When people of different personalities and characters live in close quarters they are bound to clash. In most cases, they will be small squabbles that could be solved by either communicating or simply letting things go. However, in other cases, the landlord may need to intervene as things will have gotten to the fever pitch level. Some landlords are simply nosy and idle. They will intervene even when they do not need to. As a landlord, you need to know when to intervene. Below are a few of the instances that necessitate a landlord’s involvement when neighbors feud.
Some disagreements are worse than others. Some people will usually turn violent during disagreements with others. This may cause some property damage. Things like broken windows perhaps. In this case, as the landlord, you will need to be involved so that you can have your property repaired or indemnified. If things get to a physical point then it is no longer nosy to be involved.
If things are physical and there is property damage then chances are that someone will or has gotten hurt. The landlord must, therefore, ensure to be involved before the issues get to a physical point. If they do, then you should get in there and prevent things from going any further. Injury on your property will get you summoned by the authorities. If things go south then you might lose the other tenants. There is also a chance that an innocent bystander or tenant will be hurt in the p[rocess.
During heated arguments, people tend to say terrible things. However, in some cases the things said might constitute threats to the safety of the people involved as well as other building residents. Some threats may be just anger talking. However, it is paramount that you recognize how serious the situation is. It is better to be overly vigilant than to be sorry in the future. Once threats are issued that is your green light to intervene and help calm things down.
Complaints from other tenants
Some disagreements are clear hazards to the safety of other tenants. A good example is if two particular tenants tend to get into a lot of fistfights. Fistfights almost always leave bystanders hurt. If the tenants complain about a feud between two tenants often then it is your responsibility as the landlord to step in and handle it. If tenants are complaining then it means that the feud is disrupting their lives. A landlord has a duty to let the tenants use the property peacefully and comfortably.
Breaking established rules
When a landlord has people move into his building, he or she has got to come up with rules to keep the peace among the neighbors. Some people, however, do pride themselves in being rule breakers. If this rule-breaking leads to a disagreement between the people who are supposed to be policed by those same rules. The landlord then has an interest in the feud to ensure that they set an example for anyone else who might decide not to follow the building rules. In some cases, it might be necessary to evict the tenant breaking the rules.
Some tenants may realize that their disagreement has gone a little too far and that it will not be easily resolved without some help. In this instance, they may both request the landlord to step in and help them settle their issues. The landlord may then step in and try to settle the issue. Settling feuds between tenants is in the best interest of the entire building.
How To Handle Feuds
As the landlord, if you do step in between two tenants who are in a disagreement you must be objective. You cannot be between two feuding people and take sides. You must handle the case with fairness and a sober mind. Therefore the first thing to do once you have been involved in the disagreement is to listen to both sides of the story. You should also take time to find out from other parties who may have witnessed it. The idea is to have all versions of the incident so that you can help settle things from an informed perspective.
Involve other tenants
If the situation is too dire, the landlord may have to involve other residents who will also be objective. This is if the issue is too big to handle by only one person. Other tenants will also come in handy in providing different dimensions to the problem as well as help come up with creative solutions. You should, however, be careful who you involve as you may end up involving someone who is subjective to one party to the detriment of the other.
The go-to method of resolution should be mediation. The idea is to get both parties satisfied and happy with the outcome. You should, therefore, lean more towards getting the two feuding tenants to get on common ground. This may be a little difficult if one of the parties is a little more aggressive than the other. If there is someone among the people helping out who is not objective then that may also impede the mediation process. As the landlord and person mediating, you must ensure that they both trust you to have both their interests at heart.
In some cases, one of the parties really is the one on the wrong. When this is realized you will be the one who has to guide the repercussions for the offender. If it is the first time and the offender seems sorry, then they can get off with a warning. The offender should understand that a second time in the same position will get them evicted or reported to the authorities. Some tenants might be gunning for more radical actions against the offender. You should also ensure that a warning is enough to atone for the offense.
If the issue involves some broken laws then it will be your duty as the landlord to involve the authorities. Some examples are if there was a fight and people are unable to break it up. The two parties might also end up injuring each other or another on the sides. Basically, if you feel that you are unable to handle it on your own then you should probably call the police. If there have been threats that you think are a bit too serious, call the police. If one party destroys the other’s property, call the police.
This is the last option. If the two parties will not stop disagreeing and have disrupted the peace in the building numerous times then it might be best for them to move out. If the offending tenant has had enough warnings but still continues to disrupt everyone then they should be asked to leave. If the offending tenant does not seem apologetic then you should also consider evicting them.
When Not To Intervene
Some of these disagreements might be a little too personal for you to be involved in. It will be very nosy of you if you insert yourself. An example of a personal situation is one where both parties are friends and have disagreed on friendship stuff. Another situation is where one of them cheats with the other’s partner. Or, one where they are disagreeing because their children hurt each other while playing. These are personal issues and you should only be involved if it becomes physical. This could possibly lead to injuries or property damage.
One neighbor pushed over another’s laundry to hang their own. One neighbor left shoes on another’s doorstep. One neighbor bangs their bed against the wall at night thus keeping the other awake. These are examples of petty issues. It is in your best interest to keep out of these little petty issues. Let the neighbors resolve these on their own. Also, if you make it a habit to involve yourself in the petty issues you will be called upon for the smallest things. It will be tedious and cumbersome.
Conflict of interest
If one of the parties is your relative or closer to you than the other then you might have trouble being objective. In this case, you should probably stay out of it but you might want to keep an eye on it so that things do not get out of hand.
Conflicts between the neighbors in your building can really make things difficult for you and the residents of your building. If you do not prevent things from escalating then not only have you failed at your duty as a human being but also as the landlord.