If you own a rental property, you’ll need to know how to handle and resolve tenant conflicts. You will experience both conflicts with tenants directly, and also have to mediate between tenants if you own a multi-family property. Tension and fighting between neighbors will be stressful for all parties. It pays to be proactive in resolving the issue right away so it doesn’t escalate.
Confrontation is not favored by most people, so a quick solution is often welcomed. Is our latest post, we share our best tips for resolving tenant conflict so both you and your tenants can live peacefully.
How to Manage Tenant Conflict in Massachusetts
Conflicts are bound to arise, so plan ahead or them. Clearly, outline your tenant conflict resolution processes in the rental agreement or lease. Are there warnings issued? What financial penalties will be involved? At what point will eviction come in to play? The lease should also be as detailed as possible, so tenants will know what is expected of them. What is the pet policy? Parking? Who is responsible for maintaining the yard? In addition, discuss how quickly you will make repairs and how often things like pest control will be taken care of. Putting everything in black and white will leave little room for disagreements.
Know the Law
Make sure you fully understand landlord-tenant laws. You need to fully grasp these laws so you don’t find yourself in the wrong during a disagreement. Landlord-tenant laws vary state to state, but they will typically govern deposits, landlord access, and the duties and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant. As long as you are abiding by the law 100%, you will not find yourself on the wrong side of a dispute.
Be A Professional
During all conflicts, you should keep your cool and remain professional. People can get very upset if there is an issue with the property or with another tenant. You have to remember, even though you own the property, it is also the place they call home. Listen to the complaint, and if it has validity, do what you can to resolve it in a timely manner. If the conflict is between two tenants, make sure you get both sides of the story. Everybody’s voice needs to be heard. If possible, have all parties meet face-to-face to peacefully air grievances and resolve the issue. Don’t take a side, rather meditate and hear what everyone has to say. Once you know the whole story, you will have a better idea of how to handle the situation.
Keep Records of Everything
Write down each time there is communication between you and a tenant. Note the time, date and what was discussed. If warnings are issued, make sure you have dated copies. If applicable, send warning notices via certified mail to document that it has been received. Keep track of text, phone calls and attempted calls. Make sure you are following all of the proper procedures that meet the legal requirements where you live.
Eviction As the Worst Case Scenario
The eviction process is a nightmare. Not just for the tenant, but many times for the landlord as well. It is tedious, costly and time-consuming. We highly suggest using the eviction process as your “worst case scenario” option. Most of the time, conflicts can be resolved peacefully. Work to be understanding of your tenant’s needs, and keep the property in the condition you would want to live in. If the conflict is between two people, help them try to see each other’s side and find some common ground. Most people who would be considered “bad tenants” should have been screened out from the beginning. Hopefully, you will be able to manage all tenant conflicts without resorting to eviction.