Being a landlord or property manager of an apartment building with multiple units means at some point your property may likely get embroiled in conflict. While some management issues like fixing a broken sink or making sure the right paperwork is submitted to the county can be time-consuming, intervening in a tenant to tenant conflict requires more of a sensitive touch.
Issues between tenants can range from noise complaints, parking spot squabbles, leaving strollers in the hallway, noisy guests and everything in between. Therefore as a landlord or property manager, the first step in mediating a conflict between tenants is understanding the full story. Once you have the full story, you can decide what might be the most appropriate steps to ending the conflict.
Many tenants to tenant issues can be resolved by simply reminding tenants of already established rules. For instance, if tenants are fighting because one tenant is leaving items in the hallway (a fire hazard) putting up reminders that no items are to be left in the hallway because it is a fire hazard and that items left will be removed by management may resolve the issue. However, some situations are not as clear cut, such as noise complaints. Therefore in these situations a simple conversation with tenants, letting them know your not biased, you have heard all sides of the story, and you want to resolve the conflict for both sides might be needed. Keep in mind, a mediator's job is not to fix the problem, rather it is to help residents reach an agreement. That could mean if one tenant is complaining their neighbor's TV is to loud they can discuss texting one another if their TV is to loud or can move the TV to another part of the apartment where it is less likely to be heard through the walls. The reality is that many inter tenant conflicts can be avoided with clear rules & guidelines that are included in the lease. Also included in a lease or tenant move-in information should be a protocol set up on how complaints will be handled. Clear guidelines could include asking tenants to try to resolve the conflict between each other first, then submitting a formal complaint to management before management intervenes to mediate the situation. Having clear guidelines can not only prevent tenant fights from escalating, but they will also help tenants not feel blindsided if a landlord or property manager contacts the tenant after a complaint is formally submitted. Having tenants formally submit complaints that can be kept within a property management system will also help if at some point a tenant that is constantly being an issue is eventually evicted.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.