What can a landlord do when co-tenants have a dispute?
As a landlord, your first step is to speak with the renters so that you can know the problem causing the dispute. Depending on the disagreement, it may be a good idea to talk with each co-tenant individually. By speaking to them one at a time, you may get a better understanding of the complaints while keeping the peace.
While it is not your job to counsel renters, it is your responsibility to prevent damage to the property and ensure neighbors and other renters can enjoy their space. To resolve a dispute, propose a compromise that both parties can agree on. The nature of the compromise will depend on the dispute, but many solutions simply require an outside perspective.
In some cases, one tenant may be the problem and will not change their behavior. If they are violating terms of the lease, you may want to consider evicting the tenant. Landlords who have a comprehensive rental agreement and document Lease Agreement violations by a tenant may have an easier time with the eviction process.
What are tenant complaint forms?
Tenants may see and hear things that the landlord does not. A formal policy or procedure that tenants can use to discreetly report potential problems can help you react before disputes escalate.
A tenant complaint form provides tenants an opportunity to report problems on the property, damage to their unit, and dangerous conditions the landlord may not be aware of. Tenant complaint forms help create a documented record of problems.
The form should include space for the name, tenant's unit number, and the date. The tenant should have a space to describe the problem and an opportunity to include other relevant information about the complaint.
What can you do if a co-tenant is breaking the rental agreement?
Landlords dealing with minor violations, like tenants parking in the wrong spot or making too much noise, should first discuss the problem with the tenant and ask them to follow the rules. Co-tenants who do not comply with the rules after the discussion and co-tenants who make major violations of the rental agreement may need to be evicted.
A rental agreement should describe the situations in which an Eviction Notice will be issued and how it will affect the other co-tenants. The agreement may describe how security deposits are returned in the event a co-tenant departs the rental property.
If the eviction causes the remaining tenants to no longer meet the terms of the Lease Agreement, it may be a good idea to contact a lawyer. Laws relating to evictions vary and a landlord could run afoul of a renter's legal protections if even a small mistake is made in the process. A lawyer can help explain the options a landlord has when faced with the difficult decision to evict.
How can you limit disputes?
The most effective action a landlord can take to limit disputes between co-tenants is to have a written policy that outlines the rights and responsibilities for all tenants. A Lease Agreement may lay out the expectations for tenants and the process for resolving disputes or problems. Requiring tenants to hire a mediator to resolve disputes can often be very effective.
A Roommate Agreement helps co-tenants understand the lease and their obligations to each other. A Roommate Release Agreement explains the procedure and impacts when one co-tenant moves out or is evicted.
A Lease Agreement may describe specific situations or behaviors that can result in eviction and how the landlord will handle evictions involving co-tenants. Rules limiting subleases can limit uncertainty when tenants that do not know each other move in together.
If you have more questions about resolving disputes between co-tenants or evicting a problem tenant, reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable legal advice.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.