Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, it's possible that either party will have a dispute with the other at some point. The arrangement is a business one, but each person will have certain expectations for the other side.
When problems between landlords and their tenants do arise, it is easy for things to get heated quickly, especially when legal threats are involved. Before emotion takes over, there are some things you can do to help resolve these disputes peacefully. Here are a few tips to start these mediations.
One of the first things you can do is set up a time to talk about any issues as soon as possible. If you let too much time pass between the problem occurring and the discussion of it, the other party might believe that you don't actually find the problem to be a big deal. The effort you put forth needs to reflect your willingness to resolve the issue quickly yet patiently for the benefit of both parties.
Make sure the communication form is effective and efficient for both parties. This might mean emailing, texting, phone calls, or in-person meetings. Whatever method helps both parties feel heard is the method you should use to have your discussions.
You may be able to solve some problems just by meeting with the other person as a landlord or tenant. However, there are times when specific laws, rights, or expectations might be unclear. One party might also try to take advantage of the other. In such cases, a landlord-tenant lawyer could be the best solution to the problem. These professionals are well-versed in the specific laws surrounding rental properties and the rights of each party. If you don't have the requisite legal knowledge, they can be indispensable sidekicks who can act impartially.
Both tenants and landlords need to be accessible when an issue occurs. Although this is true for both, it is very important that tenants feel like they can reach their landlords if something serious is going on. You don't have to be reachable at all hours of the day or night, but there should be typical hours in which someone could talk with you if necessary. It's okay to put limits on that, and you can make it clear that other times are only suitable in emergency situations.
If you feel like you won’t be available during certain hours, give your tenants emergency numbers they can call for urgent issues, especially for issues that can damage the house like plumbing problems.
Solving the dispute and keeping the peace is all about being understood and feeling heard by the other party. A quick dismissal of any issues sends the message that you aren't really listening, and it is a good way to create frustration that can lead to hostility. Make it clear that you understand your tenant or landlord's concern and want to work with them to resolve the problem. In most circumstances, tenants and landlords want to feel as though they are on the same side in the relationship. After all, both parties want the same thing — for the tenant to have somewhere to live where they are happy and there is little stress for everyone involved.
Minor disputes can be relatively common during the course of a landlord-tenant relationship. More often than not, these things are the result of simple misunderstandings rather than true arguments. Some of the tips above may be helpful to any parties looking to deal with problems that are more complex, however. If you've never rented as a tenant or rented out as a landlord, you can use some of the advice above to get a proper perspective.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.
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