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The Various Conflict Points in the Management of Properties

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Some conflicts are inevitable and are predestined; many disputes relating to property management are quite preventable especially where the property manager exhibits high level of professionalism. The relationship between the landlord and tenant is like cat and dog (Ebinama, 2011). Lee (2010) warned that conflict can be a breeding ground for disruption and viciousness; it can cause emotional pain and stress, and decrease job satisfaction. If conflicts are not resolved properly it might affect the organization adversely in terms of poor performance, lack of cooperation, wasting of resources and productivity (Hotepo et al, 2010).

According to Fisher (1990), Conflict is defined as incompatibility of goals or values between two or more parties in a relationship, combined with attempts to control each other and antagonistic feelings towards each other. Putnam and Poole (1987), defines conflict as “the interaction of interdependent people who perceive opposition of goals, aims, and values, and who see the other party as potentially interfering with the realization of these goals”. Conflict can be described as “the interaction of interdependent people who perceive incompatible goals and interference from each other in achieving those goals” (Hocker and Wilmot 1985). There are various points at which conflict may erupt in the management of properties. Such conflicts may involve;

1.The property owner/landlord and adjoining land owners,
2.Landlord and tenants,
3.Among tenants,
4.Property manager and landlord,
5.Property manager and tenants,
6.Tenants and adjoining land owners/users,
7.Landlord and statutory authorities etc.

Other conflict could arise as a result of:
-Lack of cooperation from tenant.
-Absence of lack of property tenancy records from landlord or estate manager. -Problems of unsettled bills consumed by the past occupiers. -Problems of outstanding claim/expenditure made on property by tenants. In attending to tenant’s complaints, he may complain about a co-tenant or even one issue or the other to sort out with his landlord. In these instances, the Valuer may be required to act on behalf of the landlord. In the case of a tenant versus the landlord, it may become necessary for the Valuer to amicable settle any understanding as quickly as possible. However, in the case of tenant versus another tenant, the Valuer is not expected to intervene except in a case where the landlord’s interest is affected.

In cases where a tenant has difficulty in meeting his rental obligation, the Valuer could act as an arbitrator between the landlord and a sitting tenant, whereby the landlord may be persuaded to grant rent concession e.g. rent reduction. However, where such concessions are not possible, the tenant may be allowed time to look for alternative accommodation, in which case the Valuer issues a quit notice. The premises will then be re-let at full rental value the moment this become feasible.

Sources of conflict are of different nature. Katz (1965) distinguished three main sources: economic, value, and power. Economic conflict involves competing motives to attain scarce resources. Each party wants to get the most it can; and the behavior and emotions of each party are directed toward maximizing its gain. This well describes a situation where parties involved in real estate transactions may seek to maximize gain at the expense of others. Of course this always results in multiple conflicts. Value conflicts involve incompatibility in way of life, ideologies – the preferences, principles and practices that people believe in. Power conflict occurs when each party wishes to maintain or maximize the amount of influence that it exerts in the relationship and the social setting.

As an Estate Surveying and Valuation Professional; there are numbers of ways to approach conflict management and resolution, which range from least to most coercive. Conflicts may be avoided, talked out, negotiated, arbitrated, adjudicated, resolved by legislation, by political action, or by violent force (Christopher, 1996).

Udechukwu (2008) in his book, highlighted negotiation, mediation and conciliation as a way of resolving conflicts in management of properties. In negotiation one may hire an attorney to negotiate directly with the other side on one’s behalf. There are no specific procedures to follow one can determine his own – but it works best if all parties agree to remain calm and not talk at the same time. Mediation is a voluntary process in which an impartial person (the mediator) helps with communication and promotes reconciliation between the parties which will allow them to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation often is the next step if negotiation proves unsuccessful. And in conciliation, the conciliator draws up and proposes the term of settlement, which represents in his own perception a fair compromise of the dispute.

The conflict resolution literature identifies the following common processes to deal with conflict:
1.“lumping it”,
7.Arbitration and
8.Adjudication (Condliffe, 2002).

In addendum, Steven (2010) asserted that ignoring an aggrieved tenant is dangerous; he therefore suggested belly-to- belly, eye-to-eye, face-to-face leadership which he regarded as the secret of great property managers. That is why they are so effective in handling contention, conflict, breach of contracts, missed commitments, broken promises, violations of common courtesy and the everyday abrasions of life. They are not afraid to meet face-to-face, to show recognition and high regard for the other person. When disputes are not addressed properly the chance for escalatory responses increases which can ultimately lead to violence and long-term fission of society.


1.Fish, R. (1990). The Social Psychology of Intergroup and International Confict Resoultion. New York: Springer-Verlag. 2.google search engine. (2013). Waber. Retrieved 01 2013, 21, from http://www.waberconference.com/index.php?option=com_phocadownload&view=category&download=102:olukolajo-managing-conflicts-relating-to-property-management&id=3:waber-2012-conf-papers&start=100&Itemid=165. 3.Hock, J. W. (1985). Interpersonal conflict. U.S.A: Duduque lowa. 4.Katherine, M. (2009). Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes. Cengage Learning. 5.Kayode, O. D. (2010). Property Management Lecture Note.

6.Michael, A. O. (2012, 07 26). Managing Conflicts Relating to Property: The Role of Estate Surveyors. Retrieved 01 18, 2013, from www.waberconference.com/index.php?…managing-conflicts-relating…: www.waberconference.com/index.php?…managing-conflicts-relating… 7.Olusegun, K. (2008). Introduction to PROPERTY VALUATION (Simplified Edition). Lagos : Chuzytech Resources Limited. 8.Udechukwu, C. E. (2008). Professional Practice for Real Estate Professionals. Lagos: Treem Nigeria Limited.

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