It’s that time of year again. As we approach September, students are beginning to move back to their rentals after a much-needed summer off of school. The City becomes busier and traffic begins to slow as students return to University towns to begin their next year of education.
A summer off of school usually means 4 months away from roommates. It is natural for some conflicts to arise between housemates as they adjust to the change in living accommodations once more. Major conflicts between tenants are rare, but do occur, and it is important to know how to handle these situations. These struggles typically begin small but can escalate quickly.
Tenant conflicts can take on many forms. Sometimes these disputes are only a simple misunderstanding and can be easily resolved by a mediator such as a mutual friend, another roommate or the landlord. Unfortunately, not all tenant conflicts are this easy to resolve.
Sometimes, the conflict can become much bigger than a simple misunderstanding. Certain instances may arise where further action is required. Maybe one tenant is severely damaging the rental unit or verbally abusing another roommate in the home.
Many tenants may not know what to do in these types of situations.
In cases where privacy has been violated or harassment has occurred, the misbehaviour should be documented. This means that the tenants should write down any incidents, reporting the date, time and exact situation that occurred. Any written communication between the tenants should be saved and documented. If the situation is harmful in any way, the police should be notified and all documentation should be provided directly to the authorities.
If property has been damaged, photographic evidence is highly recommended. This may be property belonging to another tenant or it may be the rental property itself. It is important to take photos to document any damage caused and notify the landlord immediately of any damage caused to the property.
Tenants often have disagreements regarding pets in the home. If a tenant does not properly care for the pet or if the pet soils the home, this can cause major problems between tenants. In these cases, photos are extremely important to document any damage. If a tenant is having issues with another tenant’s pet(s) in the rental, it should be discussed prior to taking possession of the unit or bringing the animal into the unit. Speaking about any concerns beforehand with your roommates can save everyone a lot of headaches in the future.
The message to take from this as a tenant is the importance of documenting all issues to ensure that you can effectively defend your claim if necessary. Always keep your landlord involved with more serious tenant conflicts.
The landlord should investigate into the situation and gather all the facts from all tenants and parties involved. Once this has been done, the landlord will help come to a resolution taking all parties into account and may include options for both sides dependent on the extent of the tenant conflict. Solutions will vary dependent on the situation and the landlord. Some minor issues may be resolved simply by the landlord discussing with a tenant to keep noise levels to a minimum during certain times of the day. Other situations may call for more drastic measures. For example, the landlord may offer to relocate a tenant to another unit if the conflict cannot be resolved between multiple tenants.
Landlords should stay unbiased and listen to both sides of an argument before jumping to conclusions. There is a fine line between perceptions and it is important to investigate thoroughly to help resolve tenant conflicts. Prevention is always easier than resolution; communication with your roommates about smaller issues as they arise will typically help prevent larger conflicts.