Dealing With the Most Difficult Tenants: How to Do It Right

Aside from maintenance, collecting rent, and filling out empty units, handling difficult tenants is one of the biggest challenges of being a landlord. Just as there are horrible landlords, there are also terrible tenants.

These tenants are the ones who don’t pay rent on time (or refuse to pay at all), break the rules on the lease, and cause damage to your property, just to name a few examples. As a landlord, an easy solution is to hire a reputable process server to deliver the eviction notice to your problem tenants. However, evicting a tenant means you’re going to have an empty unit again, which may not be filled up by another tenant for months.

Moreover, you would need to get the unit ready again for a new occupant, meaning you have to spend more money. Before you resort to eviction, here are some of the best ways to deal with bad tenants:

1. Keep your emotions in check

It’s only natural to feel frustration and anger towards a tenant that’s making your job as a landlord difficult. However, approaching your problem tenant with a calm and collected demeanor will work better in your favor than the alternative. That said, to prevent the situation from blowing up, reign in your emotions as much as possible when approaching your tenant about the problem.

2. Communicate properly

Proper communication is one of the most powerful tools for problem-solving. For example, if a tenant has not been paying rent on time, talk to them about alternative payment schedules that would work better for them. Some tenants are afraid to approach their landlords in fear of being judged or rejected. As the person with authority over their housing situation, take the initiative to communicate with them about their issues and how you can solve them together.

3. Document everything

talking on the phone

Sometimes, nightmare tenants will try to fight with you about a charge or some other issue with the unit. Therefore, to avoid having a tenant dispute you about something, document the state of the property every time you come around for inspections. At the same time, keep written or electronic records of your exchanges in case they try to make false claims.

4. Be firm

Stick by your rules and enforce them at all times so that tenants won’t try to take advantage of you. When the rent is due, send your tenant frequent reminders so they know it’s not okay to miss a payment. When a tenant is making too much noise in their unit, swoop in and remind them of the building’s rules.

The rules are written on the lease for a reason, so don’t hesitate to reprimand tenants whenever you need to. And by doing so, you’re teaching problem tenants that their bad actions won’t have consequences.

When you’ve tried everything else to deal with bad tenants and they refuse to cooperate, try asking them to move out voluntarily. If they refuse, you can start the eviction process as your last resort. In doing so, find a good process server in your area to serve the eviction notice and help you throughout the process. Even if eviction is a more expensive route, getting rid of a bad tenant can make your job easier and help reduce your burden.

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