Landlord-tenant disputes are more common than many people realize—even when there is a carefully drafted lease or rental agreement. They may disagree about everything from privacy rights to access to the property to pet policies and late payments. Finding a solution that benefits both parties can be a challenge.
Say, for example, that you have a bug infestation and want the landlord to hire a pest control company to handle the issue, but the landlord refuses because pest control is not specifically identified in the lease agreement. Or you want to put a sign outside your business and the landlord keeps taking it down without notice. That’s a great solution for the landlord, but it doesn’t address your needs. What do you do now? Go back to the negotiating table prepared to find a resolution.
5 Tips for Landlord-Tenant Dispute
- Have a Plan
Before you try to negotiate with your landlord, think about what you want to accomplish. What is your ultimate goal? How can it be a win-win for both you and the landlord?
- Know the Lease Terms and Law
Negotiating is easier when you have some lease language or law on your side. Start by reviewing the terms of your lease. Does state landlord-tenant law require the landlord to handle pest control? Do the terms of your lease address signage?
- Talk Face to Face
Technology is changing the world. These days many people don’t talk face to face they simply “fire off” a text message or email. Text messages and email are convenient but there is no personal interaction. Sometimes that is all that is needed to accomplish what you need. Watching facial expressions and hearing vocal inflections reduces the chance of misunderstandings. Just choose a neutral, public location where both parties feel comfortable.
- Be Reasonable
Sometimes the solution to the problem requires concessions from both sides. At the same time, be honest with yourself about your role in the problem. It’s not fair to expect your landlord to cover pest control costs that you could have prevented, or to allow signs to be outside your space if the lease requires the landlord’s permission first.
- Take Notes
Discussing the problem in person doesn’t mean you have to give up a written record of the conversation. Write down everything you discuss and send a confirming email or letter. This gives both of you a copy of the agreement in writing.
Don’t let a dispute with your landlord create unnecessary tension. We may be able to help you resolve the conflict. Call us today to explain the situation and discuss your options.