How to Deal with Problem Tenants: Keeping to YOUR Agenda

How to Deal with Problem Tenants: Keeping to YOUR Agenda

2 min read
Peter Giardini Read More

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What if your tenants aren’t on your agenda?  What if your tenant(s) fight you at every turn: paying rent late, always complaining about the condition of the property, involving friends and relatives to pressure you, and so on?

What do you do in these and other situations to get them back on the wagon?

It always amazes me at the number of landlords who are constantly challenged by problem tenants.  Sometimes it’s just one tenant and other times it seems that it is all of them — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

First let me say that I know that some tenants just should not be your, or any landlord’s tenants.  They are constantly a pain and they seem to enjoy the entire process of making your life miserable.  This article is not intended to address these professional tenants, but rather those who can “trained” to become at the very least, decent tenants.

The key to keeping tenants on “your” agenda is to ensure that they know what your agenda is, and that you will enforce it at every opportunity.  That said, the first opportunity to enforce your agenda with your tenant screening and selection process.

I have discussed the screening and selection process in other articles, so I will keep this part short — Have a screening and selection process and follow it.  Period!

Once a tenant has moved in, it is essential to make sure they are trained to ensure they know what your agenda is and that you intend to enforce it.

Tenant Trouble Areas

Late Rent: You must ensure that your tenant knows you mean business when it comes to late rent.  On the first day that the rent is late you must take all of the actions afforded to you by your lease and the municipality you live in, and make sure you tenant knows you took those actions.  In addition, now is a good time to schedule a safe and clean inspection to get into the property and to let the tenants know you aren’t going to disappear.

Maintenance Issues: Correcting maintenance issues is your responsibility even if the tenants are responsible for the damage.  Where this becomes tricky is when a tenant starts playing games regarding your access to not only inspect the property, but to perform the maintenance.  Once a tenant moves to this position you have to recognize that they are moving off of your agenda and onto theirs.  Don’t let them do it.  Your lease is your guide here.  It should clearly state how and when you can enter your property and what notifications are required. 

I have written several articles about how to proceed once in property, but here are a few tidbits:

  • Never enter when just children are present.
  • Be prepared to video tape everything.
  • Never let interactions with the tenant become heated.
  • Don’t be afraid to call the police if you feel threatened.
  • Deal only with the individuals who are on the lease; boyfriends, mothers, fathers, sisters, etc., do not get a vote, nor should you have any discussions with them. 
  • Schedule your entry date and time, show up, complete the inspection/perform the maintenance, document everything and move on.

    Government Assisted Tenants: It could actually work to your advantage when a tenant is getting rent assistance.  If a tenant is giving you a hard time, document everything, request a hearing, show up, present your case, and more than likely the tenant will get the message.

    The key to keeping tenants on your agenda is to have rules, ensure your tenant knows what they are, and then enforce them. 

    Good Luck!