By Michelle Lim on Jun 28, 2019 11:13:00 AM
So you're a landlord.
Everything is fine…right?
Because even the best screenings can’t prevent conflicting lifestyles and personalities from meeting and clashing, inevitably leaving you in the middle of a tenant Hollywood drama.
Which, you know, leads to the question.
As in, the question.
What do I do?
Managing Fighting Tenants
If you have a tenancy agreement with both tenants, this is where it comes into play. The agreement should cover basic proprieties and rules ensuring a peaceful and conducive environment. Such examples would include no harassment, noise-making and aggressive behaviour.
Terms for a safe and peaceful environment
There are landlords who include specifics in their agreement, providing definitions and explanations of the conditions of a safe and peaceful environment. Highlight to the tenant that failing to comply means violating the terms and conditions of the agreement. And violating the agreement, can lead to eviction should the landlord decide to act.
If the dispute cannot be settled, the tenancy agreement will help should you choose to pursue an eviction of the tenant.
Create a Resolution Policy, or its Equivalent
A resolution policy would greatly help in resolving conflicts as parties involved would have to adhere to the method and course of action stated in the policy. This ensures smooth and proactive responses to complaints.
- Take action before it starts
Let your tenants try and solve the problem on their own. Provide basic guidelines on conduct or handout, maybe a tenant handout package consisting of basic tenancy rules and conduct expected during the tenancy period. This tells the tenants that you take conduct seriously.
- Educate them on complaints
Teach them how to file a complaint. Give them instructions on how to file a complaint. This saves time on both you and the tenant’s side as the tenant does not have to call you or e-mail you. Which, may take a while if either party is busy and can increase the chances of the situation escalating.
- Acknowledge the complaint
Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. Ignorance isn’t bliss if your tenants are unhappy and there is conflict. Sit down and have a talk with your tenant. They will appreciate you for listening. Tell them that you will act accordingly and acknowledge their concern. If there is no action to be taken, explain why.
- Call the tenant in dispute
Call the tenant who is being complained about. Explain that a complaint has been made against them. But, do not tell them who as it may lead to a confrontation which would escalate the animosity and situation even more.
If the tenant is violating the agreement or breaking any of the rules per the agreement, remind them that it is grounds for eviction. Should they persist in their behaviour, take legal action.
- Write it out
So you've talked with the tenant in question.
Now, send an e-mail or letter to the tenant to confirm your conversation and the details of the discussion. Remember, your content must be detailed and should list out actions that the tenant in dispute should take. Or, actions that the management needs to take. Your letter should also detail the violations of the agreement and the rules which the tenant broke.
- Document it
So you have a tenant complaint form, or forms. Record the date of the complaint, actions taken by you, your conversation with the offending tenant and the settlement agreed on. Log and document every single complaint.
Build a file of the repeat offenders. Documentation helps you if legal measures need to be taken or if legal action is taken against you in the future.
- Follow up
Check on the tenant who made the complaint to make sure that they are okay and that everything is fine. It makes them feel valued and helps you increase or retain your credibility as a good and responsible landlord.
If the tenant continues to be disruptive despite receiving the complaint notice, then it's time to seriously consider the eviction process and/or taking legal action. More so if the tenant represents a potential threat to anyone’s health or safety. Should it reach that point, consult a lawyer familiar with landlord-tenant rights.
Curious to what rights do tenants have and what they can do? Check out our tenant guidebook!