It does not take a genius to realize that the relationship between landlords and tenants can sometimes become strained. In fact there have been times when tenants have managed to get me so riled up that I am willing to pull my hair out just to end the frustration — and, I don’t have a lot of hair left.
With my keen understanding of the potential dynamic that exists in every tenant landlord relationship I am still amazed at some of the really dumb things landlords will do to “get on up” on their tenants.
Can you imagine placing a sign over a tenants door essentially claiming that she is a prostitute? Well… I couldn’t until I read this article: Landlord harassed woman by posting ‘no prostitution’ sign, panel finds.
I have to admit that I was laughing my behind off, and I have lots of that to laugh off when I read about the landlords actions. I would venture a guess however that the landlord wasn’t laughing when he was found guilty of harassing his tenant by his actions. This one definitely falls within the category of Stupid Landlord Tricks!
So, what lessons other than the obvious, can be drawn from what is presented in this article?
Here are a few of my thoughts…
Remember the landlord/tenant relationship is governed by your lease. Make sure it protects you while at the same time giving you the rights you need to properly manage your rentals.
A couple of key tips to avoid problems with tenants like this include:
- Clear delineation of your rights of enter and the notification process for those entries.
- Tenants rights and responsibilities regarding parking spacing, their use and the consequences of not following the requirements of the lease.
- Avoid paying for the heat at all costs. As described in the article, the tenant claimed to have the windows open when the heat was on just to “aggravate” the landlord. If you have to pay for the heat as part of the lease put thermostat limiters on the unit(s) to limit tenant abuses like those described in the article.
- Don’t, I repeat DON’T allow situations like these to escalate verbally. Once you see that things are becoming difficult with a tenant shift all communications to either letters or emails and be sure to save both. If things really start to get challenging, start to send letters via first class and certified mail return receipt requested.
It is a rare landlord who will not find themselves in trying circumstances with a tenant at some point in their career. Your responsibility as the landlord is handle these situations professionally and not put yourself in a position where you make the local paper, get big fines or end up in jail!