Trouble tenants, while rare, are a landlord’s worst nightmare. Some purposely miss out on months of rent while others may engage in illegal or dangerous activities that put your property in jeopardy. If you’re dealing with a difficult tenant right now, don’t panic! Remember that you still have your rights as a landlord, and there are different agencies you can come to for help to deal with the issue.
The following are some of the effective ways you can deal with your tenant problem.
Take a Step Back
Dealing with tenant issues is surely frustrating. However, you shouldn’t take your frustrations out on them by consistently knocking on their door to collect rent or calling their phone again and again to get a chance to talk about the situation. It’s still their right to live in peace, even if they are in the wrong. You might end up with a case against you if you don’t honour that right. Calm down and think of objective steps to solve the issue.
Always Keep Official Records
Keep a ledger, whether physical or digital, of your tenant’s rental payment schedule. Always keep this updated with relevant data: Did the tenant pay the full or partial amount? When was their last payment? Jot down the reference number of the cheque or digital transfer they sent, if possible. If there are problems with the property, take pictures of them and note them in an official document. This way, you’ll have evidence to counteract any disputes your tenants may have about your possible accusations towards them.
Kill Them with Kindness
It’s possible to build a good relationship even with difficult tenants. Be a landlord that responds fast to enquiries and requests. And if they fall behind on their payment for the first time, try and sympathize with them. Ask them why they can’t pay at the moment. If they have a valid reason, try to offer a more forgiving payment scheme while they’re still financially recovering. Your efforts will be worth it when your potentially difficult tenants finally respect your authority.
The Final Straw: Eviction
If your tenant keeps falling into arrears even if you’ve given them an easier payment scheme or you have evidence that they’ve been harming your property or other tenants, it’s time to evict them. Gather all your evidence and discuss it with your property lawyer.
Send the tenant a formal letter or their guarantor for payment. If you’ve already sent them three letters at this point, it’s time to send another one saying you’re going to take legal action if they don’t comply. You have the right, at this point, to claim possession of your rental property.
If they really don’t comply, serve them a section 8 notice, indicating that they need to move out within the next few weeks to months, depending on your preference. You may also hire a bailiff company to repossess your property. If they still don’t leave or pay rent within your specified period, take them to court. There, the judge will ask for evidence of their offences. The court may order the tenant to leave the property, pay you a specific amount, leave the property and pay you their missed rent, or stay as long as they continue to pay you rent and other conditions.
While they’re uncommon, problematic tenants are unavoidable. This is especially true if you’ve been in the rental business for years. Use these guidelines to deal with troublesome tenants. Even if you haven’t encountered one yet, it’s always better to be prepared.