Dreading a conversation with your landlord? Try the 4 steps of collaborative conversations. (Updated August 27, 2020)
By Michelle McElroy
We continue to be in challenging times, and it is still important to communicate with your landlord. Remember that this is a hard time for everyone, landlord and tenants alike. If you were unable to pay your rent during the adjustment period, March 18 – August 17, 2020, you need to communicate with your landlord about making a Re-payment of Rent Plan. You are entitled to enter into a repayment plan and if you already have a payment plan in place it can be renegotiated. Please follow this link for further information. Read Here. In this blog post, we share a few ways to help with a difficult conversation. All the tips we share are taken from our RentSmart Certificate course – a tenancy life-skills program that prepares participants to succeed in their tenancies.
4 Elements of Collaborative Conversations:
- Set the tone for success.
Send an email or text to find out when a good time would be to speak together. Yes, you want to speak as it is too easy to miscommunicate by text and email.
- Listen, listen, listen
- Start by letting your landlord know that had a difficult time with rent and you want to work out a repayment plan .
- Then let the landlord talk. Really listen to them and their concerns.
- Empathize with them and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings. This is a really difficult time for all of us.
- Remember that landlords have a number of other situations in their lives, just like all of us. There could be so many tough things going on for them right now as well as worrying about how they are going to pay their bills and mortgages.
- Be clear and specific with what you need to say.
- Ensure that the landlord knows that you will do everything you can to repay your rent according to the repayment plan.
- Make it clear how much of your rent you can pay each month as you. Make sure the the amount is fare to both you and the landlord and according to the directions of the repayment plan. This may take some brainstorming.
- Work TOGETHER to think of options.
- Think of different ways to solve the situation. Are there things you can do now, what about in the future?
For example, if you are in BC, let them know you are applying for the rental supplement. You can do this until the end of August 2020. The CMHC has published a good summary of supports available to renters in every province. Check it out to see if anything is applicable to you.
Remember that brainstorming is just to think of options. You and your landlord can take time to think about the plan before signing, but unless you can pay your affected rent in full, you and your landlord need to work out a plan.
This is a challenging and stressful time for everyone. While, it’s easy to give in to anger and lose your temper, often a compromise might serve you better in the long term. These tips might not work for every relationship, but we encourage you to give them a try – and they are applicable not only to conversations with landlords, but also your neighbours, roommates and even loved ones in close quarters.