How to Deal with Difficult Tenants
Being a landlord sure has its ups and downs. You have seemingly the best, easiest tenants most days. You’re feeling like you’ve made a great investment and you’re living the life. Until you’re not. One day it all hits the fan. You need to prepare yourself for how to deal with difficult tenants. It will happen. If you have kept a great relationship with them, it can be an easy fix. Just make sure your relationship and expectations are clear right from the start.
Be Clear From the Start
When you first met your tenants, were your expectations clear? Did you do a background check, credit check, and formal interview? This can definitely work in your favor moving forward. An interview is key to starting a healthy landlord/tenant relationship. You can easily get a good or bad vibe from an interview and determine whether it’s someone that is a good fit for the living environment you are offering. Although unforeseen circumstances can always arise, such as noisy neighbors and disagreements, it’s best to put it all out there in the beginning. Make sure they know what is expected of them and that you will do all you can (within reason) to keep them happy in their rental.
Also, make sure that they understand that this is a professional relationship. Even if you’ve known this person for ages, it does not give them the right to take advantage of your generosity. You are their landlord and they are your tenant. You can be friendly of course, but keep it professional.
Know Your Rights
Keep updated on the rights you have as a landlord in the state you are in. Some states make it very difficult to evict a bad tenant. Even when the tenant is harassing the landlord, or they are being hard to deal with. As long as they are continuing to pay and stop their annoying actions, they may be hard to actually get out. So, know your rights and their rights and stay up to date on them. If you have a tenant that has turned on you and is abusing their rights, legal action can be taken. You deserve to have a respectable tenant who pays their rent on time and takes care of their side of the deal.
Keep Your Cool
When you get a complaint from a tenant, take it seriously. Knowing how to deal with a bad tenant is key. Meet up with them and show compassion. Show that you are on their side, and that you want the problem resolved just as much as they do. Keeping your landlord/tenant relationship good is very important. Once it is clear who is to blame (them, you, another tenant, or a neighbor), be ready to take action.
- Always be professional. Keep calm at all times and keep your tone friendly. The less personal it gets, the better for everyone.
- Offer to take care of it immediately. Do your best to make a plan quickly. Just as much as you want this problem to go away, so does everyone involved.
- Understand the problem. Make sure you take the time to get all the facts. Are you just listening to your tenant complain about a neighbor? Get the neighbor’s side and compare their stories. Decide who is truly to blame and how it should be handled.
- Show your concern. If this is a normal occurrence from the same tenant regularly, show the concern that they are after and promise to address it.
Apologize. Just apologize. Even if it’s not your fault. Be the bigger man. Some bad tenants are just looking for something to complain about. If you take care of it quickly and apologize for the situation, they will have much more respect for you than if you lose your temper and place blame back on them.
Build Your Landlord/Tenant Relationship
If your tenant knows that they can come to you with a problem and you will fix it quickly and maturely, your tenant will be happy and so will you. This is a big part of knowing how to deal with difficult tenants. Or rather, hopefully stopping them from becoming difficult tenants to begin with.
You need to be clear, however, that you are here for them and that they too need to hold up their end of the deal. Keep a log of complaints and problems. If it mostly comes back to a certain tenant, you need to have a real conversation with them. Maybe they are not a great fit for your building and you could come to an agreement that would serve you both.
If the problem is with a tenant not paying rent on time, remind them that you have been holding up on your end. You address their needs and take care of everything you promise to. Don’t give them a reason to slack or not pay their rent. Keep the relationship professional and easy. Many people rent because they don’t want to have to take care of certain things (lawn, building maintenance, etc.). Keeping up with your work is just as important, as you can show them that it’s worth it to live in your dwelling.
Hire A Property Manager
If you love the idea of having rental income, yet don’t necessarily know how to deal with bad tenants, hire someone who does! A property manager can be a great resource. They can take care of the things that you don’t have the desire to take care of, yet you still reap the benefits of having an investment property. Simply removing yourself from the situation can feel like a huge weight is lifted off of your shoulders. With our tenant screening and application process, we aim to avoid difficult tenants before problems even arise. Being real estate investors ourselves, we specialize in property management services ranging from single to multi-family homes. Contact a team member and start renting your home without the hassle!