Managing a tenant dispute with neighbors is part and parcel of the property rental business. Depending on how involved you are, you can act as a leasing agent a repairman, or a problem-solver. At any given time!
When issues arise between a tenant and a neighbor, property owners may consider adding a mediator to the list. In an ideal situation, tenants and neighbors should be left to work out their differences themselves. But disputes can sometimes escalate beyond a quick solution, in some cases. Just knowing when to involve yourself in a dispute helps. Because then you can take the decision to act, with greater confidence.
Tenant dispute: Understanding the problem
The first thing a property owner should do when a dispute first arises, is to learn as much as possible about the nature of the dispute. If the disagreement relates to the property itself or the behavior of a tenant, a landlord has an obligation to step in and take action. A property owner’s first line of defense against problems is a lease. Because it clearly outlines forms of tenant behavior that are not acceptable. If a tenant is violating the lease and a neighbor has complained, a property owner must take the proper steps to deal with the problem right away.
If, on the other hand, the tenant is complaining about the neighbor, it’s a good idea to first check for a history of disputes. It is possible that the neighbor is an ongoing problem, or a tenant who is unusually sensitive.
Listening is key to managing tenant disputes
The first step to managing a tenant dispute with neighbors is listening! Listening to a complaint and showing genuine concern can go a long way toward helping your tenant find a resolution. Consider speaking directly to the neighbor and give them a chance to air their grievances. Because sometimes, simply being heard can help calm a tense situation. Just be sure to stay calm yourself; becoming angry will cause irreparable damage to your relationship with the neighbor, something a successful rental property owner cannot afford.
If talking to the neighbor doesn’t resolve the issue, it’s important to understand that there is little you can do to modify the neighbor’s behavior. Issues like noise complaints, obstructing sidewalk or street access, or other issues might be addressed through an owner’s association, or other local officials. But it may also be that the tenant and neighbor simply can’t get along. It’s entirely possible that a different tenant wouldn’t have the same issue and would get along just fine.
Neighbors behaving badly
On the other hand, if the neighbor is engaging in behavior that violates a law, encourage your tenant to report it to the appropriate agency, police, code compliance or health department etc. This is especially important if neighbors make threats. Or damage the property, or tenants feels like their safety is at risk.
As a landlord, you have an obligation to help your tenants stay safe and should work with your tenant and the local authorities to resolve any disputes. If you do nothing, disputes may sometimes escalate into harassment or physical violence. And you might wind up involved in a lawsuit or worse!
Knowing when and how to step into a tenant dispute with the neighbor can be a tricky part of the business. But Real Property Management can help manage disputes with neighbors, work with unhappy tenants, and take steps to encourage good relations with your neighbors.
Call (954) 800 4433 and talk to our experienced property manager today, if you need help in managing a tenant dispute.
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