If you are a landlord, along with the rental income you receive, you will also have to cope with tenant problems at some point. Some of them will be justifiable complaints from responsible tenants, while other complaints will be lodged by tenants who are totally unreasonable or trying to gain something at your expense. The key to avoiding both extremes is knowing how to categorise these grievances and resolving problems in a way that will be helpful to both parties as quickly as you can.
Learn about current landlord-tenant legislation
Avoid Landlord Tenant DisputesMany legal requirements have an impact on the landlord-tenant relationship, and it is your obligation to be familiar with those laws. Before taking action or trying to respond to any type of complaint, verify that you are complying with the law. If you ignore these regulations or try to circumvent them, your tenant will have some justification in taking the disagreement to court, and that is something you definitely want to avoid.
Try to negotiate cordially with your tenant
To keep problems at a minimum, meet with your tenant and have a frank, respectful conversation about any matter, large or small, that happens to be in dispute at the time. Remember that failure to communicate effectively can undermine virtually any relationship and is a serious obstacle to solving problems of any kind.
Begin by calmly explaining where you stand on the issue under discussion, and then invite your tenant to do the same without causing any interruptions or becoming emotional, even if your tenant seems determined to provoke a negative response from you. By taking this approach, it will be possible to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both of you.
Be ready to consult a professional mediator
If one of your tenants has caused problems in the past, if you feel uncertain about the way a relatively new tenant is behaving, or that it is impossible to have a calm discussion with this particular tenant, the best solution might be taking the step of consulting a professional mediator. This individual is experienced in dealing with landlord-tenant disputes, and he or she will meet with you and your tenant together or separately to assist you in arriving at a solution.
Keep complete & accurate records related to the problem
In certain cases where it is almost impossible to reach an agreement, as a landlord, you have an obligation to have accurate records on file in a secure location in case your disagreement is taken to court. Begin doing this when you first realize that a problem exists, and continue to record every effort you make to resolve the disagreement. With accurate information to support your position in the case, you will improve your chance of receiving a fair judgment if things reach that point.
Carrying things that far will probably either damage or completely sever your landlord-tenant relationship. Many times, however, a court decision is required to arrive at a solution that is fair to both parties involved, and it can only be reached if you provide honest, complete documentation to chronicle the dispute.
Contact a Solicitor
Since legal issues constantly come up for a landlord, you cannot go wrong by having a solicitor on hand. Prior to going to court, have your solicitor discuss the problem with your tenant or with the tenant’s solicitor if one has been hired. Many times, a solution can be reached by taking this step, and both you and your tenant know that going to court should always be a last resort.
Remember that solving disputes with tenants is part of a landlord’s job description, regardless of the circumstances. Problems will arise, and at times, tempers will flare as well. By making an effort to settle the matter when you first become aware that it exists, the better the chances are that you will reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable long before court action is even considered.