If one has been a landlord or property manager for any amount of time, there is a good chance you have had issues dealing with a difficult tenant. Count yourself lucky if you have yet to have an issue. It is no easy task managing problematic renters.
There are no easy solutions for dealing with a difficult tenant. They exist in every economic class, profession, and background. Many start as very friendly, charismatic, and with great personalities. None of this matters. When a person you trusted with your property becomes difficult, the stress and anxiety are high.
No one can ever claim to know all the answers for dealing with a difficult tenant. Individuals are unique, and solutions may need personalization. However, there is a collective experience to draw from. With this in mind, we are presenting several effective strategies for dealing with a difficult tenant.
The best way to handle a troublesome and tricky renter is not dealing with them in the first place. The biggest mistake made by landlords and property managers is not doing the upfront work to weed out issues. Make sure you always check and verify an applicant’s credit report, employment history, and rental references. One can avoid many problems with proper screening.
One should keep their attitude professional at all times. Do not allow small issues to get out of control because you lost your mind. Allow reason and logic to guide your actions. Have a system for dealing with a difficult tenant and be methodical implementing it. Consistency is essential.
Difficult renters are often master manipulators. They will play with your emotions and appeal to your good nature. Landlords need to have policies that are strict but fair. It is one thing to empathize and sympathize with your renter, but do not allow them to take advantage of you. If you give an inch, they will take a mile. Moreover, treat all tenants equally.
Ensure that you have clear policies and procedures for tenants. Provide your renters with a copy, and have them sign a statement they have received and understand how you handle issues. One must make certain renters understand they are not permitted to disrupt neighbors or other tenants, or make it difficult for you to manage the property effectively.
One must consistently maintain standards of behavior. Training your tenant means teaching them correct behavior through positive and negative reinforcement. If you accept the rent payment late, without enforcing a penalty, you are teaching them to make late payments. One must treat tenants well but must become strict when the need arises.
It is very tempting to not talk with difficult tenants. You are losing an opportunity to resolve problems amicably. Moreover, not acknowledging their point of view can exacerbate the situation. No matter how tedious things become, always respond to emails and phone calls quickly and professionally.
Always place your lease agreement and policies in writing. Every time there is an issue, document the incident in writing. with photos and videos. This will protect you if there is ever a need for legal action. In fact, thorough documentation may help you avoid going to court. Savvy renters learn the system and know your weaknesses. If you have been professional, objective, and methodical in your actions then you are well protected.
Be prepared to enforce the lease and policies quickly, and do not hesitate. The moment there is an issue, notify the tenant there has been a breach of the lease agreement. Demand they communicate with you immediately to resolve the problem. Methodically follow your enforcement policy, and move forward it the tenant misses dates to respond and/or resolve problems.
If you would like more information, or would like to talk about dealing with a difficult tenant, please contact us.