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4 Common Landlord-Tenant Disputes & How to Handle Them

You’ve probably heard horror stories about landlords and tenants. Whether you had a friend with a terrible landlord when you were younger or a landlord friend with a terrible tenant, these types of situations do occur.

As a landlord in Long Beach, California, you’ll most likely run into some of the common disputes listed below. Even if you screen potential tenants beforehand, you never know what kind of issues can arise.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and letting your emotions get the best of you, we’re sharing how to handle the most common landlord/tenant disputes. Not only will these issues be resolved, but you’ll also become a better landlord because of them.

Dispute #1: Late Rent Payments

Even though you reviewed your tenant’s financial situation, you may still experience late rental payments. This can be extremely frustrating, especially because you have to chase your tenant down to collect the money you deserve.

At first, you may want to evict the tenant if they are consistently late with rent. This is a long and costly process, though. Fortunately, there are some easier ways to resolve this dispute.

How to Handle It

There are a few different things you can do to ensure your tenant pays their rent on time. The first is to simply ask them why they’re always late. Sometimes a simple conversation can change your tenant’s behavior entirely, especially if you take the time to understand their situation.

Next, you can create easy ways for your tenant to pay rent. Traditionally, landlords would collect checks from tenants through the mail or in person. Now, 57% of renters want online payment options when sending rent to their landlords.

Lastly, you can send friendly reminders a few days before the rent is due. The beginning of the month can creep up on a lot of people, and they can honestly make the mistake of forgetting to pay you.

Dispute #2: Maintenance Issues

This dispute has two sides to it: the tenant and the landlord.

From the tenant’s perspective, they may have an issue with their landlord if he or she does not respond to maintenance requests in a timely manner. Some landlords may not even acknowledge the request at all!

From the landlord’s perspective, they may be stuck with a tenant who continuously makes minor maintenance requests that they aren’t necessarily responsible for. For example, changing a lightbulb or the battery in the smoke detector can be done by the tenant.

How to Handle It

When a tenant feels neglected by their landlord who doesn’t repair things around the apartment, it can cause them to become upset and angry. If you as a landlord have a habit of ignoring tenant requests, make an effort to prioritize these repairs. It’s one of the major responsibilities you have.

Now, if a tenant is making unreasonable requests, be sure to inform them of the maintenance you are responsible for and what they are responsible for doing. Hopefully, this conversation will help them understand what they can and cannot call you for.

Close up of pencil on Security deposit form

Dispute #3: Security Deposit

One of the most common disputes between tenants and landlords is over the security deposit. At the beginning of the lease, the landlord will collect a deposit usually equal to one or two months’ rent to cover any damages caused by the tenant.

The two major issues concerning the security deposit are the landlord not returning it in time or the tenant receiving only a portion of the deposit when they feel they have the right to the entire thing.

Both of these issues can be brought to small claims court if necessary, so it’s important to resolve them amongst yourselves.

How to Handle It

In the case of a delayed return of the security deposit, you as a landlord must be aware of the local laws concerning security deposits. In California, landlords have 21 days to return a tenant’s security deposit or provide an itemized list of expenses for repairs.

As for the issue of a tenant who is unhappy receiving a portion or no security deposit back, it’s your responsibility to document what you used the security deposit to repair. For example, keep receipts from supplies you had to buy or labor you hired to fix damages left by the tenant.

Dispute #4: Breach of the Lease

There are many ways tenants can breach their lease – it all depends on what is stated in it. Some common breaches of the lease include:

  • Having a pet when prohibited
  • Subletting without permission
  • Making physical changes to the property
  • Not paying rent
  • Abandoning the lease/property

How to Handle It

Some of these breaches don’t have to result in an eviction, such as having a pet or making changes to the property. They can come with fines, though. If there’s a pet, charge a separate pet deposit. With physical changes, use the security deposit to repair or correct them.

As for subletting without permission, abandoning the lease or property, or refusing to pay rent, it’s best to get a lawyer involved in discussing your rights as a landlord. Unfortunately, some disputes do have to end with an eviction notice posted on the door.

The Number One Solution to Landlord-Tenant Disputes

There is one solution that can solve all disputes between you, a landlord, and your current or future tenants. That solution is to hire a property manager.

Property managers are real estate professionals who are trained and educated to handle residential leases, interact with tenants, solve disputes, maintain and manage properties. With their help, landlords never have to speak with a tenant living in their property ever again!

They will use their valuable resources to solve disputes and ensure your property and lease are in compliance with the law, too. You won’t have anything to worry about concerning your rental.

CMC Realty and Property Management in Long Beach is Your Solution

If you have a rental property in Long Beach, California, and you’re tired of dealing with landlord/tenant issues, then you need CMC Realty and Property Management.

As the area’s leading property management company, we will handle all tenant issues that may arise and decrease the chance of tenants having issues with you, their landlord.

Contact us to see how we can take the stress out of owning a rental in Long Beach today!

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