I have been in the landlording biz for over 10 years now. After you are in the business for a while you start to notice trends and patterns. You begin to acquire that wonderful thing called experience. One thing that my experience has taught me is that generally, it is only 10% of your tenants that will cause you 90% of your problems.
Let’s think about the problems we landlords have.
- Tenants not paying rent.
- Tenants paying their rent late.
- Tenants causing problems for other tenants (ex, loud music).
- Tenants not taking care of your property.
If you look at and think about this list, you might say it kind of sums things up. If every tenant paid their rent on time, was courteous to their neighbors and took care of your property, this landlording thing would be a breeze. But we know better don’t we.
Related: Tenant Screening: The Ultimate Guide
Proper screening will weed out most of the bad apples. Once you review their credit, criminal and job histories you can usually tell which ones will be nothing but problems. But no matter what, some always get through or take a turn for the worse later on. No one can really see a layoff or a serious accident coming. So I guess there will always be some of these issues.
Why Does this Happen?
But what about the ones that got through the screening? What went wrong? Here are a few thoughts.
- They got through because I eased up on my standards. Perhaps I was a bit desperate to rent the property. Perhaps I was naïve or inexperienced. Whatever the reason, I have learned not to relax my screening standards. It is a slippery slope.
- I eased up on my policies. Perhaps I was not firm enough the first time they were late with the rent. Maybe I was not forceful enough when another tenant complained about loud music. Again, I discovered that not enforcing rules and policies is a slippery slope.
- I did not do inspections. And because I did not, I was not aware my property was being trashed, that I had a really messy person causing that bug problem. Doing regular inspections alerts you to potential problems and issues before they become major problems and issues.
Perhaps I should be happy with just 10%. But of course I want to do better. The answer to reducing that 10% seems to be to be more vigilant in screening, enforcing the rules and conducting inspections. Landlords need to be proactive at every level of their business, especially before a tenant moves in and while they are living in your property.
So what do you other landlords think? Are 90% of your problems caused by the same 10% of your tenants? Share your thoughts and stories with your comments.