In a perfect world, all tenants are angels who keep a clean house and pay rent on time. But we don’t live in a perfect world, and as a property manager, you will come across difficult tenants throughout your career.
While there certainly is no way to avoid difficult tenants, it is best to know how to deal with them professionally and rationally according to the situation they will present.
1. When tenants pay late
Rent arrears are the most common problem a property manager has to deal with in his or her rent roll. The best way to deal with late payers is to be firm when it comes to the consequences of their actions, including payment of late fees (as applicable to your country/state's laws and regulations). Once you allow a tenant some leeway, they can take advantage and do it again. Modern tools now allow for automated arrears notices so tenants are reminded of their responsibilities as they become due, saving you from unnecessary stress.
2. When tenants leave without paying
We’ve all heard stories of a tenant who stealthily leaves a property in the middle of the night due to unpaid dues. It happens. The best way to address this problem is to be aware of your state’s laws on abandoned property and gather evidence to help support your claim. Be sure to document the whole process and to report the delinquent tenant to credit agencies and tenant databases like TICA to prevent recurring incidents.
3. When tenants make frivolous complaints
A good reason to be knowledgeable about national and state property laws is to deal with tenants who make ridiculous claims and threatens you with a lawsuit. They can be quite a nuisance, but when you have a good hold of the law, you can explain things to them calmly and professionally. Always make sure your communications are recorded and that you strictly follow established rules and procedures in dealing with tenants.
4. When tenants don't take care of the property
Be mindful of the details of the lease agreement when it comes to property damages or improvements. Usually, a property must be left in the condition it was in before the tenants moved in aside from the normal wear and tear over the tenancy period. Make sure your tenants confirm any damage or unapproved improvements that you reported and always have a copy for your records. It is also necessary to carry out routine inspections to address any problem early on, making use of modern inspection tools that allow you to take photos directly from your phone and into your report.
5. When tenants are lawbreakers
If your tenant does illegal activities in your managed property, it goes without saying that you should alert authorities immediately. If they are capable of doing criminally incriminating acts, they certainly are on their way to causing you more problems sooner rather than later. While eviction seems to be the most sensible thing to do once your tenants are arrested, it is always best to consult with a lawyer first to make sure you are doing things legally and not violating any human rights.
Dealing with difficult tenants can be quite an ordeal, but with the right knowledge and tools you can go through it systematically and with transparency to prevent any further problems.