Irate Tenant = Calm Landlord/PM

2 Replies

A few months ago I dealt with an irate tenant. He was upset when I informed him of a $50 increase when his mom stayed longer than our agreed time-frame. His mother was suppose to stay for a month while looking for another place. Once the month was up and a few days past with no update I promptly texted and informed him about the rent increase.

My tenant wanted to discuss it with me which led to him yelling and banging his fist the moment I saw him. He called me money hungry and unfair. I calmly told him once he's ready to talk to me calmly we can discuss the issue as grown men and I walked away. A few minutes later he called me back for another attempt to talk. I agreed and asked for an apology when I saw him to which he complied. After reviewing the lease agreement with him again, he reluctantly agreed to pay the $50 and an addendum was added for his mother.

I learned that anger management is quite helpful in any business especially in real estate.  

When dealing with an irate tenant, remember this 3 step system for staying calm:

  • Anger = Stupid -> Understand that anger makes you dumb. It stops you from thinking clearly and you start acting/talking without thinking.
  • Anger = Defeat -> The moment I lose my tempter, I already lost. Staying calm helps me listen and understand my tenant but also helps me stay in control of my emotions and stay focus.
  • Talk Slowly & Observe -> As tension rises, I slow down and observed the situation. First by letting my tenant know I wasn't going to accept him yelling at me. Second by politely asking for an apology. Lastly, once he was calm, we address his problem of the increase rent. Rather than stoop to his level and yell back at him for trying to pull a fast one on me, I simply looked at him and think. Rather than react to his words, I observed the situation. The faster my tenant talks, the slower I responded. I was an objective observer as oppose to a combatant. I was in control of my actions, not my tenant. I control my emotions, not him. The more frustrated my tenant got, the calmer I was in which he defeated himself. 

Two days ago my tenant just asked for a decrease in rent by $100 since his lease is almost up. I expect him to go back to old habits when we discuss this but one thing is for sure, I'm staying calm and cool no matter what. 

Please share your tips on how you deal with an irate tenant. 

I try not to have them ;)  I rent to people who I don't believe will become problematic. If I get any kind of vibe of aggressiveness, hostility, difficulty or any other trait that makes me not want to interact with a person, it's unlikely I will rent to that person.

Given that, sometimes things happen. If you listen, and you have reasonable tenants in the first place, there's a pretty good chance they are irate either because of something you did, or did not do, or one of your representatives (contractor, PM, etc) did or did not do. If it's something I did, I apologize, and if it's something one of my reps did, I apologize. If it's something I did not do (i.e. get X done by X date), I apologize. 

Accepting responsibility for actions diffuses most situations. If the tenant is at fault, then I make sure not to accept their responsibility, but I can usually figure out a way to deal with the situation and let them save face. 

This is a very important lesson when dealing with irate tenants and just people in general.  Thank you for sharing it!  Everyone needs to blow some steam off but doing it while interacting with others is not the best time for it. Always look for other ways , on your own time, to burn off that stress.  That's what I would do.

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