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My tenants are not getting along. What should I do as the landlord?

tenant disputes

It’s common for tenants in the same building to disagree or not get along. Sources of tension run the gamut, and so do the severity of the issues.

The best thing you can do as a landlord is listen to both tenants and keep calm while navigating if you should step in, when, and how.

Your guiding principle here should be that it is the landlord’s role to provide “quiet enjoyment” to their tenants and take “reasonable action to address another tenant’s conduct that disturbs the complaining tenant”.

 

If you ignore their complaints, a tenant can report it to the Landlord and Tenant Board. The term quiet enjoyment is vague and open to interpretation, but here are some general guidelines on what it amounts to in real life:  

 

Tenants have the right to:

1. Privacy

2. Be free from unreasonable disturbances (e.g. ongoing loud noise, second-hand smoke, intimidation and harassment)

3. Exclusive use of the unit they are renting and use of common areas (there are some circumstances under which the landlord can enter the unit - you can read more about the rules surrounding entering units here)

 

If you find yourself in a situation as a landlord where one tenant is infringing on another tenant’s right to quiet enjoyment, what should you do?

 

Hear from both parties:

Give both parties a chance to tell you their side of the story. If there is a way for them to prove their claim, this can be helpful because it will give you a better understanding of what is happening. For example, if one of your tenants cranks up their subwoofer while playing music, and the entire house shakes on a regular basis, a recording of it would substantiate the claim. 

 

It’s also a good idea to get complaints and your response in writing. We suggest documenting all communications on the subject (e.g. phone calls, in-person conversations, texts messages, etc.). If the situation becomes hostile, it is better to have written records of what transpired, how you responded, and what you did to try to rectify the situation. 

 

Set some guidelines

Here are common complaints and general guidelines you can outline for your tenants in hopes that they can follow them and get along. 

 

Noise complaints (e.g. loud music, noise from kids and pets):

Common complaints involve noise. If you can get both parties to agree to keep noise down at specific times late at night and early in the morning, this might alleviate the issue. Adding soundproofing between units is an extra step you can take if the walls happen to be thin, and the issue seems to be a consistent complaint amongst your tenants. 

 

Common area complaints:

Make it clear what the common areas are and aren’t for. If there is a specific and repeated issue, for example, garbage or personal belongings being left in common areas, ask your tenants not to leave items behind. You can also post a note or flyer in the common area explaining why it is an issue, and ask people not to do it. 

 

General dislike: 

Trying to solve disputes between tenants can be complicated if there’s no specific reason given. If one or more parties issues a complaint, you should document the reasons and circumstances around it. Your job as a landlord is to investigate and follow up with any concerns about the unit, even if that happens to be another tenant.

 

Can a tenant be evicted for bad behaviour against other tenants?

In short, yes. If tenants aren’t able to settle issues on their own, and one party is interfering with another tenant’s ability to reasonably enjoy their use of their unit or the complex, the landlord can file an N5 form for the interfering tenant. This is a notice to end a person’s tenancy for interfering with others, damage or overcrowding. If the landlord also lives in the building and it has less than three rental units, an N7 form can be used instead. It is a quicker process than the N5. 

After the landlord files the N5, and if this is the first time the tenant has had an N5 form filed against them, they have seven days to correct the problem (upon receiving the notice). If they correct the problem within the seven day timeframe, the N5 form is considered voided. Otherwise, the landlord can file an L2 form with the Landlord and Tenant Board, which is an application to evict the tenant.

 

Learn more about the L2 and other forms that landlords most commonly use here.


The blog posts on this website are for the purpose of general introductory information. They can’t serve as an opinion or professional advice. Speak to a professional before making decisions related to your circumstances.

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