Not all tenants are responsible tenants, which is why you should be prepared to deal with tenant-related disputes during your time as a rental property owner. In this article, we’ll go over the common causes of conflict, as well as how to deal with them, so you can be prepared in case they occur.
What Are the Common Causes of Tenant Disputes?
#1 Not Paying Rent
One of the common causes of conflict is the nonpayment of rent. As the landlord, you understandably want your tenants to pay on time, but from your tenant’s point of view, it’s no big deal if they don’t pay in full – or at all. You chase after your tenants or refuse to conduct repairs, maintenance, and more to “force” them to pay their rent. Your tenant, on the other hand, promises to pay the rent – the problem is that they won’t tell you when that will be.
To avoid this, your tenant needs to understand that there are repercussions to the nonpayment of rent – even eviction. You should also stay on top of repairs, maintenance, and more so as not to give the tenant any “leverage”. Furthermore, if the tenant truly can’t pay their rent on time, try to understand their situation. If your tenants are responsible people, it would be better to allow them to pay their rent late than to lose them.
#2 Not Returning the Security Deposit
Another common cause of conflict is the security deposit. A security deposit is an amount that you can collect from your tenants in case they leave the property in poor condition, don’t pay their rent, and so on. It’s one way to protect yourself from tenants that don’t care for the property.
Tensions arise when the property owner doesn’t return the whole amount when it’s time for the tenant to move out. This can happen when the property owner deducts the costs to repair the property. To avoid this, it is vital to support your deductions with documentation, such as receipts, inspection reports, and so on. That way, you’ll be able to show your tenant that your deductions are in fact fair.
#3 Property Damage
What you consider as damage may not be what your tenant considers to be damage. For instance, you may be annoyed by scratches on the floor, but to your tenant, they’re merely minor problems. Unfortunately, when you and your tenant don’t see eye to eye, this can cause conflict.
That’s why it is important to partner with a property management company that can help educate your tenants on their to-dos. From the get-go, your tenants should be aware of their responsibilities, such as throwing out the garbage, doing regular gardening, and so on. With real estate professionals by your side, you can make sure that your tenants know what’s expected of them from the start.
To prevent disputes, inspect the property when the tenants move in and move out – with the tenant present. As a rule of thumb, the investment property’s condition on the move-out day should be the same as its condition on the move-in day. It would be best to partner with a property management agent to be absolutely sure that the entire property is inspected from top to bottom.
By law, as the property owner, you need to provide your tenants with a habitable property. A habitable home meets the state-specific standards on safety. For instance, a home would be deemed habitable if it had a proper HVAC unit in place. On the other hand, it would be deemed uninhabitable if it shows signs of mold growth.
Problems arise when the tenant thinks the property is uninhabitable, but the property owner thinks otherwise. Fortunately, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) outlines what can be considered habitable, so you can always consult the HUD in case of conflict.
Furthermore, to ensure that your property is in pristine condition, partner with a South Florida property management firm that can conduct routine repairs, maintenance, and more.
#5 Right to Enter the Property
While it’s true that you own the rental property, that doesn’t mean you can enter it whenever you want – even when it’s to conduct repairs. You shouldn’t snoop around the property – after all, one of the reasons why your tenants rented it was for privacy. If you fail to respect your tenant’s privacy, they can sue you, even if your intentions were “pure”.
If you need to conduct repairs, you need to inform your tenants at least 24 hours ahead of time. Be sure to check with a real estate professional, as the laws on advanced notices vary by state.
Tips on Dealing With Landlord-Conflict Disputes
#1 Remember to Be Professional
There may be ill feelings between the two of you, but you shouldn’t allow this to get in the way. Remember to be professional at all times – if you can’t be cordial towards your tenant, you won’t able to come to a compromise or a solution. Set your feelings aside and get to the gist of the issue.
#2 Communicate Through Writing
If possible, put tenant communication into writing. That way, you can protect yourself in case your tenant has false claims against you. Make sure to maintain these records and to indicate their dates – this will make it easy to check records in case your tenant does take you to court. This is also why it would be wise to partner with a bookkeeper or real estate lawyer – that way, they can make sure your records are as accurate as can be.
#3 Partner With a Property Management Company
If you struggle to deal with disputes, get yourself a good property manager. They’ll be able to handle tenant-related problems on your behalf. For instance, if a tenant fails to pay their rent, they can intervene in a way that is unbiased but still puts your best interests on priority.
The Bottom Line
Tenant disputes are inevitable, but with a South Florida property management firm by your side, you can ensure that they’re resolved in a timely manner. At Luxury Property Care, our experts are not only trained to take care of your property but also to keep the people in it happy at all times. Partner with us today to have a team that can handle conflict for you. We’ll deal with the headaches so that you don’t have to.