How to Deal with Disagreements

There are many different reasons why a conflict might arise between you and your landlord, but there are also many different things that you can do to make sure that the end result of any disagreement or dispute ends in your favor.

Here are some common reasons for disputes between a landlord and tenant:

  • Late rent payments
  • Repairs
  • Property Damage
  • Discrimination

All of these situations can be touchy or provoke sensitive issues.  If you run into one of these conflicts with your landlord, you need to take appropriate action to protect yourself and make sure the issues do not escalate.

Always Keep Your Cool

It doesn’t matter if your landlord is making false accusations, yelling at you or refusing to listen to your point of view, you have to keep your cool.  If you are aggressive or threatening, your landlord will not feel more inclined to accommodate you on any level.  If your dispute is overheard, you will not get the benefit of the doubt compared to if you had been overheard calmly having a discussion with your landlord.  If you avoid fighting with your landlord, you are also more likely to make smart, rational decisions that will better benefit you in the end.

Keep a Record of Everything

You should be able to document any interaction you have with you landlord pertaining to your lease.  When rent payments are made, you should get a receipt if you need to pay cash.  It is however recommended to write a check so that payment can be easily traced with a bank statement.

If you make a request to your landlord for a repair, you should always follow up with an email to record the agreement or request made.  Even if you and your landlord are on good terms and you make a verbal agreement, you should put it into writing.  The same goes for any negative interaction where you feel mistreated by your landlord.  Examples could include being discriminated against concerning your age, race, sex or even a violation of privacy that makes you uncomfortable such as requesting to enter your apartment without just cause or questioning guests about your personal information.

By documenting these interactions, you demonstrate the level of importance given to the situation and are fully prepared to defend your case should a conflict end up in court or mediation.  A simple example of the need for documentation could be, trying to avoid eviction in a court case, because your landlord is accusing you of not paying rent, but because you paid cash and did not demand a receipt, you have no proof of paying your rent at all.

Talk to Someone

If you are having problems with your landlord, talk to someone about it, preferably someone who is not living in the same apartment as you.  They may give you some great outside perspective on the situation and can also let you know when you might be overreacting to a situation, or not taking something seriously enough!

If at any point in time you have specific concerns about your conflicts with your landlord and need to inform yourself of your rights or specific procedures, you should contact the Landlord and Tenant board (also known as Residential Tenancy Branch) specific to your province.

Try to Avoid Conflicts

Fighting with a landlord can be a headache, and there are some things that you can do to try and avoid a conflict to begin with.

  • Keep a copy of your lease and understand the terms clearly
  • Politely communicate any concerns you may have to your landlord as soon as they arise
  • Organize post-dated checks or direct withdrawal to make sure payments are always on time
  • Take good care of the property you are leasing
  • Be respectful through any of your interactions with your landlord or other tenants