Why negotiation and mediation could help both landlords and tenants
During the current unprecedented times of uncertainty, and with the temporary ban on tenant evictions,it is vital to identify, as early as possible, those that are in genuine difficulty as opposed to those who are exploiting the current situation for their own benefit. The key to successful negotiation and mediation is honesty and transparency from both the landlord and the tenant. This is often facilitated by an independent third party such as us.
Far better to be aware of any pending situations and attempt to deal with them now, then waiting for the end of the ban and joining the inevitable queue at the courts to evict your tenant.
Using a mediator such as ourselves can prevent any situation turning negative and give both parties a clear picture of the situation, and hopefully come to a mutually beneficial solution.
Here are some helpful pointers for negotiating ideally with an impartial third party:
- Figure out ahead of time exactly you want to happen. Do you want your tenant to stay and pay, or do you want them eventually evicted? Will you be satisfied and reassured with a payment plan? Where are you willing to compromise? What’s your bottom line?
- Open the channels of communication. Ideally this should be done face to face or at least via video to accommodate body language, preferably in a neutral location, where you can both express your concerns and work with the mediator to finalise an agreement.
- Let each party have their say. This is where a mediator will add huge value as people often stopped listening due to numerous reasons and miscommunication and misunderstanding can happen.
- Avoid personal attacks. ERegardless of how you feel towards the tenant and no matter the trueth, saying your tenant is a rogue tenant etc will get all parties no further forward and lead to a long-protracted tenant eviction process. A good mediator will help calm any meeting and keep the meeting to the facts.
- Be courteous, but not weak. Make it clear that you prefer negotiating an agreement but, if necessary, you have the resources and evidence to fight and win.
- Emphasize problem-solving. Try to structure the negotiation as a mutual attempt to solve a problem.
- Put yourself in the tenant’s shoes. How would you want to work with an unhappy landlord if roles were reversed? An ideal outcome or settlement, are those in which both sides feel they’ve won, or at least have not given up anything fundamental.
- If you reach an understanding with your tenant, promptly write it down, sign it and get it witnessed.
Many sceptics are surprised to learn that mediation really does work. One big reason is the cooperative spirit that emerges. By agreeing to mediate a dispute in the first place, you and the tenant implicitly agree to solve your own problems. Also, the fact that no judge or arbitrator has the power to impose what may be an unacceptable solution reduces fear and defensiveness on both sides. This, in turn, often means both landlord and tenant take less extreme—and more conciliatory—positions.
We have years of experience with mediation as where possible we try this option prior to a legal eviction of a tenant.
We can help you at this difficult time open channels of communication and potentially prevent the need for the removal of your tenant.