5 Tips For Dealing With Difficult Tenants: Is Eviction the Last Resort?
Owning rental property has many benefits and a few problems such as dealing with difficult tenants. It is not easy to find good tenants who rent for long periods of time. So, it is important to be able to deal with difficult tenants. If a tenant is hard to deal with but pays their rent on time, they may be worth working with. Tenants who are difficult and don’t pay their rent on time might need to be evicted. Eviction should always be the last resort when dealing with tenants.
Avoid Renting to Difficult Tenants by Taking Precautions
The best way to deal with difficult tenants is to avoid them in the first place. Property owners can not discriminate by race, religion, or other factors, but they can take precautions to get only good tenants by running background checks on rental applicants, asking for references from past landlords, and obtaining a credit check. These steps will help the landlord avoid problematic tenants. At this stage a real estate attorney can be helpful in advising landlords on their rights and the legality of different aspects of property owner’s rights and obligations.
Make sure the rental or tenancy agreement is up to date and landlord rights are protected. The real estate attorney can draft this agreement and review it periodically to make sure it forms the correct foundation of the landlord’s relationship with tenants. This agreement can be relied on later if problems occur. In addition or as part of the tenancy agreement, collect a sizable rental deposit to ensure good tenant behavior.
What are problems Landlords have with Bad Tenants?
Landlords can do everything possible to vet tenants before they rent to them and still have serious problems. These problems can include:
- Tenants damaging property or furnishings
- Noisy tenants can generate complaints from other tenants and property neighbors. They can also behave in such a way that there are problems with neighbors.
- Tenants can stop paying rent or pay rent late consistently.
- Tenants can move in other people without permission.
- Tenants can conduct illegal activities in the rental property.
- Problem tenants can refuse to leave the property after the tenancy has ended. While they are in the apartment, without paying rent, they can cause considerable damage.
When serious problems arise with a tenant, the landlord must try to correct the behavior before evicting them. Laws governing tenant rights and landlord rights must be followed and an attorney can advise the landlord on legal steps to take. In the meantime, the property owner can attempt to communicate with the tenant in a clear, polite way to firmly advise them on the behaviors that are a problem and why those behaviors are not acceptable. Remind them of the rental agreement terms and their responsibilities.
5 Tips For Dealing With Difficult Tenants
When a landlord finds themselves with a difficult tenant, it can be a real nightmare. Eviction is a difficult process and should not be taken lightly. But, there are steps to take short of eviction that may help the situation. Attempting these steps and documenting them can help with a future eviction process.
- The landlord must remain calm and objective with difficult tenants. Don’t let emotions rule dealings with difficult tenants. Avoid arguments if possible and stick to the issue at hand.
- Keep communication lines open and avoid the possibility of misunderstandings. Treat renters well by providing good living conditions, treating them with respect, and take actions to correct problems quickly. Polite communication is important.
- Get help developing effective ways of dealing with difficult people and tenants. What have other property owners done that works? Don’t take complaints and accusations personally while attempting to find out why they are angry. Try to understand the reasons behind tenant’s behavior and the tenant’s history. And finally, try to stay calm in the face of complaints and if possible, find solutions to problems quickly. For instance, if the complaint is about a broken appliance or leaky faucet, get the repair person there to fix it right way. If a complaint is about a minor issue that can not be fixed, explain why it can’t be fixed.
- When considering renting to a person, run those background checks and credit reports to avoid moving in bad tenants in the first place. Verify any complaint from or about a tenant and keep a written record for future reference. These reports should contain the report of the complaint and a notation of the date and the date the problem was acted upon. This might include a report of a broken appliance and the date it was repaired or a noise complaint about this tenant and the date they were talked to about correcting the behavior.
- Keep a file on each tenant and include the original rental agreement and reports in this file. Then, add written copies of all reports and documents that have been shared with the tenant. This can include their signed lease agreement, maintenance issues or behavior complaints that have been verified. Making out incident reports and asking the tenant to sign each one is helpful.
Problem tenants might ignore the stated property rules or lease terms. Reminding them with written warnings and keeping detailed records can help. Property owners should be fair but firm when dealing with late or missed payments, bad behavior, or illegal activities for the safety and security of the other tenants. At the beginning of a rental occupancy, make it clear that bad behavior and rent payment issues have specified consequences. Some landlords have a strict policy on the number of complaints or late payments that will lead to eviction.
When Eviction Is Necessary
Sometimes all the understanding and communication in the world does not lead to the tenant correcting their behavior and eviction becomes the best solution. Eviction is justified in certain circomstances including nonpayment of rent, major violations of the rental agreement, conducting illegal activities in the rental unit, damaging the unit and its contents, or making excessive noise that disturbs other tenants or acting in a way that endangers other tenants. And, in some cases, the tenant has done nothing wrong, but the landlord needs the property vacated to sell or to occupy it themselves.
The Eviction Process
The eviction process may seem difficult and lengthy. Be careful to follow the legalities to the letter and in the correct order. To start the eviction process, the property owner must send the tenant a written eviction notice. In the best cases, the tenant brings rent up to date or corrects bad behavior in order to stay. They can also move out as requested. But if the tenant does not move out or remedy their bad behavior, the property owner now has to file an eviction lawsuit with the help of a lawyer.