Residential tenancy dispute
What are tenancy disputes?
Tenancy disputes are the formal method of resolving complications between a landlord and tenant. Tenancy disputes have the potential to be devastating to relationships between tenants and landlords, making the prevention of such an occurrence a necessity. By learning how to successfully avoid disputes, the conditions and communications regarding a property will increase significantly; benefitting all parties. These disputes are often complex, time consuming and financially wasteful – so let’s learn how to be smart about it.
Preventing the need for negotiations
How can a tenancy dispute possibly take place when the necessary precautions are taken? Communication and clarity are critical to maintaining a functional relationship with your tenant as you’ll be more able to give them guidance on how to look after the property. It is vital that you let them know your expectations of them during their tenancy and how best to contact you and report issues at the appropriate time. Conducting mid-term inspections – every three to six months – will help you promptly spot issues, as and when they arise you’ll be enabled to carry out any repairs promptly for before they develop further, this prevents waiting until the end of the tenancy when problems may have gotten worse and the need for negotiating may escalate.
It’s highly recommended that landlords, agents and their tenants create a sustainable relationship from the outset of a tenancy. It is evident that with effective channels of communication issues are dealt with much more easily at all stages of the tenancy. It is important to recognise the role you will play as a landlord; choosing the right tenant will help mitigate potential concerns, you must thoroughly research the references of your candidates. This is an important, yet overlooked process. Your tenant’s employment status is crucial to developing an understanding of whether or not they will be a suitable match for you, as well as their financial standing and their previous rental history. For a credible check – collect references from previous landlords; if a previous landlord has had complications with the tenant, why would you want to take the risk?
How to negotiate and why do it?
Negotiation is a commonly used method people use to settle differences through the act of compromising. Negotiating with your tenant aids to eliminate the threat of them filing a formal dispute in the severe circumstance that you are unable to reach an agreement. If your tenant breaches the tenancy agreement and you’re in a position where you need to propose deductions, it’s important that you’re capable of supporting your claims; if your tenant feels as though they were unprovoked, they’ll be legally justified to move forward in filing a formal dispute against you.
Preparations. Before beginning the negotiation process, decide what you’re willing to compromise and what terms or outcome you are prepared to settle for. You must stay aware of how you would want to proceed if your negotiations are unsuccessful.
Aim for a ‘win-win’ outcome. A successful negotiation achieves a deal that both parties are content with. Approach the negotiation as a mutually beneficial idea in attempts to solve a problem.
State both parties positions. Explain your position from the beginning and what you think is reasonable in the circumstance. If you have robust evidence in support of your claim, share it with your tenant, so they’re equally aware of what there is to avoid in the prospect of needing a formal dispute resolution. Allow for your tenant to explain how they feel, this will help for you to gain an understanding of what they believe to be unjustifiable, this could help better your perspective over the matter.
Document your negotiations. You should continue to make sure that every part of the process is clearly documented, and shared with your tenant. This may be used as evidence to support your claim if negotiations fall through, and you find yourself in a formal dispute.
Your inventory and how to use it
Your inventory will list every item in the property, as well as the conditions of them prior to the tenant moving in. This can then be referred to if there is later a dispute over the condition of items in the property, such as peeling wallpaper. This will also benefit communications with tenants as if they’re made fully aware of the condition of the property, they’ll be less inclined to become argumentative if a claim is filed; they’re not left in the dark.