As a rental property owner, you will inevitably experience tenant conflict once in a while, no matter how carefully you screen new tenants. From parking issues to loud music and common area conflicts, tenants can get into a confrontation for many reasons. And needless to say, conflicts can have an adverse effect on your property and even cause other tenants to move out.
Learning how to handle conflict on your property can go a long way in avoiding the negative fallout that comes with disagreements between tenants. Here are six ways to deal with conflict between tenants:
Set rules that will prevent conflicts from arising
Handling conflict on your property should begin with establishing a residential lease agreement that outlines your expectations from tenants. Ideally, it should highlight rules on what constitutes undesirable behaviors and how to avoid them. This can include rules regarding how to use shared spaces, noise, pets, and controversial issues like smoking.
When a new tenant moves into the property, give them a copy of the agreement and be sure to emphasize the rules. Also, inform them that all complaints should be solved through relevant authorities and not between tenants.
Have a policy on how to handle every complaint
Establishing rules on how to handle specific cases can ensure consistency in your approach, therefore making sure you don’t approach similar cases differently. For instance, simple violations like noise can be dealt with less severely, while more severe violations can attract more severe punishment.
Your policy should also include how tenants should file complaints. This could be through filling out forms online or physically. Your tenants should be aware of how to go about the process for smooth handling of a dispute.
Keep a written record
Keeping a written record of every conflict is important for solving any disputes that might develop in the future. In any case, if a tenant repeats the same mistake over and over again, you will have grounds to evict them without opposition or involving the courts. Your written document should have the following fields:
• Date of the complaint
• Nature of the dispute
• Tenant’s name and unit number
• Date the complaint was resolved
A written record essentially allows you to follow up on the agreement made and if there is a need to take further measures.
Know your rights under the lease
Besides policies on how to handle tenant conflicts, the lease also includes your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, and being up to speed with them allows you to protect yourself in case of disputes. Specifically, these rights help you to correct tenant behavior in accordance with the property agreement and local and state laws.
It is advisable to consult a legal professional knowledgeable in tenant issues. This helps to avoid legal complications that may arise.
Update both complainee and complainant
Be sure to let the complainee know that a case was lodged against him, but don’t disclose the tenant who raised the issue. This is to avoid tension and resentment that could further escalate the problem. Moreover, give a detailed account of the complaint as well as actions to be taken if the tenant is found guilty.
Make sure you conduct your own research to get the facts together. Don’t forget to issue every party a written document about the case and how it will be resolved.
Mediation is a viable way to solve tenant disputes to ensure the problem at hand does not ruin the relationship between them. In some cases, you can play the role of a mediator, while in others, you might want to involve a professional mediator, especially if the case is rather technical. A mediator will help to come up with an amicable solution for the benefit of the landlord as well as the tenants in question.
While disputes are sometimes inevitable, there are several ways you can prevent them to ensure all tenants are living in peace and harmony. Having rules and policies in place is a sure way to avoid conflicts among tenants to keep your property safe for all.