Flatsharing: how to manage conflicts with your tenants
Landlords | Tips for Landlords | 07/04/17
Renting out a property as a house or flatshare has many advantages, including financial benefits. However, by choosing to rent to multiple tenants you increase the risk of conflicts surrounding the rental of your property. It is therefor wise to know what to look out for when it comes to potential conflicts and how to manage a dispute with one of your tenants.
What are the most common conflicts?
Certain situations can inevitably generate conflicts. You should take extra care during these situations so that a problem with a tenant does not get worse and grow into a conflict which could affect the whole flat or house share. Some of the situations to look out for include:
• increased rent;
• non-return of the deposit;
• disagreements over the inventory;
• working out who is responsible for damages;
• disputes over rental charges.
These situations could lead to conflict between a single tenant and their landlord in a standard rental. With multiple tenants thrown into the mix, you’re more likely to come up against a formal dispute as it’s possible that one of your tenants will refuse that which the others accept.
If a dispute with a tenant proves difficult to resolve, you can take the initiative to get the matter in hand. If things get serious, you can contact a First-Tier Tribunal for certain types of disputes. Both landlords and tenants have the right to contact the Tribunal. The Tribunal is independent of the government. You should consider getting help or legal support; you can contact a lawyer, or alternativelyLeasehold Advisory Service or Citizens Advice. You must fill in the correct form available on the government website to apply. Disputes over deposit return are normally dealt with via the deposit protection scheme, if one has been used.
The easiest way to prevent such situations arising is to maintain open dialogue and communication with your tenant and ensure that you have proof, preferably written, of all communication and decisions made. If problems such as unpaid rent arise, find out why and try to help the tenants to overcome the situation. Resorting to legal action can be costly and time-consuming, so maintaining a better relationship with your tenants in the long term can be beneficial. You should also ensure they all understand the requirements and everything stipulated in the tenant agreement, and can remind them in advance of any rent or cleaning duties prior to moving out. This will avoid misunderstandings later down the line.
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