Tenant conflicts can be avoided

Wednesday July 17 2019

Tenants need to have private space. Create

Tenants need to have private space. Create partitions to separate the units. In case of balconies, it’s advisable to have walls between them for privacy. Photo by Shabibah Nakirigya  

By Shabibah Nakirigya

Before putting up the ‘houses for rent’ sign, make sure you think through everything that could cause conflict among tenants and fix it.

Water/electricity meters
These are some of the biggest points of contention. To date, some landlords prefer to stick to shared metres thinking they are saving costs. The problem here is obvious. Ms Sheila Namwanje a property manager says that joint utility metres are one of the main causes of conflicts among tenants. It’s very hard to determine how many units one consumes. Some tenants are extravagant in consuming utilities and yet they want to pay the same amount as everyone else, which is not fair.

There’s also always the case of the defiant tenant who refuses to pay their share. This always breeds conflict. And then of course, the landlord must delegate someone to go round collecting contributions from the different tenants. The whole process is tedious.
To avoid this, separate the metres. Let every house have its own metre.

Toilets
Another point of contention is shared toilets. Again, you might think you are saving money by constructing one or two toilets to be shared by numerous tenants but you couldn’t be more wrong. First, there is the issue of hygiene. Ms Namwanje says some tenants might be the dirty type who don’t clean up after themselves.

“Even if you pin up a cleaning roster, there are always those tenants who disregard it and leave the cleaning to the rest,” She says.

Ensure that every household has it’s own toilet
Ensure that every household has it’s own toilet or latrine to avoid conflict over hygiene issues that arise from having to share. File Photo

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There’s no way to escape conflict in such instances.
Solution, let every house have its own toilet even if they are outside the main houses.

Security guard
To give your tenants some semblance of security, hire a security guard.
Mr Jackson Mayanja of TMT Mining and Property consultants says safety is a crucial issue and it’s advisable for the landlord or property manager to hire a security guard. This way, if an incident, say for example a robbery takes place, no one will point fingers at the landlord for not hiring a guard.
This is not to say that robberies can’t happen in places with guard. The point here is to try and do your best by hiring a guard.

Mr Mayanja says when you have a guard on your premises, tenants will be comfortable travelling because they know their houses are not completely abandoned since there is a guard patrolling every night and for some people even during the day.
He says, to be on the safe side, hire a fulltime security guard.

Enough Outdoor Space
Yes, we know you are trying to make maximum your plot of land but too many units on a small piece of land is ridiculous. Your tenants, just like you need to have some outdoor space. It is better if you even go a step farther and partition the outer spaces for each house to avoid fights over boundaries.

Mr Mayanja says, some tenants do not respect boundaries and if there are no distinct demarcations, they stoke conflict by intruding on the neighbours.

‘Some tenants are provocative they can even do their dishes or laundry in front of a neighbour’s front porch, littering the place in the process. This usually angers the tenant whose space has been intruded on,” he says.

Mayanja advises landlord to put in place partitions so that everyone enjoys their space. What better way to maintain peace and prevent conflict.

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