Bad Tenants and How to Deal with Them

A lot of times being a landlord is a great way of life. You invest in property, and rent it out for passive income for as long as you can keep up with it. However, at some point during your tenure you’re going to end up with bad tenants. Bad tenants are the nightmare of every landlord, and handling them the wrong way can cost you a fortune. With these methods, you can learn how to minimize your chances of getting a bad tenant, and how to deal with them when you do.

As a general strategy, you want to save evictions as an item of last resort for dealing with most kinds of bad tenants. The eviction process is long and hard, and will no-doubt cost you a lot of money in legal fees. Usually, it’s better to find an alternative solution that’s better for all parties, but keep the option on the table for an eviction.

Home Modifications and Property Damage

One of the more unfortunate kinds of tenants one can be forced to deal with is those who willingly damage the property, or take it upon themselves to make unapproved changes. Before renting a property, take pictures with date and time stamps, and do this again upon the tenant leaving. Collecting this information is important for court cases as proof of the damage caused.

Some tenants may try and do their own modifications to personalize or “improve” the property. It should be in your lease that the home needs to be left in the same condition it was in when it was moved into. Regardless, some will argue they didn’t hurt the home with their changes, you can still make them correct these changes on their own, or charge them for damages.

Non-Paying Renters

The most common kind of issue you will run into as a landlord is non-paying renters. While it can be frustrating, a landlord must carefully proceed in dealing with non-payers. Firmness is a must, as renters will take advantage of you if there’s no repercussions for late or missing payments. A renter might withhold a payment as a form of retaliation for neglect from the landlord. What you should do will depend greatly on the context of the situation, however.

In many cases, payments might come late or not come at all due to unemployment or impeded cash flow on the part of the renter. It’s possible to renegotiate a payment plan or offer to move a tenant into a smaller downgraded property in the case they’ve been an otherwise good, responsible customer.

If the renter is upset with the property for some reason, make sure you listen to their issues and work to communicate with them. Regardless, it’s important not to go easy on people and have them scam you out of payments

It can’t be exaggerated what the legal fees of an eviction can cost, so it’s best to proceed though issues such as this with a calm head. But when all else fails, an eviction may be your only option for removing individuals like this.

Tenants Conducting Crime on your Property

Sometimes even in cases where you’ve done background checks and have a thorough screening process, a tenant will conduct illegal activities while occupying your property. Drugs, violence, and public drunkenness are all common issues you might run into. The first thing you should do is report the crimes and have them arrested by the proper authorities.

An arrest won’t nullify their occupation of the property, but at this point it’s best to proceed with an eviction. Criminal activity while in the property should not be tolerated and is guaranteed to cost you, so in this situation consulting with a lawyer and proceeding with an eviction sooner is likely the better option.

Breaking the Terms of your Lease

Another possible trouble maker you’ll run into is someone breaking the rules of your lease. For example, if you forbade pets within the property, and you find evidence the renter has brought in a pet, send them a letter informing them of the violation, and the time they have to correct the disturbance or face eviction. You may still want to consider negotiating to amend the lease in return for higher rent to compensate for possible damages, but that will depend on the nuances of the situation.

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