If you have no clue how to describe a problem tenant, you’re a lucky landlord. Dealing with difficult renters can be a landlord’s worst nightmare. Bad tenants have been known to do everything from refusing to pay rent on time, damaging appliances and furniture, moving in roommates without permission, complaining about each and every minor issue, or even conducting criminal activity in the rental. If all these behaviors belong to one and the same tenant, that’s a disaster. But if a tenant was late with the rent one time, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re a terrible renter. Don’t jump the gun. Instead, carefully analyze the circumstances first.
Should you run into a bad tenant, don’t get desperate - take into account these five tips:
1. Confidence is just what the doctor ordered.
Difficult tenants can undermine a landlord’s trust and create the illusion that all the renters are evil and unreliable. This is far from the truth. If you’ve once happened to deal with a troublesome resident, it doesn’t mean the same scenario will repeat itself. Stay confident and objective and don’t let emotions take over your rationality. The ability to think reasonably under pressure and remain calm when it comes to arguments is what every landlord and property manager should develop. Believe us!
2. Clear communication is key.
Professional communication tactics are vital when handling difficult tenants. Effective and constructive dialogues prevent misunderstandings and awkward situations caused by tenant-related issues. For instance, tenants might ask you to postpone a due date or waive late fees. That’s a pretty common situation, but if you’ve noticed that some renters start misusing your kindness or are constantly breaching the lease terms, discuss the matter first. A non-communication strategy isn’t beneficial at all. Keep in mind that tenants might have experienced certain difficulties with their previous landlord, which is why they feel insecure and suspicious towards you. Perhaps they’ve been illegally evicted or tricked by a property manager. Unfortunately, such things happen. It’s important that you understand that your main task is to treat your renters with respect, provide good living conditions, and try to take actions immediately.
3. Establish effective strategies for dealing with difficult people.
If you’ve developed effective methods of dealing with difficult people in general, you’re more likely to succeed when handling problematic tenants. Try the following and you’ll be a step ahead when it comes to daily interactions with others:
- Don’t take it too personally. Yes, people might have claims against your attitude or actions, but without analysis it’s hard to understand what lies behind their apparent displeasure. A person may simply be angry about other circumstances that have nothing to do with you.
- Stay aware of people’s intentions. When it comes to difficult people, try to understand the reasons for their behaviour as well as their background. It’ll be easier for you to understand the intentions implied by their actions.
- Be calm no matter what and focus more on solutions than problems. There are people who will always complain about every minor issue. A broken dishwasher might drive them crazy. Complaining is their way of expressing emotion and sharing their displeasure. Either way, returning anger with anger is a bad strategy.
4. Screening reports will come in handy.
The “trust but verify” approach should be applied if keeping lasting business relationships is your priority. To prevent yourself from moving in bad renters, run background and credit checks on your potential renters. That’s an easy and effective way to know who you’re allowing in your rental property, since you need to be sure you’re dealing with responsible and reliable tenants.
5. Written policy.
Keep records of all documents you share with your tenants, no matter if it’s a trivial conversation regarding maintenance issues or a residential lease agreement. It would be even better to require an E-sign from tenants when moving them in. Problem tenants often disregard property rules and lease terms and condition, so show zero tolerance towards missed payments or illegal activities for security and safety reasons.
How would you describe a problem tenant? Have you ever had to deal with difficult renters? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.:)