Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes and How to Avoid Them
If you’re a landlord, you must prepare yourself for tenant disputes. This is an almost unavoidable part of the job.
No matter how carefully you vet them, accidents happen, and disagreement is a natural part of the human condition.
We have put together today’s guide to ensure you have the best chance of avoiding such an occurrence.
Let’s now look at some of the most common landlord-tenant disputes and some tips on how to sidestep them.
Dispute One: Unpaid rent
This is one of the most common causes of landlord-tenant disputes, and it often comes down to a simple lack of communication.
By this, we mean that you might have been expecting the rent to be paid at a certain time, but the tenant might have had an entirely different idea of when it was due.
To ensure that you don’t fall into this trap, it’s vital that you’re clear about when rent is due. Set up an automated payment system if you can, and make sure that you follow up with any tenants if they do miss their payments.
Of course, if this becomes a reoccurring matter, the situation changes somewhat, and a more formal process might be required. However, for one-off issues, try a more relaxed approach to maintain your relationship.
Dispute Two: Disagreements over repairs
Another of the most common landlord-tenant disputes is disagreements over repairs.
No two tenants will agree on which repairs should take priority and how much money should be spent on them, so it’s important that you have a clear and concise system in place.
This should include a list of maintenance obligations and a breakdown of who is responsible for what.
In addition, it’s important that you have a process for when a repair is needed, such as a landlord-tenant repair request form. If you use a letting agency, they should take care of this for you.
Dispute Three: Decorating disagreements
Decorating disagreements are the final dispute that we will mention today, and they’re also one of the most awkward ones. It doesn’t matter if you’re providing a property furnished or unfurnished; issues can arise regardless.
Rather than getting into a slanging match with your tenants over who should cover what, it’s essential that you have clear terms and conditions in your lease.
You might, for example, stipulate that the tenant is allowed to decorate the property but that they must return it to its original state once the lease is up.
In short, it’s important that you provide your tenants with a certain amount of freedom while also protecting yourself and your property.
Dispute Four: Disagreements over the cost of utilities
Finally, another common dispute between landlords and tenants revolves around the cost of utilities.
Even if you are covering the cost of utilities, it’s crucial that you are still communicating this to your tenants.
It’s also important that you check the bills regularly to ensure that your tenants are not using more than their fair share of electricity, gas and water. This is something you must review, particularly in the current climate, to make sure you’re striking a balance between your relationship with the tenant and the profitability of your property business.