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How to handle disputes with landlords

Renting has become a major part of our culture, especially in urban cities such as our beloved NYC. In almost every New Yorker’s life, there has once existed that special bond between a tenant and a landlord. Now, whether that bond is a sour or a fruitful one depends on many factors. But the reality undeniably is that there are a lot of problems that arise between a tenant and a landlord. How does one stay composed enough to calmly handle disputes with landlords? That can sometimes be a very hard thing to do, especially if you are in the enraged stage. Unless you want to start dialing the numbers of last-minute movers NYC bound, you will have to get a grip of the situation. And here’s how you can do it!

Assess the magnitude of the problem

Before you decide whether the dispute is worth putting up a fight, you’ll first have to know how big of a problem it really is. If you are thinking about breaking the lease, you have to be aware that there are some instances when breaking a lease is possible, and others when it is not. In other words, if your health and the health of your immediate family is put in danger, then you might, just might come out as the winner of the dispute. Things like mold, broken pipes and any other safety hazards are a good reason for you to fight. Even if that means you’ll have to move on short notice and deal with tedious tasks like looking for movers and cheap storage NYC.

A blackboard with the words PROBLEM and SOLUTION written on it.

Think real hard about a possible solution and you might not have to handle disputes with landlords.

On the other hand, if you weren’t careful when checking the apartment before signing the lease and have just now noticed a stain on the floor or a small dent in the wall, you should probably try to resolve the problem in a more peaceful way.

People who handle disputes with landlords like pros always keep a record

How else are you supposed to prove that you deserve your deposit back after moving out if not by providing pictures that show you left the apartment in a perfect condition? And how else can you solve a dispute with your landlord if you don’t present them with solid evidence? We here at Dumbo Moving and Storage NYC suggest you keep a record of everything that went wrong in the apartment while you were a tenant. What, when, where – be as detailed as you can. Besides, tenants who do this often show that they mean business. Your landlord will be more collaborative in solving any issues this way.

Have a calm conversation with your landlord

People say that a calm, civilized conversation can be a solution to many problems. And we certainly agree! In fact, experts say that if the other side feels like they are being heard, he or she can be more cooperative in finding an optimal solution. And that is the entire point of the process of handling a dispute with your landlord! After all, it will be very easy to pick a great new realtor to find you a new home, but the one you currently live in is the one you love. So you have to do your part to get along with your landlord as much as possible.

A girl talking on the phone about how to handle disputes with landlords.

Avoid talking on the phone and opt for a face-to-face conversation.

Have a sit-down with your landlord and discuss the issue as calmly as possible. Let your landlord voice his/her opinion without you interrupting them. Also, go with an open mind and be ready to make some compromises if the other party shows that it’s willing to do the same. This way, both sides will be winners!

What should you do if an agreement was not reached?

The first thing that you should know and probably already know is that both landlords and tenants have their rights and responsibilities. That’s why not everyone decides to venture out and become a landlord – because the weight of all the responsibilities can become too much! If you weren’t able to reach an agreement when having a calm conversation, you only have two options:

  1. Pack up and move.
  2. Fight for the object of the dispute to be fixed/changed/renovated.

Just know that if you decide to stay and fight, you will need to invest some money and time. Besides, the situation with your landlord can get pretty uncomfortable, so you need to be prepared for that. But hey, no one said it’s easy to handle disputes with landlords. Far from it!

An hourglass with red sand.

Trying to solve a problem will be a time-consuming process.

You might want to hire a lawyer for writing a letter

In your letter, you should document a problem, write a few possible solutions, and set a deadline. Of course, make sure it’s a reasonable one! If the deadline passes and there is still no reply, feel free to send out another letter. Now, you may want to hire a lawyer to work with you during this step. Of course, lawyers are costly professionals, but they might be able to help you solve the problem without getting it to court.

What about your local laws and organizations?

This is the last step and this is where everything will end – one way or another. From a housing court and a housing mediator to a Small Claims Court, you should check out your options. By this time, you really should have a trained professional working with you on the case. Lawyers deal with legal issues on a daily basis, so they will have the best pieces of advice for you.

The one thing you need to be aware of is that it’s never easy to handle disputes with landlords. Especially if the situation escalates and gets to court. On the other hand, sometimes that’s the only way for a problem to get resolved. All you have to do is make sure you are emotionally and financially ready to get to the bottom of things. And, of course, try to stay calm at all times. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be doing yourself any favors.