When you lease a space for your business, you hope that everything goes smoothly so that you can just focus on your work. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case, as some commercial tenants must deal with difficult landlords. If you're in this situation, you can try to resolve the conflict by taking the following steps.
Continue to Be a Good Tenant
If your landlord is giving you trouble, it can be tempting to lash out. For example, you might consider withholding rent until the landlord makes repairs, or you might feel driven to make less of an effort to keep the property clean.
While acting out in this way might make you feel good in the moment, it will likely only make your situation worse. After all, your behavior may make your landlord even more upset, causing him or her to be less willing to compromise. In addition, these actions could hurt your business credit score and weaken your legal position in the future if you ever have to take your landlord to court. As you try to work things out, make sure to pay your rent on time and stay respectful, even if you're extremely frustrated.
Document All Communication
You should always clearly document all communication with your landlord to create a paper trail. Communicating by registered mail may be best because, upon request, this service will provide you with proof of delivery, so you'll know when your landlord has received your message.
In addition, you should document any physical damage to your building with photographs. If you don't trust your landlord, you should also try to send your rent checks by registered mail or through direct bank transfer so you have proof you paid on time. This paper trail will be valuable if and when you ever need to take legal action.
Review Your Lease
Commercial leases are not as standardized as residential leases, and it's likely that your lease contains some unique terms and conditions. As such, it's important that you understand the specific terms of your agreement. For example, some commercial leases require tenants to handle repairs that are typically handled by landlords.
Determine Your Legal Rights
If you can't solve the issue with your landlord, you should review the list of resources provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for tenants in all 50 states. Every state has its own laws for commercial tenants so you should only refer to the guides for your area. These resources can help you determine what your legal options are when it comes to dealing with a difficult landlord. For example, you may be able to legally withhold rent in your state, or your best option may be to go to court. If you need additional guidance, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also provides a list of lawyers in your state who understand tenant regulations.
By following this advice, you can help ensure that you're well-equipped to handle any potential conflicts that arise with your difficult landlord.
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