Conflict Resolution: Managing the Needs of Owners, Tenants, Neighbors and Property Managers in Los Angeles - Article Banner

Managing conflict is part of managing your rental property. There are so many opportunities for disputes and misunderstandings. You might find yourself locked in a disagreement with your own tenant. You might be called upon to mediate a conflict between two tenants. Perhaps the neighbors are involved, and while those people aren’t renting your property, they’re still involved with the type of rental experience your own residents are having. 

How can you make sure that you’re providing a smooth, peaceful, and easy rental experience free of conflicts and disputes? 

As Los Angeles property managers, we know that communication is an important part of avoiding and diffusing potentially tricky situations. We also know that good tenant relationships can go a long way in keeping everyone calm and willing to work out their differences. 

We’re talking about conflict resolution and Los Angeles rental properties today, specifically how to make sure everyone’s needs are met – from owners to tenants to neighbors and property managers. 

Disputes between Tenants and Other Tenants 

Conflicts between two tenants are especially likely when you’re renting out a multi-family property. Because of the close proximity to one another, you can expect tenants to complain about one another. There might be noise complaints. Maybe a dog’s messes aren’t being cleaned up outside. Perhaps there are fights over who should be parking where. 

There are ways to get ahead of these potential situations: 

  • Create a strong lease agreement and make sure that lease agreement includes a dispute resolution clause. 
  • Make sure each tenant understands the expectations you have for them. 
  • Be clear and include policies in your lease that cover pets and pet cleanup, quiet hours and noise, as well as rules around parking, guests, smoking, etc. 

Another great idea? Hire a property manager so that you don’t have to worry about the intricacies of tenant relationships. You’ll be especially grateful for a property management relationship when two of your tenants are not getting along. Perhaps you’re renting out a duplex or several condo units. Maybe you own a small apartment building or there are even two single-family homes that you own where tenants just don’t get along with each other. 

It’s not necessarily your problem. You expect adults to take care of their own problems and act responsibly. 

However, you will likely be called upon to intervene if a dispute or conflict begins to escalate or has one tenant feeling like they might need to move. Your job as a landlord is to provide a safe and habitable home to all your tenants and if you’re someone who shies away from conflict or simply does not want to be part of the latest argument in your rental properties, you need the support and the expertise of a property manager. 

Problems between Tenants and Owners (or Los Angeles Property Managers)

If there’s an issue brewing between you and your tenant, there are two things to remember: the importance of communication and the necessity of accountability. 

Communication is always important in clearing problems and resolving conflicts, and good communication policies will help you avoid and manage small problems and large conflicts. If problems are left unresolved, they can simmer over into major battles, leading to tenants moving out and lost revenue.  

Accountability is important for you and your tenant. If you have a resident who is upset and making threats because their plumbing issue hasn’t been fixed in the two weeks since they’ve reported it, check your records. If what they say is true and you have not been in touch to follow up about the plumbing, you’ll want to quickly apologize and do everything you can to make things right. If it’s a dispute that stems from something they did wrong, don’t be afraid to hold them accountable. Is a departing tenant upset that only half of their security deposit came back? Make sure you can share the documentation you have that demonstrates the property damage for which you made deductions. 

Conflict Resolution for Tenants and Neighbors

As property managers in Los Angeles, we have a lot of leverage when we’re solving problems that tenants of ours are having with each other. We can reference the lease agreement and hold each party accountable to their lease. You can do the same when you’re managing tenant relationships on your own.

But, what happens when a tenant is having problems with a neighbor who is not your tenant? This is slightly more complicated. 

What’s important in these situations is tenant support, and here’s how we do it:

  • Active Listening Helps to Diffuse Potentially Emotional Situations

Your tenants might understand that there’s nothing you can do about a disruptive neighbor. That’s okay. In many cases, they are bringing you their troubles simply because they want to be heard. If you don’t have the time or the interest in listening, you need to hire a property manager who can do the listening for you. Because it’s critical that your tenants feel supported. Property managers will be a resource and remain empathetic. 

When your tenants come to you with a complaint about noise, pet problems, parking issues, or other nuisances that they’re experiencing, they want to feel supported and validated. Be willing to receive the complaint. Good tenant relationships and open communication are important, especially if you’re committed to tenant retention.  

Tenants need someone to be on their side, especially if they’re having problems with a neighbor who is not accountable to you and your lease agreement. When we find ourselves in this situation, we always ask questions. We talk about what they’ve already done – or tried to do – to remedy the situation.

HOA relationships can also be helpful. If your property is in an association, this may give you some leverage when it comes to tenant conflicts. When there’s a problem with the behavior of a neighbor, go to the association board to resolve the issue or ask them to intervene and talk to the neighbor who is causing problems. There are almost certainly rules about noise, quiet hours, parking, disruptive parties, and pet clean-up.  

Last but not least, you need to always be aware of ever-changing law in California and Los Angeles so you understand what is required by law in order to resolve the issue, there are a couple of websites you can follow the news and law changes which are AAGLA (Apartment Association of Los Angeles) and LAHD (Los Angeles Housing Department).

Contact Property ManagerThese are some of our thoughts around managing and resolving conflicts. If there’s a particular situation you need help with, or if you’d like to hear more about Los Angeles property management in general, please contact us at Earnest Homes.