Most landlord tenant disputes, and I’ve literally handled thousands of them in court, can be resolved through a simple, open conversation. You just have to do it calmly and remember that to the landlord it is just business, not personal, even though to you it may be very personal.
Just like anything else, when tempers flare or things are taken personally, nothing gets resolved. People will hold on tighter to their positions if they feel disrespected and then nothing gets resolved.
So step one is to try to talk it out, calmly.
Remember, sometimes the person you are talking to doesn’t even have the authority to do what you are asking them to do. Try to figure that out early, and gently. You may need them later on down the road as a witness.
If they can’t do what you’re asking, you are wasting your time arguing with them and making an enemy for no good reason. (Come to think of it, is there ever a good reason to make an enemy?)
Move on and find out who can solve your problem, then try to work with them instead.
Always end every conversation, whether you win or lose, with a “ . . . thank you for your efforts.”
If that doesn’t work, step two is to look at your lease.
It is a civil matter at that point. Depending on your jurisdiction and the dollar amount involved, it can probably be addressed in small claims court. In fact, that is why we have that third branch of government anyway!
Don’t be afraid to go there, if necessary. But if you have to go that route, be very prepared to present your side, and do it professionally, politely and succinctly.
The last thing to consider is whether going that far it is even worth it or not.
That’s the part most people forget to consider.
Remember, you cannot put a price on a good night’s sleep, and by heading into court you can lose out on a whole bunch of them!