more than $40 per letter, it's been very effective in the past. – SnakeDoc Jun 22 '16 at 16:56
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    " a statement of fact that is not true" legalese is so weird. – PyRulez Jun 23 '16 at 2:08
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    You could sue for damages What damages? – user7050 Jun 23 '16 at 9:06
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    @MrMurphy I read your new question and in it you state, “Recently, I did notice there was a box with my stuff that I didn’t recognize and the police officer said that fit the description of what was missing so I gave it to him.” So how exactly do you want to claim “harassment” when in actuality you did have property that was not yours in your possession and you willfully—without protest—gave it to police when asked? Harassment can genuinely be defined if you did not have property they claimed you had and they called the police. In this case you had the box; not harassment at all. – JakeGould Jun 23 '16 at 13:54
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Just because someone is posting mean and impolite things about you doesn't make it defamation. You must prove what the person is saying is a lie, they know it's a lie, they intended to cause you harm and you suffered actual physical and/or financial damage. The damage piece is usually the hardest part to prove. If you lost your job because of the posting or someone clearly communicated to you they refuse to do business with you because of the posting then you may have a case for defamation. But based on what you state in your post, you don't have a case. You even got your full security deposit back which definitely hurts any claim you have to financial damage. It's a common misconception in America that if someone "trash talks" you on social media or behind your back you can sue them for $1 billion to make them stop because it hurts your feelings and strike it rich all at the same time. But, in reality, it's actually very, very difficult to prevail in a defamation proceeding.

My advice to you is to unfriend and block this person so they can't post anything to your timeline. Then just move on with your life.

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    In Canada, unfortunately, you don't need to prove falsehood or malice. The burden is on the defence to prove that its not. He also doesn't have to prove that he suffered damages, though its likely any award would be Pyrrhic. He does have to show that the words were a direct attack on is reputation and not just his feelings though. – Ross Ridge Jun 22 '16 at 17:53
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    Wouldn't it be at least worth it to report it to facebook as flagging it as bullying or whatever? – MrMurphy Jun 22 '16 at 21:24
  • @MrMurphy: Personally I doubt it. Facebook doesn't have the best track record of action in these cases, and even if it succeeded you may just annoy the landlord more and cause him to take his words elsewhere that you can't see. – Lightness Races in Orbit Jun 23 '16 at 12:02

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