Sadly, confrontation is occasionally a given part of being a landlord. Furthermore, understanding how to deal with confrontation professionally and effectively does not always come naturally to rental owners. In fact, dealing with confrontation is something most people try to avoid at all costs. However, if you do not already employ the area’s best property management company to manage all of your rental property needs, there are still ways to handle tenant confrontation. Continue reading below as we examine a few tips any landlord can put into practice.
What is Confrontation?
Confrontation is the act of dealing with opposing parties and finding a solution to an existing problem. In the professional world, including the rental industry, the end goal is to fix the issue rather than avoid it. Avoidance means your rental property and business reputation are sure to suffer.
The fact is that satisfied tenants are more likely to continue to lease the property. So, it is a good idea for owners to have some strategies for dealing with tenant issues.
5 Steps to Handle Landlord-Tenant Confrontations
When it comes to landlord-tenant confrontations, the key is to be prepared beforehand. Understanding the basics of negotiating, dealing with problematic situations, and finding an appropriate solution for everyone involved is the best way to keep problems at bay. Join us below to examine some simple steps for dealing with landlord-tenant confrontation that both you or your property manager can use.
- Listen to Understand, Not Just Respond
- De-Escalate with Purpose
- Go in With a Resolution in Mind
- Acknowledge Mistakes
- Follow Through
Listen to Understand, Not Just Respond
Typically, conflict occurs due to one party having unmet expectations or the feeling of not being heard. Therefore, leading to frustration and anger, especially when it involves their rental home. For instance, perhaps a tenant feels their maintenance concern fell on deaf ears; maybe there is a discrepancy over billing or even a disagreement over who is responsible for a broken appliance. That said, helping a tenant or fixing the situation requires a complete understanding of what their complaint truly is. So, remain calm and hear them out. Remember to ask questions if you need clarity but never interrupt or devalue the tenant’s feelings.
De-Escalate with Purpose
Regardless of what the situation is, meeting anger with anger serves no one. Instead, remain calm and listen to what the person is trying to convey. This is a huge factor in de-escalating an angry tenant. Let’s review the steps to de-escalation below –
- It’s Not Personal – Whatever the issue may be, landlords cannot take a tenant’s frustrations personally. Their anger comes from the situation, and it is the property owners’ job to fix it agreeably.
- Stay Calm – The key here is not to match the tenant’s tone. No matter what, remain calm and professional with a steady voice. Eventually, as the conversation progresses and the tenant has aired their frustration, they will begin to calm down.
- Do Not Interrupt or Argue – Customers, especially angry ones, want to be heard. So, let them speak without interruption.
- Convey Empathy – Whatever the situation may be, try to put yourself in the tenant’s shoes and understand their viewpoint. Even if you disagree, this will help owners feel empathetic and the tenant to feel understood.
- Beware of False Promises – Simply put, do not make promises you cannot keep just to appease an angry resident. It will always backfire.
Go in With a Resolution in Mind
Whether it’s the owner or a Rockville property manager at odds with a tenant, it is a good idea to go into any confrontation with a resolution in mind. Always review any pertinent information that can help you resolve the problem or better understand the situation, such as maintenance records or the lease agreement.
For example, if the tenant has a clogged garbage disposal, ask yourself – did you outline for them some tips on how to handle such common maintenance problems to avoid excess costs associated with repairs? If you did not provide adequate instructions or maintenance expectations, it could significantly affect the problem’s resolution.
So, have an idea of what you want to get out of the conversation and then keep emotions out of it. In the end, the resolution depends on what the confrontation is about and what is at stake. However, coming to a confrontation prepared will help significantly when it comes to resolving the conflict.
People make mistakes; there is no avoiding that, but let’s face it, no one likes to be wrong. However, a surefire way to upset your tenant further is to stick to your guns, even though you – and they – know you are in the wrong. Therefore, if by chance you have made an error or unintentionally overlooked something, fess up and apologize. By doing so, your tenant is more likely to respect you and agree to resolve the situation with less anger than was initially there.
However, with a good property management team on board to help mediate confrontations between you and your tenant, this should never happen. A property management company remains neutral, objective and resolves the issue no matter who is right or wrong.
One of the most common tenant complaints stems from maintenance concerns or a lack of timely repairs. When resolving a dispute, whether regarding maintenance or otherwise, it is critical to outline the steps both parties need to take. For example, if the owner must perform an inspection and find a vendor to make a repair, let the tenant know. Furthermore, keep them informed on your progress and follow up once the situation is resolved to ensure their satisfaction.
Top Tips for Resolving Confrontation Quickly
In some cases, landlords will not have ample time to prepare for a sit-down with an irate tenant. However, that does not mean customer service can fall by the wayside. So, if you find yourself with little time to prepare, keep these tips in mind:
- Focus on the Issue – Sticking to the issue at hand will prevent further escalation of the problem. Therefore, bringing up other issues that are bothering you, past instances of tenant wrongdoings, or things that are simply not relevant will only make matters worse.
- Keep it Simple – State your point, a potential resolution, and stop while you are ahead. Interrupting your tenant is not only unprofessional but also not effective. So, do not continue to add in other points, argue their side, or, worse, change your position. Great listening skills are crucial for effective conflict resolution.
- Leverage Anger to Help You – Identifying things that trigger your angry responses during confrontations can help when faced with an upset tenant. This will help you meet any confrontation in the most objective way possible and lead to a fairer resolution.
Build a Quality Landlord-Tenant Relationship with Professional Management
Altogether, confrontation is not one of the highlights of being a property owner. That said, it is bound to happen at one time or another. However, preparation and a focus on professional customer service help landlords take a step back, evaluate the situation without emotions, and focus on a satisfying resolution. This is the key to building a professional landlord-tenant relationship.
Another great way to eliminate many common conflicts between landlords and tenants is by hiring an experienced management team. A qualified property manager and lease agreement help to set clear expectations and responsibilities for all parties.
If you have a rental property in the Rockville area and need help defining landlord-tenant roles or drafting a solid lease agreement that everyone can understand, contact Bay Property Management Group to help. With a knowledgeable staff on hand, Bay Property Management Group ensures tenants understand their legally binding lease before move-in. Furthermore, we have the technology and experience to efficiently handle maintenance concerns, process rent payments, and enforce the legally compliant lease agreement. So, contact us today to ensure that your leasing runs smoothly and that landlord-tenant confrontations do not become the norm.