KGC Properties LLC ~ Property Management & Real Estate In Tucson!


Whatever "It" Is - Put It In Writing!

Listening to the local news a few days ago, a portion of the broadcast was dedicated to a call in for "landlord/tenant" issues.  Local tenants could call in and get free advice to help resolve issues.

The top two rental disputes between a landlord and a tenant?  Security deposit and repairs. 

The top statement that tenants use to try and get the landlords attention?  I'm calling an attorney.

The top question your attorney will ask?  Have you talked to your landlord and put it in writing?

With all landlord tenant disputes - the number one thing a tenant needs to do is "know the law" (same applies to landlords) and the law states, "It must be in writing." Whatever "it" is.

But the best thing to do is resolve the issues before "it" gets to that point:

Talk - communicate - face to face is best.

Be reasonable - for example, you have a rule that repairs will be done within 24-48 hours. but if the AC breaks in Arizona - that needs to be fixed right away.  On the same issue, if you are a tenant, understand that it might take a few hours to get a repair person to the house to fix the AC.

Take responsibility - usually responsibility falls on both sides if there is a dispute or problem.


If you can't do any of the above - get a mediator to help resolve the issues.

Put all of the above in writing.

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This blog is written with my opinions and my opinions are  presented with accuracy but not guarantees. Please talk to a professional before making any real estate, financial or agency decisions.    Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind - 2014. If you want to reprint parts of this - just email me for my permission: .


Comment balloon 30 commentsGabrielle Kamahele Rhind • September 04 2012 06:50AM


Gabrielle - words to live by! I read an interesting blog the other week too.. mentioning that if the landlord accepts a later payment then they are basically re-writing the terms of the lease.. if  a lease states than late payments will not be tolerated then the affects of same must be adhered to.. all interesting.

Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) over 6 years ago


Everthing should be in writing.  Too many times issues get distorted in the delivery.

Posted by Pamela Smith, Sun City West, Corte Bella, Sun City Grand (Award Realty) over 6 years ago

Good morning, Gab..... good post.... I always hated being a landlord.... I have no patience....

Posted by Barbara Todaro, "Franklin MA Homes" (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 6 years ago

Yes, get everything in writing.  I agree fully.  However even with in all in writing you do run into some who deny they even did see it in writing. 

I'm still amazed to this day on how some people try and get out of something in writing.  But alas it still is the best practice to do.

Great post

Posted by Terri Stephens, REALTOR, Calgary & Airdrie 403-827-4663 (CIR REALTY ) over 6 years ago

Very true. May I add something? And this will address Terri Stephens (just above this comment) as well.

Videotape everything.

My own landlord, here in Phoenix, recently tried to evict me as a retaliation. So I videotaped everything. (Or, I guess "tape" makes me sound old. I video-recorded everything with my iPad.)

The judge admitted my videos as evidence and thought they were so disgusting, he dismissed my landlord's eviction and I packed at my leisure. 

In Arizona, the law strongly favors the landlord- so tenants need to be smart.

Get everything in writing AND get video. I even videotaped myself giving the keys to the property manager at 11:40PM on August 31st.

I expect him to say that I never moved out, or did not return the keys...and that's when I'll whip out my video.

It's worth a thousand words! Even better than written words...

Posted by SEO Expert: Michael George, Real Estate and Law Firm SEO over 6 years ago

The same rule applies whether between Seller/Buyer or Landlord/Tenant - if IT'S not in writing IT doesn't exist.

Posted by Greg Large, A Tradition of Trust (ERA Real Solutions) over 6 years ago

Very good advice. I know I've had this conversation with my son, who is young but living on his own. They also need to understand that attorneys are not free. Very often it will cost more to hire the attorney than it will to resolve the issue, even if it means paying for something yourself. 

As a society, we've gotten far too litigation happy. What happened to civility and comprimise? 

Posted by Melissa Marro, Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging (Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team) over 6 years ago

If everyone just was reasonable and fair, so many problems could be avoided.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 6 years ago

Good morning Gabrielle,

nice post.... I always trying to avoid any problems if I can... Put it in writing.

HAve a great week.

Posted by Tatyana Makarov, Your Greater Hartford Area Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

Gabrielle -- even if it is a conversation between landlord/tenant -- follow it up with an email confirming the results of that conversation.   Useful information.   

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

One strategy, often employed by sleazy types, is to negotiate verbally, with nothing in writing.

Falling for such tactics portrays the agent as inexperienced and exposes the client to risk or loss.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) over 6 years ago

Written word is ALWAYS better. Being specific is critical.

