Tips to mediate landlord and tenant issues

“This article has been produced by an independent contributor and does not reflect the views and opinions of the Immediation team or the brand as a whole.”

People are unpredictable, which makes it virtually impossible to guarantee a good tenant despite having a rigorous screening process. 

Where there is a landlord and tenant dispute, the most effective way to preserve the relationship while resolving the issue is to mediate. 

How to approach a landlord and tenant dispute

When handling a landlord and tenant dispute, it is important to keep your cool and not lose your temper, even if the other party does.

Be keeping your cool, you represent yourself in the best possible manner which is often reflected positively when seeking professional help from an expert mediator. Plus, your reasonable behaviour will also be deemed as being cooperative, which is highly favourable when trying to resolve a landlord and tenant dispute. 

Often time, landlord and tenant issues can be quickly solved by just talking it out thoroughly. Honest discussions can reveal deeper reasons that may not be so easily spotted. For example, perhaps a tenants delayed payment of rent is due to being let off from work due to the coronavirus pandemic. In instances such as this, working a solution out with the other party will be more productive and practical than blowing things out of proportion. Direct resolution is almost always cheaper and quicker than engaging professional services to assist in resolving landlord and tenant disputes. 

Face to face meetings often help parties let their guard down and discuss things more honestly and civilly. When discussing conflicting matters over the phone or email, angry words and expressions may be exchanged despite not being intentional. When meeting face to face, hold the meeting in neutral territory to ensure the safety of both parties. 

If all else fails, engage a professional mediator to assist with your landlord and tenant dispute. 

Types of landlord and tenant disputes 

Below is a list of common landlord and tenant issues followed by suggestions on how to best handle the dispute as amicably as possible.

Structural damage disputes 

Where there is apparent structural damage when compared to the initial property condition report, it is the tenant’s obligation to pay for the damages. Before your tenant moved into the property, you should have taken pictures of the property which will come in handy when evidencing the damage caused by the tenant. 

The first thing to do is to contact the tenant and explain the damage to them followed by a comparison made to the initial property condition report. Where a tenant is not avoiding you but not taking immediate action to pay for the costs of repairs, mention mediation as an alternative dispute resolution to them and act upon it. 

Where a tenant is avoiding the issue, you may have to issue a letter of demand followed by legal action to retrieve the funds for repairing the damage done. 

Neighbour complaints

The most common neighbour complaints involve noise. Where a tenant is repeatedly being noisy, you should revert back to the tenancy agreement to see if there are any clear rules set for noise levels and disturbances. Where there is a clause present, politely remind your tenant of the conditions in the tenancy agreement along with the details of the neighbour complaints being received.

If a tenant does not remedy the issue and you continue to receive neighbour complaints, it may be necessary to mediate the matter to find a reasonable solution that is acceptable for all parties.

Note that the local council and police are responsible for handling noise complaints

Late rental payments

Probably the most common landlord and tenant dispute, late rental payments can cause a strain on a landlord’s finances. While sometimes late rental payments can be a harmless case of forgetfulness, there are other instances which are more malicious.

When dealing with late rental payments, talk to your tenant about the issue especially if it is a recurring one. Discussions as to why they are unable to make payments on time may be helpful in understanding their financial abilities to meet rent. Perhaps the tenant gets paid from work later than the due date of rent hence their delay in meeting payments.

To ensure that the relationship maintains in positive light, engage a mediator to help resolve the late rental payment issue. 

Avoid litigation where possible

Litigation is costly with the average legal hourly costs of a junior lawyer being $200 to $350, while associates and seniors going as high as $700+ an hour. 

With costs so high, it makes sense to avoid litigation where possible, especially in landlord and tenant disputes. Online mediation is known to cut costs by as much as 98% with the added advantage of flexibility in schedules, the ease of logistics without having to travel, and the absence of inferences. 

Turnaround times for online mediation can be as quick as 30 days which is a significant benefit to resolving issues fast and amicably. Using online mediation allows you to make the most out of expert mediator panels comprising of former judges, top tier firm partners, and career mediators. 

Get in touch with Immediation today and find out how we can help you resolve your landlord and tenant disputes.