I just wanted to take another day to touch on how to handle bad tenants. Unfortunately, it’s likely that you will have to deal with bad tenants at some point. It will make your work very hard and actually, may cause lots of stress for you and all of your employees – whether it’s a constantly late paying renter, someone who refuses to pay, someone who is destructive to the property, or simply a pain in the butt. Not every tenant will be perfect, so it’s important to know how to cope with the decent tenants who you may not enjoy (but whom are not terrible) – for the truly bad renters though, you need to get rid of them without hurting yourself.
The most important thing is to have a lawyer that you work with – at least on a semi-regular basis. You should be on easy speaking terms, such that when a problem does arise, you can quickly get in contact with your legal counsel and figure out how to proceed in the best way. The worst thing you can possibly do in handling a bad tenant is to get in their face and ultimately violate their rights.
It’s quite possible that with simple application of legal process, you can turn a bad situation around really quick. For example, when you have a tenant that refuses to pay rent, a formal legal notice can be enough to jar people back into reality (as opposed to one that is not obviously crafted by a lawyer)..
The discussion of handling a bad tenant ultimately leads to eviction – which is a last resort solution. We will discuss eviction more tomorrow. The purpose of bringing legal counsel in sooner is to both assure you are following all legal processes and to provide some potential extra kick in the pants to tenants who may need it.
If you are dealing with a tenant that is being physically destructive to the property, outright refusing to pay rent, or otherwise violating their lease agreement in a blatant manner – for example, smoking in the apartment when no smoking is allowed, or constantly playing really loud music at 1 in the morning and disturbing neighbors.
In those situations it is best to discuss with the tenant before pursuing direct legal action (such as eviction) – a lawyer can still be helpful in this process. If you find grabbing a lawyer whenever you have a bad tenant is a costly measure, consider the harm you can cause your business if you inadvertently violate your tenant’s rights.
It is unfortunate, but many property managers will accidentally step into a bad situation by trying to handle bad tenants alone. The best guidelines for you to take are that you should treat your bad tenants the same way that you treat your good tenants. Don’t enter their property/unit (even if they haven’t paid rent) without their written permission (signed). Don’t badger them for money. All these things we will cover tomorrow when it comes to evictions – but the key is to treat people like people, even if they are destroying your business. Consult legal assistance as soon as possible, and don’t be hasty in your decisions.