Bad Tenants. Every landlord, property manager or community association has had one. They get constant complaints from neighbors, they lie and argue, they trash the property, they don't pay rent on time… whatever it is, bad tenants can be really difficult to deal with. One of the best ways of managing a bad tenant is to try to avoid them all together. You may not always be able to do this, but taking a few simple measures can go a long way in decreasing your chances of having to deal with an awful tenant.
We've compiled a list of tips to help you avoid and manage bad tenants:
- Screen: Screening is the best way to avoid a problem before it starts. Simple screens will help you weed out tenants who will likely cause issues in the future. Do background and credit checks, call previous landlords and references, conduct an interview and verify their income. You don't want to get to the last step of renting out your property just to realize you wasted your time because the potential tenant doesn't have the income to afford the monthly rent.
- Write it down: Make sure the lease includes EVERYTHING. Arguing over whether or not something is allowed is a pain, so it's best to spell it all out before hand. Give the tenant a list of rules and make sure they have a written copy of what they can and can't do. It's not enough to tell a tenant they can't have a pet, it needs to be clearly stated in writing. Have a qualified lawyer create a watertight lease to make sure that it will hold up in the event it is put into question.
- Be strict: Don't be afraid to scare your tenant a bit. Being strict will make it more likely that the tenant follows your rules. If rent is due on the first, don't let them pay it on the 15th. Most places offer a grace period of a few days before issuing a late fee. Some properties will waive the first late fee, but make sure that you don't get too lax. The last thing you want is to have to deal with getting the full rent on time each and every month.
- Address issues: If there is an issue, no matter how small, address it. If you start letting the small things go, you may be setting yourself up for disaster. The tenant may start breaking bigger rules and causing you problem after problem. You want to have open communication with your tenant. Give them a chance to change their behavior, and if they don't, then give them a final warning before taking serious measures. Many tenants will react to warnings and if they don't, you probably don't want them living on your property.
- If all else fails, get rid of the problem: If you've done all you can to avoid bad tenants and you still are having continuous issues with one, get rid of them. It's not worth the headache to let them stay and then have to deal with problems month after month. Some places offer “cash for keys,” in which they pay the tenant to leave. This may sound like something you don't want to do, but sometimes it's worth it in the long run. If you need to evict the tenant, do it quickly and make sure you hire a qualified lawyer.
In a perfect world, all tenants would be wonderful. They would pay rent on time, all their neighbors would love them and they would move out of the property leaving it just as good as, or better than, when they moved in. In a realistic world, this doesn't happen. Whether it's your tenant or just your neighbor, we've probably all had an experience with a bad tenant. While you can't avoid every problem that may arise, these tips will aid you in managing those tenants that make your job much harder than it should be.
Fore more information on how to protect yourself and your community association, contact PeytonBolin at 877-PEYTONB.