As a landlord, you will encounter tenant conflicts from time to time. These can range from minor disagreements requiring a bit of mediation to major disputes requiring legal intervention.
Handling tenant conflict can be challenging, but it’s a crucial part of being a landlord, and it’s important to have a plan and always think things through.
Let’s explore some tips for handling tenant conflict effectively and how we can help as experienced Dallas real estate lawyers.
Listen to Both Sides
The first step in handling tenant conflict is to listen to both sides. It is important to hear each tenant’s perspective and understand their concerns. Everybody has their own story.
Remember that everyone has their unique communication style, and you may be reacting to how the information is being presented rather than the information itself.
Collecting the necessary information dispassionately will give you a better understanding of the situation, and you’ll be able to come up with a solution that works for both parties.
Remain Calm and Professional
It is vital to remain calm and professional when dealing with tenant conflict. Avoid getting defensive or taking sides, even when the truth seems obvious, and someone must be lying. Remember, everybody is the hero in their own movie, and we always act in ways that make some sense at the time.
People can be unpredictable; you never know what “bruises” might get pressed on, including your own. That’s why it’s key to stay calm, practice your breathing and take a time out if necessary. Reminding yourself to assume good faith and intent may be helpful until proven otherwise.
Focus on finding a fair solution for both parties, not just getting the issue off your plate as an HOA board member or landlord. This will help you keep the situation from escalating further.
Effective communication is vital in handling tenant conflict. Ultimately, the answer will be found in three things: the lease, your judgment, and communication among all parties. Make sure to communicate clearly with both tenants about the issue.
Don’t make assumptions about what they know or don’t know. A lot of tenant stress comes out of not knowing. You don’t want to get tripped up just because they still have a question about something, and you know the facts.
Be clear about what steps you will take to resolve the issue, and keep both tenants informed throughout the process to avoid further misunderstandings or confusion.
Find a Solution That Works for Both Parties
Finding a solution that works for both parties is important when handling tenant conflict. This may involve compromise and creative problem-solving, perhaps not just on your end. Your tenants are a resource, not a hindrance, in this pursuit. They have lived in this situation, and you should remember you are discerning the truth from all sources.
Consider all possible options and work with the tenants to find a fair and reasonable solution. Most people are reasonable once they’ve calmed down, and it’s best to assume good intent from all parties until proven otherwise. That’s why it’s essential to focus on the content of what they’re saying and not how they’re saying it.
Document the Issue
Document the issue and any steps taken to resolve it. This can include written agreements, emails, texts, and even taking notes after conversations. Remember to flag anything that may become an issue in the future, so you’ll be sure to document it.
Documentation will help protect you and your tenants if the conflict escalates and legal action is necessary. This is a last resort and should only be undertaken once the situation proves too thorny to solve by yourself.
Seek Legal Advice If Necessary
If the conflict cannot be resolved through communication and negotiation, it may be necessary to seek legal advice. Your liabilities and responsibilities may not be apparent. That’s why it’s best to preempt trouble and drama by attending to all tenants’ service requests and complaints as quickly and comprehensively as possible.
If necessary, an HOA or condo law lawyer can help you navigate the legal process. They can also help you find a fair resolution for both parties without resorting to full-on legal action.
Manning and Meyers Helps Landlords
Handling tenant conflict as a landlord can be challenging, but it is integral to the job.
If you are a landlord in the Dallas area who has some tenant troubles, let Manning and Meyers help before tensions further escalate.
Our experienced attorneys have extensive knowledge of Texas landlord-tenant law and can provide the guidance and representation you need to handle tenant conflict effectively.
Don’t wait until things boil over or you reach a crisis point. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you.