Landlord-Tenant Disputes

Towards the End of Court Litigation through Alternatives



By Chloé Barroso

SKEMA Business School

Lille, France


The rental housing market is one of the most flourishing shaped by continued growth in demand generating an increase in number of landlord and tenant conflicts by 20% in 2016, most of them can be resolved out of Court to save time and money according to Residential Tenancies Boards. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the alternatives to judicial proceedings to prevent and handle conflicts, from pre-contract signing action to options once the lease agreement is signed. These substitutes have been compared by using Multi-Attribute Decision Making and ranked from the most appropriate to the least relevant alternative. The main findings of this paper are that appropriate clauses, mediation, arbitration and adjudication are alternatives resolving disputes meet more or less well both parties’ expectations. Based on compensatory and non-compensatory models, appropriate clauses alternative is the most effective way for both landlord and tenant to prevent conflicts since it is the first step in the rental process.

Key words: Landlord/tenant disputes, lease agreement, causes of disputes, contract terms, rights and responsibilities, alternatives, court litigation


As a lease agreement is a contract and a legal arrangement by which both the landlord and the tenant are legally committed to respect the various clauses and terms, we might think this could prevent and resolve conflicts that may occur. However, the number of conflicts continues to increase, especially the court proceedings by 25% in 2015 according to a study conducted by ANIL (the National Agency for Housing Information).

Most of the time, the complainants automatically initiate legal proceedings to solve the dispute. However, most of these court actions often result in unnecessary expense and waste of time for both sides and could have been avoided. Mentalities must change, court proceedings should not be seen as the only recourse anymore in case of conflict

Both the landlord and the tenant must use alternatives before hiring a lawyer. In fact, several alternatives exist, as effective and successful as lawsuits, being more beneficial for the parties especially in terms of cost and time. Among these substitutes, a well drafted lease agreement, mediation, adjudication and arbitration must be considered first and we will demonstrated why.

The objective of this paper is to:

  • explore how a lease agreement can be used to avoid disputes between landlords and tenants, and
  • analyze the possible legal alternatives to Court litigation for handling conflicts and defending the interests of both the landlord and the tenant.


  1. Feasible Alternatives & attributes

To achieve this objective, this paper will deliver a generalized approach mainly based on lease agreement between the landlord and the tenant, without any intervention from a real estate agency and taking into consideration rental agreements established under State law. This paper will suggest actions to help avoid litigations and handle disputes by suggesting tips to make a rental agreement even better.

The feasible alternatives to handle conflicts are:

  • Appropriate clauses
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Adjudication


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

About the Author

Chloé Barroso

SKEMA Business School
Lille, France



Chloé Barroso, a student in MSc Project and Programme Management & Business Development at Skema Business School Lille, having passed Agile PM certification and obtained a two-year university degree in technology in Civil Engineering at University of Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, she has a junior experience in project management as site supervisor assistant for the construction of a high school, she oversaw price and deadline negotiation with subcontractors, follow-up work. Chloé has an experience in Business Development through business prospection and in Event Organization through the participation and organization in a trade show (called Salon Sud Agro-Industrie). She has worked for Toulouse Métropole Habitat, the Housing Agency, as a branch manager responsible for building maintenance, the viewings of properties and handling tenant complaints. Chloé can be contacted at [email protected].