I believe both landlords and tenants need to change their mindset and strategy. Successful businesses strategize how to attract their target market and maintain loyal customers. Savvy tenants take seriously the task of finding a home they will be content with long-term. If both parties put more effort into making a viable business match the rental process would go better for all involved.
It is not us against them. There are ways for landlords and tenants to coexist but first they must learn to put their complaints into proper perspective. Below are four areas to consider focusing on and reevaluating before going to war and involving another entity.
1. Some mistakes both parties make in my opinion are:
Involving a third party without first seeing if you can work it out amongst yourselves
Going to battle on emotion and perception rather than facts
Igniting disagreements based on personal issues rather than business
2. Important questions to ask yourself about your grievance:
Is this a deal breaker?
Is this annoyance worth the fight?
Does the issue warrant action or should I let the matter go?
3. Landlords shoot themselves in the foot by:
- Discovering your tenant is in violation and ignoring it
- Complaining about a situation for months only making verbal protests
- Becoming angry at a tenant’s persistence and rudeness reporting maintenance requests. You deem the resident a nuisance and decide to disregard the complaint or put it at the bottom of your priority list
- Chasing after the rent each month that is rarely paid on time nor in full without consequence
- Fluctuating your role as a proprietor. Trying to be boss one minute then switching to being the resident’s friend, parent, counselor, dictator and confidant is a mistake
Note: Certain failures to act are looked upon by the court as a waiver. Any delay in addressing habitability issues, could put others health and safety at risk and intensify your liability. You never want to turn your back on such urgent situations.
4. Tenants shoot themselves in the foot by:
- Deciding to stop paying rent until the landlord does what you want
- Making threats to harm the landlord, commit violence or some other crime
- Writing letters or calling your landlord when you are in anger mode
- Claiming habitability issues were present since you moved in, yet you stay in the property for months or more and absolve yourself of your obligations
- Trying to interpret or alter the terms of the rental agreement after you voluntarily signed it
Note: Get a clear understanding of your contract before you sign it and obligate yourself. Respect the conditions you initially agreed to. When both landlords and tenants concentrate on self-accountability before pointing fingers at the other, they will be more successful in working out their disagreements.
Teresa Billingsley is a third generation rental property owner. She has owned and managed for over twenty-six years. After seeing landlords unnecessarily expose themselves to problems she wrote the books, A Learning Stage: for Property Owners & Managers, A Learning Stage 2: A Landlord’s Advocate and Teacher, and A Learning Stage 3: Property Management 101.
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