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Commercial Dispute Resolution

Commercial Landlord and Tenant Disputes

Disputes between landlord and tenants are common and most can be settled with mediation. Unfortunately, when a dispute between a landlord and a tenant fails to be resolved quickly, the situation can quickly turn sour, causing undue stress and unnecessary problems for both parties.

What are the causes of landlord and tenant disputes?

Disputes between landlords and tenants can arise for a number of reasons and can be due to failings made by either the landlord or the tenant to comply with their obligation under the lease. Some commonly cited reasons for dispute are:

Rent arrears

Unpaid rent can be a serious issue not only for landlords, but for tenants, too. Landlords who are consistently left without rent may encounter severe cashflow issues, thereby affecting their ability to pay mortgages and other bills. Landlords have the right to receive rent from their tenant, and the right to take their tenants to court if rent is not paid on time. Being taken to court by a landlord can have serious repercussions for a tenant; CCJs (county court judgements that are often registered against individuals who owe money) can remain on a person's credit score for up to six years. Further disputes may ensue if the tenant feels they have been wrongfully accused of non-payment.

Deposit issues

Tenants are usually required to pay security deposits at the beginning of their tenancies to cover the cost of any damage they may cause to the property during their lease. At the end of the lease, the landlord should conduct a thorough review of the property, ensuring the property has been kept in good condition and checking for signs of damage. If the search reveals no signs of damage, the security deposit should be returned to the tenant; however, landlord is unsatisfied with the property's condition, he or she has the right to retain the tenants' deposit to cover repair costs. Disputes often ensue when tenants disagree with their landlords' decision to retain their security deposits. Tenants faced with losing their deposits may argue that the damaged observed in a property is the result of general wear and tear rather than deliberately destructive behaviour.

Access

Most leases give the landlord the right to re-enter his or her property as and when required. However, disputes regarding the landlord's access rights may arise if the landlord fails to notify the landlord of his intent to enter the property, or enters the property too frequently to be deemed reasonable.

How can I avoid a dispute from occurring between me and my landlord/tenant?

Disputes between tenants and landlords have been waged since the first lease was signed; however, you can reduce your chances of becoming embroiled in a dispute by taking note of the following:

- Landlords can reduce their chances of encountering rental problems by carrying out thorough credit checks on prospective tenants and seeking business references. A credit check will reveal the presence of CCJs, which could indicate that a tenant has failed to pay rent to a landlord in the past.

- Some disputes, such as whether a landlord has the right to enter a property, can be avoided simply by making sure that the circumstances in which a landlord is able to enter his or her property are expressly detailed in the lease. The lease should also state how much notice the landlord is reasonably expected to give, and whether there are any instances in which it won't be necessary for the landlord to give notice (such as in the event of an emergency). 

Why do some landlord and tenant disputes require the help of a solicitor?

It is sometimes possible for landlords and tenants to resolve their issues without outside help; however, it is often worth enlisting the help of a solicitor to deal with disputes. A solicitor can: 

-          Examining the dispute impartially and advise the client what his/her best course of action is likely to be

-          Guide the client through court proceedings (if it is determined that the best course of action is to refer the matter to court)

-          Help prevent disputes in the first place by checking through the drafted lease for inaccuracies and ambiguities.

What can Pabla & Pabla Solicitors do for me?

Pabla & Pabla’s experienced commercial property solicitors have worked on numerous commercial landlord and tenant dispute cases. We understand how important it is for your disputes to be settled quickly and will therefore work fast to settle your case. Whether you are a commercial landlord or a tenant, Pabla & Pabla Solicitors can help you in your dispute. Contact us today to discuss your needs.

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