Sometimes owning York rental property is tough business – especially if you self-manage your rentals and have to deal with tenants directly.
It is natural to expect conflict between you and your tenants at some point. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not knowing how to properly handle landlord-tenant disputes.
Today we are going to take a look at some of the best ways to deal with such conflict, so that the next time an issue pops up, you know exactly how to handle it.
How to Handle Tenant Conflicts in Your Rentals
1. Keep Written Records
In case you end up in a dispute with your tenant that is so serious you have to go to court, you are going to be responsible for proving that what you’ve done is right, and what you say is true.
Unfortunately, without written records detailing the incidents leading up to the court hearing, proving your side is going to be difficult and may force the judge to look at the dispute from a “he-said, she-said” point of view.
This means that even if you did everything you were supposed to as a landlord, you still run the risk of losing your case.
If, at any time, you and your tenant have some sort of disagreement, make sure to jot down exactly what happened, the circumstances surrounding the dispute, and what each party said. This way you have an accurate record of what occurred, even if you end up in court months later.
Keeping written records also helps if you are trying to deal with a problem tenant, but are able to resolve the situation. Write down the date any incidents occur, a short description of what happens, and any promises made by either you or your tenants.
This way you can monitor your tenant’s behavior over time, and if an eviction is needed, you have written proof that you took the appropriate measures to resolve the conflict before initiating such a serious proceeding.
2. Understand Your Rights
When it comes to rental properties and lease agreements, your tenants are not the only ones that have legal rights.
That’s why it’s important to know how to protect yourself in the case of any conflict.
Sure, chances are high you recognize that you can evict a tenant for any number of reasons, such as the failure to pay rent or a serious breach of one of the lease provisions.
However, what you may not know is that there are additional rights in place designed to protect your investment property, and yourself, from problem tenants.
For instance, you have the right to determine who lives in your rental property, to give tenants certain responsibilities when it comes to caring for your property, and the right to choose whether to allow things such as smoking or pets in your rental.
In order to handle tenant conflicts properly, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a local real estate attorney experienced in matters such as landlord-tenant disputes so that you know how the law sides with you on any number of situations.
Not to mention, it’s always a good idea to have a thorough lease agreement drafted by people knowledgeable in local landlord-tenant rights, such as those that work for York, PA property management companies.
That way, anytime a tenant attempts to argue with you about something, you can simply refer to the signed lease agreement.
3. Be Firm with Your Policies
Even the best tenants have been known to test their landlords to see what they can get away with.
That’s why outlining every detail in your lease agreement, and strictly adhering to them no matter what happens, is so crucial to your success.
When you allow tenants to get away with things, you make yourself vulnerable to constant conflict. One great example of this is late rent payments. If you let your tenant slide on their rent payment “just this once,” you’ll quickly find yourself having to deal with late payments over and over again.
The best way to avoid these kind of tenant conflicts is to be firm when it comes to your lease provisions. Never make any exceptions, no matter the reason.
Instead, refer your tenant to the signed lease agreement and remind them of the terms they agreed to. From there, initiate any consequences that are needed should they decide to breach the lease agreement anyway.
Not only does this strategy reduce the number of tenant conflicts you have to deal with, and the headaches that come with constantly handling “special circumstances,” this strategy is a surefire way to make sure you treat all of your tenants equally.
4. Be Nice
Though it’s important to set firm policies in place to avoid tenants taking advantage of you, it’s equally important to have some sympathy when there is an issue.
As a rental property owner, you need to have a special set of customer service skills. After all, you are not only dealing with people that are your customers, you are dealing with people that are making a home out of your rental.
Your tenant may become frustrated because something isn’t right in their home, and may feel like you don’t care because it doesn’t directly affect you. Worse yet, your tenant may feel you are only after their money.
This frustration can lead to some nasty conflicts if you don’t diffuse the situation quickly.
Sometimes just listening to a tenant, showing some empathy, and working to resolve the issue is enough to calm a tenant down. In the meantime, stick to your rules and don’t let their emotions cause you to give in.
5. Consider Mediation
It’s not easy to keep your emotions in check when you experience a serious conflict with your tenants in the investment property you have spent so much time and money on.
And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you and your tenants cannot come up with a solution to a conflict.
If you want to avoid the hassle and expense of going to court, consider enlisting the help of a mediator first.
Mediators are trained to handle a wide variety of conflict, including landlord-tenant disputes. They have the experience and the objectivity to help you and your tenant come up with a resolution together. In addition, mediators understand the law so you will always know that what you are doing is legal and fair.
6. Let Your York, PA Property Management Company Handle It
Let’s face it, sometimes dealing with tenant conflicts is the last thing you want to do.
However, if you self-manage your York rental properties, you’ll need to deal with them whether you like it or not.
But there is a solution to this, if you don’t want to be the bad guy every time your tenant becomes upset about something.
Employing a property management company in York, PA is sometimes the best remedy for dealing with landlord-tenant disputes. They have the experience needed to resolve issues quickly, the legal knowledge needed to make sure you are protected as a landlord, and the patience many landlords simply don’t have when it comes to upset tenants.
Not to mention, having a property manager deliver bad news to your tenant takes some of the emotional toll off of you. After all, even when you have a problem tenant, delivering bad news to a family, or worse yet, evicting them, is not easy.
Instead, let the professionals handle it for you – they are used to dealing with tenant conflict.
If you own rental property in the York, PA region, and want to pass the responsibility of dealing with tenant conflicts onto someone more apt to handle them, contact York H-G Properties today and discover how we can help.
With over 20+ years of experience in property management, the property managers at York H-G Properties know what it takes to calm an angry tenant down and handle conflicts in an objective and legally compliant way.
Better yet, we know the best strategies for avoiding tenant conflict in the first place.
So, get in touch and let our experts handle the tough part of being a landlord, while you enjoy the easy parts, such as collecting a monthly rental income.