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How to talk to your landlord/tenant to sort things out

Face-to-face contact is usually more effective than phone calls, emails or a letter.

Here are some tips on how to discuss the problem face-to-face with your landlord or tenant.

Arranging a meeting time

  • Contact the other party to work out a suitable time and place to meet.
  • Choose a time when neither of you is rushed. (Don’t start when the other person is on the way to work, or you’ve had a terrible day, or you’re just about to cook dinner. That will only add to the frustration).
  • Before meeting, take some time to think carefully about what you want to say and how you will say it.

Meeting with your landlord or tenant

First: explain the concern

  • A good way to start off is to explain the problem from your perspective.
  • Try to stay calm and avoid blaming words and name-calling.

E.g. say ‘I notice the rent didn’t come in this week. Is there a difficulty with making the payment? Rather than ‘You haven’t bothered paying the rent this week’.

Next: let the other person explain their point of view

  • When they are talking, don’t interrupt them.
  • Actively listen – Show that you are listening by maintaining appropriate eye contact, and acknowledging what they are saying with ‘mm’s, or by nodding your head.

E.g. use phrases like ‘I can see how …… puts pressure on you”, ‘It sounds like you’ve been let down by……..?’, ‘So when ….……..you get really frustrated with me.”

Use open questions to gather information and negotiate an agreement

  • Clarify then find out more using ‘What, When, Where, Why, How, Who’

E.g. “How do you plan on catching up with the rent?” “What needs to be done to fix the problem?” “How do you see this working better?” “When can we expect it to be fixed by?”

If you reach agreement:

  • If you can come to an agreement by talking together, that’s great!
  • It’s a good idea to write down the details of what you have agreed to.
  • You may also like to make another time to meet in the future to check how things are going.

If you don’t reach agreement:

  • Don’t worry! The discussion at the very least will have helped you gain a better understanding of each other’s point of view.
  • You can apply for mediation to have independent assistance to sort things out.