All experienced landlords have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with problematic tenants. Owning and renting out property is a whole business model that not only involves the upkeep of your properties, but also the management of people.
A great tenant for any landlord would be a clean, respectable person who pays their rent on time for long-term tenancies. Unfortunately, terrible tenants are just as common as great ones, hence why all landlords need to know what to do when dealing with such people.
Chances are if you are reading this you are either yet to experience a bad tenant but planning for contingency, are currently dealing with one and wish to minimise the damage, or you are at your wit’s end and need to know how to get rid of your bad tenants. No matter your situation, we have the best tips for dealing with difficult tenants.
If You Want To Avoid Them
Perhaps you are a lucky landlord who is early on in your rental business and is yet to face the stress of difficult tenants. Laying down the right foundations to minimise the impact of bad tenants is crucial to avoid wasted time and money. Whilst we can’t guarantee the avoidance of bad tenants, we can take primary measures to avoid them, and make expectations clear even before their tenancy :
Make Communication Clear
Before your tenants even inhabit your properties, you should make sure that you have laid down all the laws. By this we mean not only should you write down all of the policies of the home within the contract, but you should also say it to them face to face to make your points as clear as possible. Ideally, all tenants would read through their contracts, but that, unfortunately, does not happen. For example, if you want to avoid any noise complaints from neighbours, write in the contract that you expect no student parties, as well as let them know in person.
The way you communicate your points to tenants is just as important as the words that are said. Come from an understanding perspective, and let them know we all make mistakes. Tenants should also feel like they can come to you when they have a problem with the property, so avoid being too unapproachable, as you might find multiple breakages once the tenants leave.
Invest In Tenant Screening
You can never truly know who you are dealing with, but a tenant screening might help. Screenings are effectively carried out to show the landlord what a tenant’s rental history is. If the tenant has caused problems for other landlords, you are more than likely going to find what you need there. Steer clear of tenants that have a history of causing problems and also missing payments.
Hire A Property Manager
If you wish to alleviate some of the stress involved with being a landlord, it might be worth hiring a property manager. Essentially property managers exist to handle things such as marketing your property to renters, carrying out screenings for tenants and many more services should you require them. If you are a first-time landlord, you might be unsure as to how to choose a valuable tenant. property managers have the experience to back themselves making them reliable for the role of choosing great tenants, so if you wish to avoid the hassle of bad tenants hiring a reliable management team might just do the job.
If You Currently Have One
If you have a difficult tenant currently, you should be taking all the necessary steps to diffuse any tension and limit the damage they are causing.
When dealing with tenants that are knowingly causing problems, you must remember to stay calm. Letting your emotions get in the way can lead to a bigger problem, especially if you give tenants something to hold against you. Treat the tenants like difficult customers, professionally deal with them, and if they still do not comply you should take things further.
Remind Them Of Their Contract
Some tenants seem to forget the rules that were placed when the initial tenancy was agreed upon. If necessary, remind the tenants of what is stated in the contract, Possibly even provide them with a copy. This can act as a warning to difficult tenants, as you are reminding them that they signed the contract under the conditions you set, which they are therefore going against by breaking rules.
Give Them Three Strikes
It is not uncommon for tenants to unknowingly break the rules, but if you catch them doing something more than once you should take it as a warning that they are not prepared to comply. For example, if you have informed tenants of strictly no smoking inside, and you catch them three times upon inspection, you should take things further. Such behaviours are not only signs that they will break further agreements, but they are also knowingly causing irreversible damage to your property. Three times is the charm as they say.
If You Want Them Gone
If you have reached breaking point, it would be the right time to try and get your difficult tenants out of the property.
Ask Them To Leave
This might seem obvious to some, but when evicting tenants on bad terms they do not always want to voluntarily leave. Besides the point, it is always worth asking them to leave to see if you can avoid the costly evicting process. Write a written notice for them to leave first, and wait for their response.
If your tenants are refusing to leave your property voluntarily, it is important to have sufficient evidence of their misdemeanour and contract-breaking behaviours. Assuming that you have taken all the correct measures up to this point, you should have evidence of the contracts, their signatures, and evidence of their lack of compliance. This might be text messages or written statements about what has been communicated.
Begin The Eviction
Evicting tenants can come at a high cost, with lots of time and money required to finalise the process. It would be worth seeking the appropriate landlord legal advice to confirm exactly what steps must be taken depending on the policies in your geographical location. In many areas, you are likely to have favourable support if your tenant has missed payments, failed to move out after their contract completion, or if they broke the terms of the lease.
Overall, terrible tenants are something that all landlords wish to avoid, but many still have to face them. Having the correct support and contingencies in place is essential if you wish to minimise the potential damage that is a direct result of bad tenants.