Have you ever had to evict a tenant? Well, I’m going to show you how to hopefully avoid ever having to evict someone (I’ve never done an eviction in my life).
Of course, the first thing you do is screen the crap out of your tenants to make sure a deadbeat never gets through your door. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about today. I’m going to talk about what to do when a tenant stops paying rent, because it’s happening to me right now.
The “Secret” of Dealing With People
Here’s what happened: I had a good tenant who always paid rent, even though it was usually late. Then, this month her rent check bounced. Now, before I tell you what I did, I need to tell you one of the “secrets” to success in life. The secret is to always try and treat people right, to never threaten them and to not get upset. Because when you get upset and threaten people they get defensive and nothing gets accomplished. Trust me on this one.
It’s not easy to remain calm. And I’ve lost my temper a few times, but nothing good comes of it. One time, my carpet guy was supposed to install carpet in one of my places. He was supposed to get it done earlier in the week but had kept flaking out on me. I had to have it done by Monday, and he promised me he would do it over the weekend. Well, of course it didn’t get done. So I called him and ranted on like a crazy man, threatening everything I could. I eventually did get the carpet installed, but it took even longer than it would have if I would have approached the problem in a better way.
The Right Way To Handle a Non-Paying Tenant
Here’s where I’m going with this. I know a lot of landlords call and threaten their tenants and yell and scream. However, it’s not what I did with the tenant who bounced her check on me this month. I called her up. I was extremely friendly and questioned her to what was going on. She explained that she had fallen on hard times and would not be able to make the rent payment. Then I calmly explained the seriousness of the situation, but that I had good news for her. If she would vacate the house by the end of the month and leave it in broom clean condition then our company would not come after her for the delinquent rent and we could part “friends”.
The tenant agreed, was very thankful for this and is moving out at the end of the month (I’ve used this tactic before and it always works. However, there is a lot more salesmanship involved than what I just explained).
Now, did I do this because I’m a nice guy? No. I did it because I’m a businessman. The last thing I want is some ticked off tenant who trashes my place and makes me do a formal eviction that takes weeks and months. Even though I live in Virginia which is landlord friendly (unlike many other states) it would still take weeks and I could lose several months of rent. But, this way I’ll hopefully have the place rented early next month.
Also, please don’t get “calmness” confused for “weakness”. Remember, as landlords, we are not a charity. As soon as a tenant doesn’t pay or their check bounces, you should start making arrangements to get them out of there. I was just reading a book and it was talking about people who lived in their place 18 months before being evicted. The sad thing is, I hear stories like that all of the time.
So, when it comes to a non-paying tenant, be ruthless but friendly. And if friendliness doesn’t work and you can’t get them to leave on good terms, just shoot em’………kidding.