At some point in our lives, whether it’s with a teacher, a co-worker or even a boss, we have to make things work with people with whom we don’t necessarily get along. And so it can go with a landlord-tenant relationship.
Let’s assume that your landlord has nothing to be grumpy about. You’re an ideal tenant, you pay your rent on time, you’re quiet, you don’t make messes and you’re considerate to and well-liked among your neighbors. Yet, he or she is still gruff. Or rude. Or generally unpleasant. In fact, you suspect your landlord just doesn’t like you.
While that could be the case, it probably isn’t. While few people are difficult simply for the sake thereof, it’s likely not the first time you’ve encountered such behavior – rudeness or abrasiveness, inconsideration or perhaps occasionally, they’re even downright nasty. But you love your apartment (or at least, have no intention of leaving before your lease is up), so you’re going to have to make nice and get along.
The following tips may help smooth and soothe your landlord-tenant relationship woes and perhaps even improve the situation!
1. Examine your past interactions
Is there any possibility that you could have done or said something that offended your landlord? Think hard about your interactions, even your non-verbal communication, and if you find any red flags, change your tactics or offer an apology.
2. Avoid conflict
This doesn’t mean you can’t come to your landlord with a legitimate issue about a broken faucet or missing screen. Having everything clean and operational is part of your rights as a tenant.
But as difficult people can be argumentative about just about anything, don’t take the bait when your landlord is looking for a verbal sparring match. Stay calm. Use phrases like “I understand,” “Yes, I can see that,” or “Perhaps you’re right.” Or even just nod thoughtfully. This says you’re listening (but abstaining from an opinion on the matter). This lets your would-be opponent know you’re not in the mood for a bout.
Difficult people want to suck you in. Don’t let them.
3. Get some perspective
Without being gossipy, find out from a trusted neighbor or two – preferably ones who have lived there awhile – to find out whether they’ve experienced the same sort of behavior. If so, listen to their stories and see if they have any valuable advice in dealing with the situation.
Kindness can go a long way. For you as much as your landlord. Sure, you can be overly nice and bake an extra loaf of bread in an attempt to win some favor, but really – just remember that he or she is human.
You don’t know what any relative stranger might be going through or dealing with that makes them unpleasant or difficult. Keep that front of mind and you’ll be better equipped to find tolerance and empathy despite being confronted by the opposite.