As a landlord, it’s inevitable that you’ll face some sort of dispute with your tenant. If you’re prepared to manage disputes before they happen, you won’t be taken by surprise. When a dispute arises, your first thought should be to try to settle the dispute without taking it to court. State clearly how disputes are handled on your rental agreement and use the following tips below resolve problems.
Understand the Law
Problems between landlord and tenant usually arise when one party is unaware that the lease agreement has been violated. In other cases someone might be ignorant of his or her rights under the law. Take time to understand the laws as it applies in your area to be informed and avoid unnecessary disputes.
Nothing is ever solved by losing your temper. In fact heated arguments or threat only make the situation worse. Keep your cool always, and if your tenant is not cooperative you might have to escalate the case to a court of law. Losing your temper will not place you in the best possible light when you’re in front of a judge.
Talk It Out
A lot of disputes can be solved if you take the time to talk it out with the tenant. Be willing to let your issues go, to understand the problem from the tenant’s perspective. Don’t let your anger get the best of you even if your actions are justified. Settling it in a one on one discussion will be much cheaper for everyone involved.
Meet Face To Face
If all your attempts to reason with the tenant took place over the phone or email, you should make arrangements to meet and talk it out face to face. Meet at a mutually acceptable place for both of you and bring someone along who can testify of all that was said and done.
Get a Professional Mediator
If all your attempts to resolve the problem have failed, you might need to bring in a professional mediator to help. Look for trained property mediators in your state to proceed with this option.
Submit to Arbitration
If you’re convinced that you’re right in this situation you can submit to arbitration. Unlike mediation, an arbitrator will listen to both sides and make a ruling based on all the information presented. Both parties will have to adhere to the ruling made. If you suspect for a moment that you’re wrong in any way you should skip this step and own up to your part in the problem.
Get Everything On Paper
An accurate record of everything that took place from the time the dispute arose would be your best defense if the matter is taken to court. Your lease contract will prove you have a case if your tenant has violated the rules. Keep your signed contracts to show that the tenant agreed to the terms and make note of everything that takes place during the dispute.
Get your lawyers involved if you cannot come to a satisfaction agreement. In some cases you might even have to take it to litigation where you take the tenant to a civil or criminal court. When that happens, make sure that you have a lawyer experienced in landlord/tenant law by your side.
Jennifer is now working as a lawyer in a small firm in the busy business district of Indiana. She hopes to eventually work at a leading company like Kelly, Fernandez & Karney and have a successful career like Michael Kelly Lawyer