Landlord-tenant disputes are often the result of poor communication or one party not understanding their responsibilities. The worst disputes can lead to court appearances, and those rarely work out well for landlords. These six tips will help avoid these disputes, and develop and maintain a positive working relationship with your tenants.
Avoiding Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Strong Lease Agreement
A strong lease agreement is your best defense against landlord-tenant disputes. All of your responsibilities and your tenant’s responsibilities should be spelled out clearly in the rental agreement. It’s a contract that both of you sign and agree to follow. Make sure you have a strong lease that protects your interests and treats your tenant fairly.
Avoiding Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Discuss Expectations
Make sure your tenant knows what you expect from the tenancy. You’ll want rent to be paid on time, you’ll want your property to be cared for, and you’ll want any problems or repair needs to be brought to your attention immediately. Discuss the elements of the lease with your tenant before the move-in date so everyone understands their responsibilities and a tenant’s questions can be answered.
Avoiding Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Communication
Communication is critical to maintaining a good relationship with your tenant. Make sure they know how to reach you, and let them feel comfortable talking to you about things that might be of concern. Be fair and consistent so they know what to expect. You’ll be much better off if your tenants feel like they can come to you when rent is going to be late or damage has occurred at the home.
Avoiding Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Maintenance and Repairs
Be responsive when it comes to repairs. Tenants want to live in a home that’s well-maintained and in good condition. Even if you cannot repair something right away, let your tenants know that you’re aware of the problem and you have a plan to take care of it. Educate your tenants on how to care for your property. If they know how to reset a garbage disposal and change the air filters, they won’t bother you for these small things.
Avoiding Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Documentation
Sometimes, situations escalate no matter how hard you try to communicate with and be responsive to your tenants. You need to be prepared. Document everything pertaining to your property and your tenants. Track all maintenance requests and repairs, and keep a log of phone calls and other correspondence. Take pictures when you inspect the home and make detailed reports when a tenant complains about something. If you find yourself in court, your careful documentation will help.
Avoiding Landlord-Tenant Disputes: Kern County Property Management
The best way to avoid tenant disputes is by working with a Kern County property management company. Your property manager acts as a buffer between you and the tenants. Property managers are also more knowledgeable about landlord and tenant law, and they have experience dealing with tenant disputes. You can save yourself a lot of time, and potentially a lot of money and liability by working with a management company.