How to Settle Disputes Between Tenants

By Danielle Wirsansky on February 27, 2019

When you accept a new tenant onto your property, you rarely consider how well the new tenant will get along with the old and vice versa. In this day and age, the concept of knowing and being friendly with your neighbor is almost extinct. Yet that lack of friendliness is exactly what you have to watch out for: your tenants might become foes instead of friends.

They might irritate each other. They might insult each other. They might be inconsiderate of one another. Whether it is intentional or not, it is not difficult for actions like these to cause bad blood between your tenants, which in turn will cause a dispute. And disputes between tenants can be a property manager’s worst nightmare.

In these kinds of situations, it can be hard to know what the right thing to do is. Who is right? Who is wrong? How can you step in? How can you handle it? How can you make the situation better when you are not a part of the situation at all?

Who knew that being a property manager meant that you had to be a mediator too?

If you are not sure of yourself in this kind of high-pressure situation, then read on for some tips on settling disputes between tenants!

Photo by from Pexels

Maintain Clear Records

Sometimes when tenants are having a dispute, it is easy to tell who is right and who is wrong. Clearly, Tenant A provoked Tenant B. Or maybe Tenant B definitely violated Tenant A’s rights. Perhaps Tenant B is even violating the terms of their contract with you too.

However, sometimes it is not easy to tell who is at fault in a tenant dispute. Perhaps both tenants are antagonizing each other over a petty matter or both of them are in the wrong and owe the property (and its manager) an apology.

It can be hard not to choose sides and act as judge, though sometimes you might have to. In order to avoid any conflicts of interest or accusations of partiality, maintain really clear records. Chronicle any abuses or violations being committed.

Think of it as an act of self-preservation, in case a tenant tries to fling any blame onto you or if they even cause any physical damage to the property. It is insurance that will prove that you did everything that you were supposed to in order to stay on top of the situation and that you were committed to doing everything you possibly could. It helps to build a case and create a chain of evidence that will prove who should win in a dispute as well, backing up your judgment (or the judgment of a mediator).

Keep Your Cool

Even though tenants can be difficult to handle even on a good day, their attitudes and behaviors will get even more unruly when they are in a dispute. Even though you are not involved in the dispute, their annoyance and displeasure about the situation may spill over onto you simply because you have been forced to get involved and to get to the bottom of the situation.

The tenants involved in the dispute might be prickly. They might be rude. They might be petty. However they behave, you have to keep your cool. You have to be impartial in the situation, and yelling at one of the tenants in the dispute, even if they provoked it, is not a good look. Just as their behavior during the dispute reflects back on them, your behavior in handling the dispute will reflect back on you as well.

You want to maintain the respect of your tenants and show other tenants outside the dispute that you can handle the matter in a graceful and dignified manner.

Handle Situations Timely

Even though tenant disputes are no fun for anyone, try to stay on top of these kinds of situations as they arise. The quicker this kind of situation can be nipped in the bud, the better for both your tenants ad your property. It may be unpleasant to have to deal with it, whether there is some kind of damage or the tenants simply have a bad attitude.

However, sitting on the situation and letting it fester will only make it worse. Tensions will run deeper, damages will increase, and the dispute might grow to involve more and more tenants. That is something that you definitely want to avoid. You want to keep that kind of negative energy off and out of your property as best you can!

Tenant disputes are often sticky situations. Just keep a clear mind and a good head on your shoulders when handling the situation, as well as following these tips, and you should be able to navigate your way through the situation!

By Danielle Wirsansky

Uloop Writer
Florida State University
Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), (associate editor), (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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