Dreading a conversation with your landlord? Try the 4 steps of collaborative conversations.
By Michelle McElroy
We are in new challenging times, and now more that ever it is important to communicate with your landlord. Remember that this is a hard time for everyone, landlord and tenants alike. If you are having difficulty paying your rent this month or in future months, have you communicated with your landlord? 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 on the phone. 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 you are having a difficult time with rent and you want to work out a solution.
- 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 are trying everything you can to make your rent.
- Make it clear how much of your rent you can pay and why you cannot pay it all in full.
- 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. The CMHC has recently 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. If your landlord is asking you to sign something, remember to read it thoroughly first and that you can always get a second opinion before signing.
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 on 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 closed quarters.
Please follow us on social media or go to our webpage for more tips, insights and easy to understand rental information as we all try to navigate this difficult situation together.