Signing a contract as a tenant or a landlord entitles you to certain protections and rights; it also binds you to certain responsibilities and obligations. In some cases, a signed lease is all you need to prevent disputes because it should explicitly detail the permissions and expectations for each party.
However, disagreements do arise. Leases can be unclear or there may be issues that were not addressed in a lease; one or both parties may violate the terms of the lease and it may be necessary to seek assistance in enforcing the document. In the event of these or any other disputes, there are a few options you have when it comes to resolving a dispute between landlords and tenants.
- Talk it out: Communicating with the tenant or landlord to clear up an issue can be the fastest, easiest way to address the situation. Have your lease in front of you to refer to the specific parts you are addressing. If you can't or don't want to confront the other party on your own, you can have a lawyer help you by making contact and/or writing a letter.
- Seek third-party support: If you can't work out a dispute on your own, you can still focus on communication but with the help of a third party like a mediator. During mediation, you and the other party can still pursue an out-of-court resolution but with the help of a professional experienced in facilitating communication.
- Leave it to the courts: If you still cannot come to an agreement on what needs to be done to resolve an issue, it may need to be handled by the courts. In the event that your dispute goes to court, you will need to be prepared for a more formal process with stricter rules, which may or may not appeal to you.
Whichever option you ultimately pursue in the event of a lease dispute, it will be important for you to have legal guidance and representation by your side to protect your rights. Failure to do so could lead to costly mistakes and unfair resolutions that could jeopardize your home and/or livelihood.