Preventing Tenant Disputes: What Every Landlord Needs to Know

If you're leasing a property, house, or business office, disputes with your tenants may occasionally occur. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent disputes from occurring. Here's what you need to know.

Whether you've been a landlord for many years or you're new to the process of renting out your property, it's important to understand that sometimes, even the best tenants and landlords can disagree or experience problems with one another. Facing a tenant dispute can be incredibly frustrating and stressful, especially if it's a tenant you've worked with for awhile. You may feel anxious or irritated about the dispute, but you might also be worried. After all, if there's a dispute, chances are that your tenant may not be paying you appropriately or on time. You might be concerned about the financial side of the dispute. No matter what type of dispute you and your tenant are dealing with, there are a few things you need to know.

1. Communication is important

Understand that it's important to take preventative measures to minimize your chances of experiencing a dispute with your tenants. Communication is one way you can do this. For example, verbally explaining the contractual agreement with your tenant can help minimize misunderstandings that can occur in regards to your expectations for rent payments, repairs, and tenant behavior. It's also important that you talk with your tenant regularly. Don't be afraid to reach out and explain things. For example, in Arizona, you need to openly communicate and disclose certain information with all of your tenants, such as any fees you may charge that are nonrefundable. Talking with your tenants can help minimize confusion and prevent disputes caused by lack of understanding.

2. Understand your obligations

If you're a landlord, it's important to understand what your legal obligations are to your tenant. Each person involved in leasing a property has specific obligations they need to fulfill. For example, your tenant may be responsible for interior care of the facility. They also need to notify you if something breaks or needs to be replaced in the building. Similarly, as a landlord, you need to make timely repairs to the facility when something does break down. Many disputes occur because a tenant or landlord does not understand their specific obligations or because they fail to meet them.

3. Thorough contracts are vital

Before you lease a property, make sure you have an appropriate and specific contract drafted. A real estate attorney can help you with this. Your contract should specifically stipulate the terms of the lease, including the monthly rent, the required deposit, any non-refundable deposit you may require, and expectations you have for the tenant. You should also include contact information, as well as any behavior or lifestyle policies you may have for the tenant while they reside at your property.

When you're ready to become a landlord, make sure you consult with an attorney who can assist you in getting started. Your lawyer can not only help you draft an effective contract, but can help guide you through any legal disputes or problems you may have with your tenant.