In property management, problem tenants are an unpleasant but almost inevitable part of life. Many problem tenants target small landlords who may be more flexible. Or perhaps they never intended to become a problem tenant but now it’s too late and they have to get creative. Whatever the case, it’s important to have a plan in place for when problems occur.

Tenants That Refuse to Pay Rent

There are many reasons why a tenant may be late to pay their rent. However, no matter what their reasoning, it’s important to treat each tenant equally. Make it clear during the lease signing that there are no leeway about late payment penalties. When the tardiness of the rent payment reaches a point where your lease states action will be taken within a few days, call the tenant or send them an email. When the day comes, take action with a Non Payment of Rent Notice with a specific timetable to either pay or leave.

Bad Tenants are Getting Around Your Screening System

Simple credit checks might not sufficiently reveal everything you need to know in order to reveal prior tenant problems. Adding a few more steps could be all you need to cut down on problem tenants. Conduct a background check that includes screening to verify employment and rental histories, credit checks, and interviews. Ask for a completed application upon showing them the property, otherwise you could leave them time to fabricate false histories and recruit family members or friends to portray previous landlords and employers. Speaking of which, be sure to speak with past landlords and their current supervisor to find out what kind of renter and person they are and find out if they’ll be a good tenant.

Tenants Causing Property Damage

If a tenant does damage to your property, you’ll want to request in writing that the tenant addresses it and keep a copy for your records. If it’s something the tenant can’t or won’t fix on their own, you can have your own maintenance people do the job, then send the bill to your tenant. Your lease should clearly give you the right to do this in case of damage beyond normal wear and tear. Be sure to do routine inspections of the property so you can find damage that the tenant may not tell you about. If the tenant either won’t fix the damage or pay to have it fixed, you have the ground to kick them out with a “Cure or Quit” notice if your lease allows. 

Don’t Hesitate To Evict

Many landlords are hesitant to evict their tenants, wanting to be reasonable and give them second chances. However, this will simply cause more problems and create a bigger headache for you. If you’ve tried hard to work things out and can’t or the tenant has engaged in illegal activities, it’s time to start the legal proceedings to execute an eviction. First, serve notice based on the time regulations in your area. Specify the number of days the tenant has to comply. Contact an attorney that specializes in evictions and let them guide the proceedings through the regular court systems. By now, you should have accumulated as much evidence as possible of the reasons for the eviction in case you have to present them to the court.