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As a landlord, disputes with your tenants are just about inevitable. Still, you need to know how to deal with them when they arise. Here are some tips for dealing with issues and disagreements with your tenants.

  1. Know the law – The best way that you can avoid disputes is to know the law and your rights. This will help you create agreements that are legally based and fair. Having the law on your side will be a huge help in working through any disagreements that do arise.
  2. Stay calm – People can get emotional about housing and real estate issues. Even if your tenant is angry, stay calm and never lose your temper. Represent yourself as a professional who knows how to deal with disagreements.
  3. Have a conversation – It’s easy to let a situation escalate when there isn’t a real conversation. If all communication happens by email or over the phone, things can quickly get blown out of proportion. Do your best to have a calm, face-to-face conversation with your tenant with the goal of finding a solution.
  4. Document everything – Remember that you need to protect yourself and your business first. Document all the exchanges that you have with your tenant. Save texts and emails, make notes of your conversations and agreements. This will help you resolve the situation in the long run.
  5. Bring a lawyer in – It’s always smart to have legal representation on your side. Even if they don’t sit in on your meetings right away, it’s smart to have a consultation with a lawyer to make sure you are asserting your rights and handling things correctly.
  6. Use a mediator – If you and your tenant need help to have a productive conversation, you may want to bring in a professional mediator. They will help you work through the issue and conclude it together.
  7. Try arbitration – Arbitration is like mediation but ends in a binding agreement. If you’re having trouble getting your tenant to stick to agreements, it may be a good idea to make your agreement legal.
  8. Take it to court – If you’re still unable to reach a conclusion, now may be the time to bring your dispute to a court. You will likely get a quick resolution in small claims court. However, if things continue to be an issue, you may need to litigate in civil or criminal court.

Above all, remember this: keep the law on your side, stay professional and document everything. Resolving issues can be a big part of a landlord’s job, so being able to do it well will only help your business.