Understanding your obligations and rights as a landlord and ensuring your tenants understand their obligations and rights as tenants, helps all parties to avoid running into problems that could have been avoided.
As the RTA (Residential Tenancies Authority) advises both landlords and tenants, ‘Good communication throughout a tenancy can help to avoid disputes later on.’ Managing problems with your tenants yourself is advisable, for whilst the RTA has a dispute resolution process in place, it’s often a very time consuming process.
Resolve problems early
The earlier you initiate communication with your tenants the better your chances of resolving the problem in question early on. Good communication is always the key to a peaceful resolution to any problem, so be sure to:
• Get in touch with your tenants as soon as possible
• Speak to them in a friendly and polite manner
• Listen to what they have to say and ask questions
• Never lose your temper or use offensive language
Most problems that occur between a landlord and their tenants are the result of a breakdown in communication. Assumptions are often made, differing expectations can further exacerbate the situation, and getting angry never resolves anything.
Share information and put agreements in writing
Use the information you have access to in order to seek a peaceful resolution to the problem in question. The rental agreement and the property condition report are two items of documentation that you can use to resolve a problem with your tenants in a calm and peaceful manner. If you come to an agreement, be sure to put it in writing and have it officially witnessed by a local justice of the peace to authenticate it.
Problems with tenants are easily avoided when landlords understand the common causes of conflict, treat their tenants with respect and seek a peaceful resolution.