5 Symptoms of a Bad Tenant: How to Deal with them the Right Way
When you rent property, you hope to find the most respectful individuals to tenant the premises. With the right tenant, your property will be maintained and treated with care, so that you don’t have to worry about potential costly repairs in the future. But even after the screening processes you have used to assess the tenant, they may show a side you never thought possible, and you may not know how best to deal when trouble starts brewing. At A Creative Property Management, we have been managing properties since 1980, and have met and dealt with every manner of tenant. Sometimes things don’t always work out the way we hope they will, and if you face this unfortunate circumstance, we want you to know how best to handle the situation.
1. A Tenant Disrupts Neighbors Regularly
If you have a tenant bothering their fellow tenants, odds are you will hear about it from the offended neighbor. Sometimes the disruptive tenant may blast music at all hours, throw loud parties and/or stomp around in their apartment, or they may be rude and disrespectful to their neighbors in passing. It may mean this tenant is a big liability for you. If the neighbors are annoyed or don’t feel safe around this person, that can reflect poorly on you as the property owner.
How to Deal:
Only step in when necessary. See if the tenants can resolve their differences among themselves. If this doesn’t resolve the problem and you need to get involved, you will need to respectfully ask the problem tenant to start respecting their neighbors and the property. Ideally they will take the hint and calm down.
2. Tenant Refuses to Pay Rent
This is unfortunately a common problem in any rented property. The tenant may not have the funds to pay the rent on time for many reasons, but if they refuse to pay rent altogether, this is obviously a case that is grounds for eviction.
How to Deal:
Being able to effectively communicate with the tenant is key. Try to understand exactly why it is that they are withholding rent. Explain to them your particular policy regarding late rent fees and processes, and how you gave them a copy of the rules as listed on their rental agreement. There should also be a clause about eviction procedures should they continue to refuse to pay rent.
3. Keeping a Pet on a “No Pet” Property
As an example, let’s say your building has a strict “no dog” policy. As the property owner/manager, this is something you would have stated on the rental agreement, a copy of which the tenant has. When you find a tenant has abused this rule and is in fact keeping a dog on the property, this can be a big problem for you in many ways – the animal may destroy the property, may bark during the night and disrupt neighbors, or even bite another tenant, all for which you may be responsible.
How to Deal:
When you find the tenant has violated a rule such as your “no dog” policy, you simply have to explain the situation to the tenant. Always refer to the rental agreement, and give them a window of time to either give the dog to a family member or friend living off the property, or the tenant will have to vacate the property.
4. They are Smoking in Your Smoke-Free Property
Whether you own a large or small apartment building or a single-family home, the sign that someone is smoking indoors when they are prohibited from doing so should be pretty apparent from the smell and possible appearance of smoke. Like the previously listed symptom, this blatant rule breaking cannot be tolerated.
How to Deal:
If the lease agreement states that smoking is not allowed on the property, and the tenant signed it, then all you should have to do is remind them of this rule and they should know enough to stop. If you did not express a smoking ban on the agreement, then there is not much you can do except ask the tenant to smoke in designated areas only, and hope they abide.
5. The Tenant Destroys Property on Purpose
If you discover that a problematic tenant has purposefully destroyed parts of your property, be it the furnishings or the structure of the home, you may feel stressed and upset. This can be a scary situation to face, so be sure you never confront an enraged tenant, as you may not know if they are under the influence of substances or if they may react violently per their nature.
How to Deal:
If you discover that, for whatever reason, a tenant has destroyed parts of your property, you must ensure you have a copy of their signed lease agreement stating that damages made by the tenant will be paid for by that individual. Take photos as documentation of destroyed property. If need be, you may have to file paperwork with the police and take this individual to court should they refuse to pay you for the damage incurred under their tenancy.
Eviction is the last process you want to go through, no doubt, both for the tenant and for yourself. Be sure that no matter what the possible problem tenant may be doing, keep detailed notes every step of the way as a form of documentation. And always do your best to stay calm, even in the most stressful of moments. If you want a professional property management team on your side, contact us at A Creative Property Management and find out all the ways we can serve you.