Being a landlord can be difficult. You want to remain accessible and friendly to your tenants, but you also don't want to be a pushover.

To avoid conflicts with their tenants (that could easily evolve into legal disputes), here are some of the things landlords can do:

  1. Be clear and consistent about the limits. Written policies are your friend. If there's a written policy on an issue, let your tenants know that you can't grant exceptions so that you discourage any attempt to get special treatment that could cause problems with your other tenants.
  2. Understand your leases. Using a "boilerplate" lease that you found online may be convenient but it could also backfire once you encounter a problem. A lease that is tailored to your situation is always more protective for you and your tenants.
  3. Show empathy when your tenants have a problem. If you give you tenants a voice and try to work with them whenever possible, you may foster good will that could serve you in the future. (And, even if you can't help you tenant out, knowing that they were heard and understanding your reasons for denying their request can sometimes soothe ruffled feelings.)
  4. Keep records. Whether you have one unit or 20, it can be difficult to keep everything straight. Write down any complaints, keep records of any communications and take photos of the property both at the beginning and the end of the rental.

Conflicts between landlords and tenants can be exacerbated during tough times. What starts out as a small conflict can quickly turn into acrimonious when there's a high-dollar value property in the mix. Get experienced legal assistance as soon as possible.

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