5 Ways To Avoid Landlord-Tenant Disputes
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5 Ways To Avoid Landlord-Tenant Disputes


Whether you're a renter or landlord you'll want to enjoy a tenancy without arguments and disputes. Which is easier said than done. But whichever side of the rent book you're on here's our top 5 ways to avoid landlord-tenant disputes.

 

1 - Do your due diligence

 

A little due diligence before either party sign the tenancy agreement can avoid an awful lot of disputes and ill-feeling. This applies equally to tenants and landlords.

 

Tenants

 

It may seem like stating the obvious but do thoroughly check out the property during your viewing. Look beyond the number of bedrooms or the layout of the living room. Is the property ready to move into? Is the paintwork and plastering up to scratch? Is the furniture in good condition? Check inside the oven to make sure it's been cleaned. A sign of a good landlord is the care taken on the property. And if the landlord cares about the property they'll care about you as a tenant. All of which points to a harmonious tenancy with no disputes.

 

But if the property is shabby or you see obvious neglect it could be a sign of a dodgy landlord. If this is the case disputes further down the line are inevitable. You'll be wise to consider another property.

 

Landlords

 

When landlords rent out their buy to let property it's always a slightly nervous time. Will the new tenant look after the rental? Will they pay the rent on time? Will they be a good tenant?  Will I end up arguing or trying to resolve disputes? All valid concerns. Choosing the right tenant will mitigate those concerns. And referencing plays a big part in finding that tenant.

 

Thorough referencing is essential. Check out your tenant's employment status, their financial standing and their previous rental history. Get a reference from their previous landlords. This is probably more important than a credit check. If a previous landlord has had disputes with the tenant why on earth would you take the risk? While this obviously isn't a guaranteed process by referencing your tenant, you can reduce the risks of disputes in the future.

 

2 - Understand the tenancy agreement

 

This is so important. The landlord and the tenant must understand the tenancy agreement. Each must be crystal clear on their responsibilities. This will reduce the potential for disputes.

 

For example, tenants' responsibilities will include paying the utility bills, keeping the property clean and paying the rent on time. Carrying out timely repairs and ensuring the property is energy efficient and safe are the landlord’s responsibilities. The tenancy agreement will detail all of this. Make sure you read and understand it to avoid unnecessary conflict.

 

3 - Establish a good relationship

 

The tenant-landlord relationship is so important. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not suggesting socialising, exchanging Christmas gifts and inviting each other to family weddings. But a mutually respectful relationship will help any tenancy proceed smoothly.

 

A good tenant-landlord relationship is mostly a matter of communication. If you're a landlord make sure your tenant has your contact details. And always respond promptly if your tenant reaches out to you. Take their phone calls and answer their texts.

 

If you're a renter understand your landlord can't always drop everything and ride to the rescue. If the tap starts dripping at 2am in the morning don't immediately get on the phone.

 

At the end of the day communication between tenant and landlord is so important. And that good relationship will make it much easier to quickly resolve any issues without rancour.

 

4 - Respect the property

 

So many tenant-landlord disputes revolve around repairs and maintenance. Delayed repair causes frustration for tenants. But the landlord despairs at a tenant's unrealistic expectations. Even a minor issue like the aforementioned dripping tap can escalate into a full-blown dispute. Yet all it takes is a little common sense and empathy. And respect for the property.

 

If you're a tenant you have a responsibility to look after your rental home. This applies to appliances too. Look after them. However, if something does go wrong and you need to report a repair do so promptly. But give your landlord a reasonable timeframe to respond and resolve any issues.

 

If you're a landlord, regular inspections can highlight any potential issues before they become a problem. But if your tenant does report a repair fix it as soon as possible. And carry out scheduled maintenance tasks on the agreed dates. Again, good communication and tenant-landlord relationship are vital here.

 

If both the tenant and the landlord look after the property and work together to resolve any issues the chances of any disputes arising are minimal.

 

5 - Be aware of the Tenant Fees Ban

 

It's no surprise that many disputes revolve around money. Either the tenant owing it or the landlord demanding too much of it. The tenancy agreement should include all financial responsibilities for both tenant and landlord. But both parties being aware of the Tenant Fees Ban will prevent any unnecessary financial disputes.

 

The Tenants Fees Act controls the charges a tenant can be asked to pay. It came into force on June 1, 2019. By being aware of the new laws the tenant will be more aware of their rights. And a landlord won’t demand illegal fees. All of which lessens the chances of financial disputes.

 

Applying some common sense and being prepared to compromise a little while keeping in touch will prevent so many disputes. Which is something all tenants and landlords will agree is for the best.


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