Hopefully, you will never have to use dispute resolution to solve a tenancy problem. But if you do, there are a couple of issues you should consider:
Landlords Must Demonstrate Credibility
In a typical dispute, the landlord and tenant contradict one another. What may seem obvious to you — e.g. the tenant didn’t pay rent — is something that must be proven to a neutral party. That officer has never met you or the tenant, and must determine who is telling the truth.
So, winning dispute resolution relies on credibility.
When evaluating competing testimony, arbitrators looks at the level of professionalism displayed by the landlord. For instance, if the landlord remains calm, and speaks clearly with no obvious animosity towards the tenant, the testimony is easy to believe.
Professionalism also is apparent when the landlord has standard property management policies in place, and can demonstrate that those sound practices were applied in that situation. Whether it’s a handbook or simply a firm grasp of the subject matter, an arbitrator likely will appreciate that the landlord knows and follows the law.
Finally, credibility is bolstered when the landlord can show contemporaneous documentation surrounding the dispute. Notes of phone conversations or observations, email records, and receipts, for instance, make it much easier for an officer to determine what really happened. Be sure to document any efforts made to resolve the problem.
Landlords Are Held to a High Technical Standard
Throughout the dispute resolution process, landlords are held to a strict standard when it comes to the procedural rules. Landlords frequently complain that tenants are offered more assistance, and provided more leniency.
With landlords, a defect in a notice or other papers filed with a tribunal is likely to lead to dismissal or other delays. And that means additional income loss.
Don’t rely on the mercy of the system and try to muddle through. Instead, reach out for help. Either gain the necessary expertise by asking the tribunal to refer you to the rules and guidance, or team up with an lawyer (or paralegal if allowed).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.