One of the most contested and contentious areas of civil law happens in the last place anyone wants – the home. Landlord-tenant law is a fraught and difficult experience for all parties involved. Landlords want regular payment and quiet renters. Tenants want a landlord who pays attention to their property and is respectful of their rights. To say there is potential for conflict is an understatement.
Mediation offers an effective, efficient solution whether you are a disgruntled tenant or a landlord seeking resolution. Landlord-tenant mediation offers both parties the chance to seek an alternative resolution method and stay away from costly litigation.
Learn about landlord rental agreements, tenant rights, and what to expect during mediation for a landlord-tenant dispute today.
Landlord Rental Agreement
If you are a landlord, you want to make sure your landlord rental agreement (lease) contains certain elements. These include the premises, the lessor, the lessee, the rent, and the term. The premise is the physical location you are renting to the tenant. The lessor is you, and the lessee is your renter. The rent is the amount of money they will pay you each month for the lease. The term is the length of the lease. These sections add up to a strong landlord lease agreement.
Depending on the property you are renting, you may also want to include other sections in the landlord rental agreement. These can be various deposits – a security deposit and a pet deposit are two of the most common. These can also detail any fines or fees for late payment, provide guidelines about what the property can be used for (residential vs. commercial), and offer information about tenant responsibilities like utility payments.
The result of a well-drafted landlord lease agreement is that you will be less likely to find yourself in conflict with your renters. This helps to ensure the profitability of your property.
If, on the other hand, you are leasing a property, you should be well aware of your tenant rights. Landlord and tenant rights vary state-by-state, so it is always a smart idea to check with a local attorney or mediator.
Some common examples of landlord-tenant rights include:
Tenants are protected from unfair rents. Landlords must generally give tenants at least 30 days’ notice before raising the rent. That rent can then only be raised in accordance with fair market values.
Tenants are protected from absent or unresponsive landlords. If you request a landlord make necessary repairs to the property you are leasing and they do not, you are able to withhold rent. What is deemed a “necessary repair” is subject to interpretation, so make sure to consult with a landlord-tenant attorney before withholding rent.
Another example of landlord and tenant rights can be seen during the eviction process. Landlords must present renters with something called a Notice to Quit. This is one of the first steps of eviction. If you are a tenant being evicted and you did not receive a Notice to Quit, you can likely contest the eviction.
Now that we have explored the landlord rental agreement and landlord-tenant rights, it is time to look at what happens during a dispute. Whatever the cause of the dispute – unfair rent, late rent, a lack of necessary repairs or maintenance, eviction – the landlord-tenant mediation process is largely the same.
Landlord tenant mediation begins when one party decides to work with a mediator. While a successful mediation requires both parties to come to an agreement, the process can start with only one party. So, if you are a landlord or a tenant who wants to avoid litigation, it is a good idea to consider mediation.
Landlord tenant mediation offers you the guidance and support you need to navigate a difficult experience. It is quicker, more convenient, and less expensive than a lawsuit. More importantly, it offers both parties the chance to meet and discuss their landlord-tenant dispute with a neutral third party. This is the mediator. They facilitate communication and negotiation, which often leads to a more beneficial outcome than pursuing litigation.
Your Landlord Tenant Law Mediators
If you are in the middle of a contentious dispute, contact Shapiro Mediation today. We have the experience, dedication, and compassion necessary to help you out during a tough time. With offices in Boston and Ft Lauderdale, we are able to offer unparalleled local service to landlords and tenants seeking alternative dispute resolution. Call us now at (339) 298-7733.