Legal Issues

Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Resolving Issues Peacefully

Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, we all want to be able to resolve any disputes that may occur as peacefully as possible. In this article, we’re going to take a look at common disputes and the ways you can resolve them peacefully. Take a look now to learn more, and get a lease termination letter sample if you need one.

Most Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes

While everyone experiences renting differently and varying laws are in place for renters in different states, landlord-tenant disputes often fall into a few categories. These are as follows.

1.   Non-Payment of Rent

This one is relatively self-explanatory and is when a tenant does not pay rent. They may consistently pay late, be behind on rent, or be withholding rent for some reason. Whatever the reason, non-payment of rent can cause disputes between tenants and landlords.

2.   Repairs to the Property

Tenants often rely on landlords to fix problems within their properties, and landlords are legally obligated to make the home habitable. If something is broken and it’s taking a while to fix, this could lead to a dispute. Other causes of disputes in this category could include finding a time when the repair may be done, disruption to life when repairs are needed, and who is at fault if a repair was caused by damage.

3.   Damage to Property

If a tenant has damaged your property, you will likely be frustrated and want to resolve the damage and any financial disputes that come alongside it. However, damage sometimes may be caused by repairs not being completed promptly rather than a tenant purposefully causing damage. These kinds of disputes are usually the most difficult to resolve, as someone will have to take the blame.

How to Resolve Disputes Peacefully

Both tenants and landlords want to avoid lengthy disputes, especially if they turn nasty. As such, resolving any issues as calmly as possible is in everyone’s best interests. Below, we’ve listed a few top tips for resolving disputes peacefully.

Know Your Rights

Landlords and tenants both have rights in almost all situations, so whichever side you’re on, it is best to know them. If you’re unsure of what your rights are, you can seek legal advice to ensure you’ve got everything right.

Remember to check out local government websites, since landlord and tenant rights may differ per state. You can find up-to-date tenant rights per state from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development website.

Communicate Calmly

Clear and calm communication is key to peaceful dispute negotiations. Even if you are angry about the length of time the dispute is taking or other aspects of the dispute, remember to listen and respond as calmly as possible. Rather than lashing out, try to see it from the other party’s perspective and reason with them as peacefully as possible.

It is also best to make notes of dates and times of phone calls and get everything in writing to ensure you have proof of what was discussed.

If you think that the dispute is becoming less than peaceful, it could be time to bring in a mediator or other person who can help you to resolve issues quickly.

Know When to Part Ways

Sometimes it just isn’t working out. Whether you’re the landlord or the tenant in this situation, it may be time to call it quits and leave the tenancy to stop any further disputes.

As a tenant, you would need to check your contract and local guidelines on how much notice you have to give before leaving a rental contract. For landlords, you have a little more leeway and can usually ask tenants to leave regardless of their contract, provided you give them the requisite amount of notice. As always, you should check local guidelines before making any moves.

If you’re planning to leave a tenancy early, it’s best to write up a lease termination letter and give it to your landlord. That way, it is all in writing and done through the official channels. You can find many templates for lease termination letters online to help you draw up an official document.

What is a Lease Termination Letter and When Might I Need One?

Sometimes referred to as a notice to vacate, a lease termination letter is a legal document that can be given by both tenants and landlords to the other party. It notifies them that they will be ending their agreement.

Lease termination letters are usually used for 1-year agreements or to end month-to-month agreements that have no end date. However, they may also be used if you would like to terminate your agreement early.

A lease termination is not the same thing as an eviction notice. Evictions remove tenants from the property and can only be used by landlords. They may also result in a trial if the tenant was forcibly removed.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re having a dispute with your landlord or you just want to leave the lease agreement early, it is always best to keep things peaceful and ensure you do everything via the proper channels. Remember that new landlords may ask for references from previous landlords, so how you behave could affect your ability to rent a new property too.

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