The rental industry is currently in a volatile position, due in large part to the COVID-19 crisis. Renters are unable to make rent and landlords are unable to collect income. This dynamic is leading to a surge in disputes resulting in calls to the police, threats of eviction, and harassment claims.
In some cases, the arguments have been quickly resolved. In other cases, they are just a small part of a much larger battle involving breaches of contract and other legal violations. Understanding the nature of landlord-tenant disagreements and how to resolve them will be essential.
What is at the root of landlord-tenant disputes?
Landlords and tenants are dealing with a wide range of complicated issues right now. Financial strains and concerns regarding COVID-19 exposure add to the contentious nature of these disputes, which may include the following key issues:
- Unpaid rent
- Failed maintenance
- Access issues due to business closures
- Threats of injury or property damage
- Unlawful occupation of a property
- Violations of lease provisions
These are just some of the problems that tenants and landlords can find themselves attempting to resolve right now. And between the stress of financial instability and operational obstacles, it can be all but impossible to settle these matters peacefully and quickly.
How do we resolve these disputes?
Whether you are a landlord or tenant, you have options that can help you protect yourself and your rights.
The first thing parties should do is examine their lease agreements. Review the lease for guidance on legal disputes, force majeure clauses and details on restricted and permitted actions. Depending on the specific issue, parties may file a complaint with the appropriate agency. They can also sit down and discuss how to move forward and settle the issue cooperatively. In some cases, having a mediator facilitate the discussion could be helpful.
If you cannot reach an agreement, the next step could be filing a legal claim. Considering the moratorium on evictions in California is set to expire in the near future, clashes between landlords and tenants are likely to continue at an increased rate. Should you find yourself dealing with a rental dispute, legal guidance and representation can prove to be critical.