What is a Rental Agreement?
A rental agreement (also known as a lease) is an agreement to rent a property. Rental agreements may be either written or oral. In Florida, only the notices to and from a landlord must be in writing, even if the rental agreement is oral.
Both the landlord and the tenant have rights and responsibilities.
The tenant has the right to private and peaceful possession of the residence. The landlord can enter the home to inspect the premises or make essential repairs, but only at a convenient time and after giving the tenant reasonable notice. In the case of an emergency, the landlord can enter the premises without notice.
On the other hand, the tenants have to pay the rent on time and respect applicable rules and regulations. They are responsible for maintaining the property and refraining from disturbing the peace.
The landlord is responsible for complying with applicable building, housing, and health codes. The landlord has to maintain the roof, windows, exterior walls, foundations, and all other structural components in good repair.
Failing to adhere to the terms of the rental agreement or violating applicable regulation gives rise to a landlord-tenant dispute.
Landlord-tenant disputes arise from various causes.
In most cases, the cause is a breach of lease agreement by the tenant or landlord. Furthermore, rent increases or tenants’ failure to pay rent can lead to disputes. Sometimes landlord’s failure to remedy hazardous property conditions gives rise to conflict. That includes failure to conduct necessary repairs to make the property habitable.
When the landlord fails to give notice of entry into the property, it constitutes a violation of quiet enjoyment of the premises, giving rise to a dispute.
Wrongful eviction or failure to provide eviction notice is one of the most common causes of action in landlord-tenant disputes.
Additionally, tenant damage to property or wrongful withholding of the tenant’s security deposit often leads to conflict.
Finally, the dispute arises from the landlord retaliating against a tenant because the tenant made a complaint to regulators.
When a dispute occurs, the conventional way of enforcing it is by filing a lawsuit initiating court litigation.
As an alternative dispute resolution method, mediation proves to be the most suitable technique for dealing with landlord-tenant disputes.
Resolving Landlord-Tenant Disputes Using Mediation
Mediation is a neutral, voluntary, and confidential dispute resolution process. Mediating landlord-tenant disputes is a time and cost-effective method, unlike litigation.
A neutral third person facilitates the negotiations between the landlord and the tenant. The mediator does not issue a binding decision to resolve the dispute. Its role is to help the parties explore the causes of the conflict through negotiations.
Furthermore, there is no judge or a jury in landlord-tenant dispute mediation. The mediator helps the parties overcome the disagreement and reach a settlement.
Mediation is confidential. Nothing shared during negotiations will ever become part of the public domain.
Sessions occur in a respectful and non-adversarial environment. The parties are more likely to settle if they negotiate peacefully.
Compared to litigation, the expenses of mediation are incomparably lower.
The process consists of private sessions with each party and the joint session when parties gather with the mediator in an open discussion. The goal of mediation is to settle. If signed, the settlement represents an enforceable binding contract.
Reach out to us
As a certified Florida mediator for over twelve years and forty years of negotiation experience, Lawrence Gordon knows the most sophisticated nuances of landlord-tenant negotiations. He is committed to helping you resolve your dispute in a mutually beneficial and effective manner.
Please get in touch with us today and schedule your appointment.