Posted by Nan Jester, Realtor, Exit Real Estate Gallery (Exit Real Estate Gallery Jacksonville Beach, FL ) over 6 years ago

Very well put.  Memories often fail but when it's in writing, everyone should have a copy! 

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) over 6 years ago

Good afternoon Gabrielle,

These are excellent words to live by! Congratulations on the well deserved feature!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) over 6 years ago

Isn't that the truth.  Memories will tend to sway and change based on who is doing the remembering 

writing is the only way to go for sure! 

Posted by Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate, Broker, Results Real Estate (Results Real Estate 801.580.5624) over 6 years ago

Great Post, Gabrielle!  The combination of having a written agreement, being reasonable, and <gasp> taking responsibility definitely makes life easier overall.


Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) over 6 years ago

Tenant Landlord disputes are never fun to resolve, but your input that putting everything in writing will definitely make the dispute more clear from the onset.

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Hi Gabrielle, truer words never spoken. This is especially true in real estate, otherwise it has no meaning!

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 6 years ago

Great post, Gabrille. The best is to put everything down on paper. We even go to the extend of putting serial number of anything that we convey in the transaction. :)

Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 6 years ago

While I appreciate Michael's comment above about video tape everything, most people won't stand for that. I sometimes wish it were that easy to resolve a dispute.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 6 years ago

Hi Gab,  Including some pics or a video will also help document things.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 6 years ago

All property managers must put everything into writing and take great notes to avoid future conflict

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 6 years ago

I first want to thank Active Rain for another feature - I feel very special and lucky to write posts that are thought to be "yellow star" quality!  I am humbled and appreciative!

HI BILL!  Yes - pictures and move in checklists with details are wonderful "in writing" documents!

HI TAMMIE! Disputes aren't always easy to resolve - with open lines of communication - it would make it easier.

HI MIKE!  Now that is detail - with appliances - especially new ones that is a great idea!

HI SANDY!  Thanks so much for the comment - it's unfortunate that things need to be in writing but they do! 

HI EILEEN!  Some definitely harder than others - money disputes are usually the harder one!

HI BRUCE!  Ha ha ha!  Love the gasp!

HI KIM!  Yes - reminds me of the old saying, "He said - she said!"

HI DORIE!  Thank you so much - I am very humbled by the feature - it means alot to me!

HI SILVA!  Danke schoen!

HI NAN!  Yes - being specific is critical!  Thanks for the input!

HI ANTHONY!  Even if it's something small - it sadly needs to be placed in writing - not much can be done on a handshake anymore!

HI MICHAEL!  Agreed - thanks for the extra reminders!

HI TATYANA!  Agreed as well - thanks!

HI ERICA!  Isn't that the truth!?

HI MELISSA!  Yes - attorney's will eventually cost more than what people go to court for in the first place! Great advice to everyone!

HI GREG!  Agreed - this applies in many situations!

HI MICHAEL!  It's hard to dispute a video isn't it?  I still use "tape" too - record brings to mind "sound" - but anyway - this too is a good way to document!

HI TERRI!  I think you are right - people dispute it - even in writing, or video, etc.!

HI BARBARA!  I know you do - I know you hated being a landlord!  you make me laugh so much!

Posted by Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind, Broker/Owner (KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I agree, document everything.  I'm a landlord and I also document all emails and communication I have with my tenants during their term of lease.  I also video tape the walk thru with them prior to moving in and moving out.  I've learned the hard way to cover my rear end.  Good post and content

Posted by Wayne Bennett, Real Estate...As It Should Be (One Home Team Realty/Charlotte,NC 704-293-3931) over 6 years ago

A wise man once told me that a verbal agreement is not worth the paper its written on! It is amazing how many people leave out important details that should be on addendums!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) over 6 years ago

I agree, get it in writing, get it in writing and make sure you get it in writing. I also agree that many disputes can be avoided by simply endeavoring to communicate - talk about it. Nice post today.

Posted by David Burrows, No Pressure, Just Seriously Devoted to Real Estate (Classic Realty) over 6 years ago

That makes sense to me.  Put it in writing otherwise it doesn't count.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) over 6 years ago

Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings-- "What does the Contract say?"

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 6 years ago

Morning Gabrielle and congrats on the feature.  As my supervisor said when I was in law enforcement if it's not in writing it did not happen

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) over 6 years ago

Great points - having IT in writing trumps all arguments.  Congratulations on the feature.

Posted by Cara Marcelle Mancuso, Call a Marana neighbor, I'm THERE! LONG REALTY (Long Realty - Dove Mountain, Marana AZ) over 6 years ago

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