Easy Tips to Deal with Problem Tenants

Dealing with problem tenants

Landlords and property managers deal with tenant problems nearly every day. Some tenants prove to be too troublesome, whether it’s missed rent, damage to the property, or noise complaints.

The best way to deal with problem tenants is to use a thorough screening system to filter out the bad apples. Your property manager should help you run a background check on all new tenants to scout for any red flags. This can eliminate most of your problems, but you may still have to deal with unforeseen circumstances.

For the most part, you can use the security deposit to pay for the cost of any damages caused by the tenant. It also helps to learn about the main types of problem tenants and how to deal with them.

Late Payments

This is a major problem that can affect your bottom line. A good way to fix this is to make it absolutely clear that late payments will not be tolerated. Even still, you may have to deal with partial or non-existent payments every now and then.

In these situations, it is best to be firm and resolute with the tenant. Your lease should have provisions for any consequences associated with late payments. A common approach is to impose a penalty fee for the late rent (but this should be indicated in the lease agreement). Late fees should be based on a reasonable percentage of the rental fee (usually 10 percent).

If you notice that your tenants are frequently running into problems with payments, make sure to talk it out with them and learn why. Sometimes, it’s okay to make a few exceptions. Perhaps their payday does not line up with the rent’s due date. But if nothing else works, you could issue a written notice that warns tenants that they must move out unless they pay within a specified time.

Property Damage

Another common problem with tenants is property damage. This includes damage due to negligence, abuse, and unapproved improvements.

A good way to keep track of property damage is to keep move-in and move-out checklists. Your property manager will help you take pictures of the rental unit before the tenant moves in. This will help you gauge the extent of damage and the proportional amount that should be charged for repairs.

Make sure to check in with local laws before deducting any amount from the tenant’s security deposit. You may be required to obtain a quote from a third-party contractor.

Unapproved Subletting

Subletting can be illegal if your lease agreement doesn’t allow it. These days, many tenants find it convenient to pass on rental units to other people for short-term vacations.

Most landlords do not approve of strangers living in their property without their prior permission. These guests typically don’t go through any screening process.

Speak to a legal expert in your area or your property manager about unapproved roommates, long-term guests, and subletting. The safest way to deal with this problem is to draft an airtight lease that prohibits any type of subletting.

Tenants Complainingall the Time

You can’t please them all. Some tenants just don’t like their current living arrangements no matter what you do. They’ll complain that something isn’t working and ask you for costly repairs. Your property manager should know where to draw the line. Some tenants would go out of their way to flood your phone with calls and messages for outrageous demands.

You can overcome this problem by using a combination of preventive maintenance and regular inspections. Although you are obliged to make your rental unit habitable, you are under no obligation to help out with every small issue.

Those Who Break Your Rules

There are many rules that tenants must follow if they want to continue using the rental unit. Signing the lease means they are also required by law to abide by the rules or risk getting evicted. These rules may include the following:

  • No pet policy
  • Getting drunk in the rental unit
  • Engaging in illegal practices
  • Causing too much noise

If you fear that your tenants are breaking the law or endangering the lives of your neighbors, it’s important to call the police.