The terms and statutes of a rental agreement typically form the foundation of any landlord-tenant relationship. Both the parties to the contract should understand their responsibilities and obligations, and abide by them to avoid any kind of landlord-tenant disputes that may arise in the future.
Despite that a written and mutually agreed-upon lease agreement is legally enforceable, disputes may arise and result in litigations. To prevent the hassles and costs associated with lawsuits, you must understand the common disputes between a landlord and a tenant. You may consult a real estate attorney to help you navigate through these challenges.
Property damage - One of the primary reasons why disputes arise is the damage that tenants may cause to the property. When having a property on lease or rent, the tenant agrees (through a rental agreement) to take good care and hand it over in optimum usable condition. However, drywall destruction, missing fixtures, pet-related damages, broken appliances or furniture, etc. are some factors that may lead to disputes.
Nonpayment of rent – The obvious cause for landlord-tenant disputes is nonpayment or late payment of rent. There may be several reasons for this. The tenant may not have enough funds or cash flow to pay the rental amount, especially in the case of commercial leases. The tenant can also withhold the rent in relation to other ongoing disputes with the landlord, where the latter is at fault.
Non-responsiveness towards repair requests - Most rental agreements include property repairs as the responsibility of the landlord. Things like electrical faults, leaking roofs, broken appliances, etc. may require the landlord to perform required repair work. However, they may not acknowledge that the property needs a repair or goes for a quality-compromised job. This may lead to disagreements between both parties.
Violations of rules or code of conduct – If the tenant violates any rules mentioned in the agreement or performs activities beyond the code of conduct, it may result in landlord-tenant disputes. Initially, the landlord’s solicitor will send a written undertaking to prevent the tenant from such acts, which if ignored, may cause further disputes.
Nonpayment of deposit amount – In most lease cases, the tenant is required to maintain a security deposit with the landlord that serves as proof of intent to move in and care for the property. If certain clauses are met, the deposit amount may be refundable at the time of handing over the property. However, if the landlord disagrees to pay the security deposit irrespective of the tenant fulfilling all obligations, it may result in disputes.
Holdover – Often, at the end of the lease term, the tenant may refuse to move out. This may result in a “holdover” even if the lease agreement expires. Holdover may happen due to disagreements over money owed, security deposits, or other problems. Such scenarios may result in landlord-tenant disputes.
How to Resolve Landlord-Tenant Disputes?
Many disputes arising between the landlord and tenants can easily be avoided through open communication. Rather than blaming each other over their rights and responsibilities, the focus should be to negotiate a solution. Both parties should understand the lease terms thoroughly and know their obligations and rights according to the local, state, or federal landlord and tenant law.
If a problem arises, it is crucial that they communicate the same immediately to the other party. At the same time, they should be honest and transparent about their own dealings. You should also be aware of your respective state laws to know your rights and interests. If the dispute does not settle even after open communication, you can consider working with a third-party mediator. It is a good option if you want to resolve landlord-tenant disputes out of court.
When both communication and mediation fail to resolve a dispute, the last resort is to hire an experienced real estate attorney. They have vast expertise in handling landlord & tenant litigation and disputes, presenting your case and negotiating it in your best interests. A real estate attorney also extends end-to-end legal support when purchasing a home, leasing it out, or resolving conflicts.
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