A wide variety of disputes can arise between a landlord and a tenant. The nature of the dispute can be large or small. For instance, the dispute can relate to the responsibility for a minor repair to the leased premises. In other circumstances, however, the disputes can involve thousands of dollars.
How to Prevent Disputes
So, what is the best way to prevent disputes? A clear, written lease that both parties understand. It is better for a landlord and a tenant to have a certain understanding of each other's expectations at the outset of the relationship. In that way, each party will be able to refer to the lease for an answer as to how a dispute should be resolved if the need to do so arise. It is possible, however, that something unforeseen may happen. In the event a dispute arises as to an issue that is not covered in the lease, landlords and tenants have many options as to how to resolve their dispute.
Mechanisms for Dispute Resolution
First and foremost, it is important for both parties to communicate with each other in the event a dispute arises. Quite often, most disputes can be resolved between the parties themselves.
In the event the parties cannot come to some type of resolution on their own, litigation is not the only option. Many would-be litigants have successfully resolved their disputes through the use of various forms of alternative dispute resolution. The forms of alternative dispute resolution include negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Mediation is, perhaps, the most commonly used form of alternative dispute resolution that is used in landlord-tenant disputes. In mediation, the parties to a dispute come together, with a mediator, in attempt to resolve their differences without resorting to courts or law enforcement agencies. The mediator is a neutral third party with no interest in the proceeding other than assisting the parties in resolving their dispute. The mediator uses his or her training in dispute resolution techniques to help the parties come up with ideas on how to resolve their differences, and the mediator also assists the parties in structuring their discussions.
If the parties still cannot reach a resolution, litigation remains an option. In cases where a small amount of money is at stake, a quick resolution can often be had in a small claims court.
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