Practical Tips for Dealing with Difficult Tenants
Many landlords take precautions to avoiding being saddled with troublesome tenants. While references and credit checks can help weed out a fair percentage of undesirables, it’s still possible for problematic renters to slip through the cracks. Even if someone has impeccable credit, glowing references and the ability to impress during in-person interviews, there’s no guarantee they won’t become a headache in the future. Whether you’re a new property owner or longtime landlord, difficult tenants can be a persistent thorn in your side. Fortunately, dealing with them doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Anyone looking to make their interactions with bad tenants less stressful would be wise to heed the following tips.
Start from a Place of Kindness
Many seemingly problematic tenants can be surprisingly reasonable, provided you get off on the right foot with them. So if you receive a noise complaint or discover that a rent check is a few days late, don’t contact the offending tenant(s) looking for a fight. In many cases, approaching renters in a calm and courteous manner will produce the desired results and ensure that you’re able to form a mutually respectful relationship. If you respond to a tenant’s first infraction with immediate anger or hostility, he or she is liable to respond in kind, thus setting the stage for a contemptuous relationship. Needless to say, if you develop a reputation for being a difficult landlord, you’re likely to have trouble finding tenants in the future. As a general rule of thumb, you should always treat renters in the manner you’d wish to be treated in their situation.
Be Willing to Fix Problems with the Property
Not all difficult tenants engage in noise pollution or pay their rent late. Instead, they constantly find problems with the property and demand that they be fixed. While it’s true that some of these demands can be unreasonable, it’s still your responsibility to ensure that certain issues are fixed in a timely manner. In some instances, the problem may not lie with the tenant – but rather the overall condition of the property. At the very least, landlords should make sure that every maintenance issue a tenant reports is checked out forthwith, regardless of how they feel about certain tenants.
Furthermore, failing to address maintenance issues can lead to lawsuits and withheld rent payments. If it’s discovered that a legitimate problem with the property was ignored despite being reported, you’re liable to find yourself in hot water on a number of fronts. To ensure that your tenants never have to wait very long to have maintenance mishaps resolved, acquaint yourself with dependable local contractors and handymen. Landlords wondering, “Where can I find handyman services near me?,” can use their favorite search engine to find the answers they seek.
Hire a Property Manager
If you have multiple properties and/or a fair number of renters, enlisting the aid of a professional property manager may be in your best interest. As the title suggests, this person will be responsible for keeping track of rent payments, noise complaints and maintenance requests. Additionally, if you don’t have the stomach for uncomfortable interactions with problematic tenants, a seasoned property manager will be more than happy to step into this role.
Know the Law in Your Area
In many states, evicting problematic tenants can be extremely difficult. More often than not, not getting along with a tenant does not constitute sufficient legal grounds to evict them. Eviction laws vary from state to state, but in most areas, the eviction process cannot begin until a tenant has neglected to pay rent for an extended period, refused to move out following the end of a lease or explicitly violated the terms of their lease. If a problematic tenant’s behavior meets any of these criteria, take care to keep written accounts of each incident.
No matter how careful a landlord is, they’re practically guaranteed to wind up with a few problematic tenants. While some difficult tenants can be reasoned with, others can make life miserable for you and your other renters. However, this isn’t to say you should resign yourself to having poorly behaved tenants cause problems on your property. Putting the previously discussed pointers into practice can effectively take the stress out of dealing with undesirable renters.