Landlord talking to tenants

Tenant Trouble: Best Practices in Dealing With a Difficult Renter

In Property Management by Bergan & Company

Every landlord, despite strict screening processes, will, at some point have to deal with a problem tenant. You might be frustrated that they’re weeks late on their rent. Your other renters might be complaining about weird smells or loud noises. Despite these annoyances, you should be rational when dealing with difficult tenants. Before you knock on their door, calm yourself and follow these simple tips.

Prevention Through Understanding

This deals more with prevention than actually dealing with an issue as it arises. When a tenant commits their first offense, try to understand their side, first. Are they having trouble paying their dues? It’s a normal thing for anyone to go through. Ask them if they’re willing to change their payment plans with you. Offer to take cuts from their security deposit to make their monthly fees easier for them to pay. If they’re willing, you could also pair them with one or two roommates with whom to share the rental property.

If your tenant is intentionally or unintentionally disturbing their neighbors, ask them why they’re doing it and come up with a compromise. For example, if they’re a musician and their practice sessions are too loud, ask them to either find a studio to rent or attach soundproofing sheets to their walls. You can also ask the complainants for suggestions by holding a forum. It’ll help start a discussion and establish common ground between your renters. Write down the minutes of that session for future reference.

Get Help from the Law

Dealing with repeat offenders will often push you to seek mediation or arbitration. When you opt for mediation, you’re asking a third party to moderate your conversations with your tenant until you work things out. Cities like Chicago, Illinois offer mediation services for free. In Centennial, Colorado, however, you’ll have to hire a private attorney.

Arbitration, on the other hand, solves disputes by having a third party hear both sides out, like mediation. The big difference is that the arbiter will make a final decision for both of you. It can be binding or non-binding. In binding arbitration, you and your tenant are required to take the arbiter’s advice. In a non-binding one, you can listen to the arbiter’s decision without having to follow it.

When to Call the Police

While there are cases where you can solve disputes amongst yourselves, you should call the police if your tenants are engaged in illegal activity in your building. It’s still your job, however, to prepare their eviction from your property.

Prepare for Eviction

If your difficult renter just doesn’t want to change, then it might be time to go your separate ways. Hire an eviction attorney to run you through the process. First, you need to serve a notice of eviction. This should contain a valid reason and the number of days they have until they must leave. Step two requires you to file a complaint in court and receive a summons saying that you and your renter should show up in court on a specific date. Once you get to court, your renter will decide whether to concede or offer a defense. If they choose the latter, you’ll have to attend hearings with your lawyer. Once the judge rules in your favor, however, you can finally enforce an eviction order.

As hard as you may try, problem tenants have a way of besting the screening process – no matter how careful you are. It’s often helpful to educate your renter about the negative impact that eviction could have on their credit and savings. People with poor credit often have to pay higher interests because of the risks associated with their credit standing. While the hallmarks of a good landlord are understanding and patience, tough love in the form of mediation and eviction is necessary to protect yourself and your other tenants.

Bid Your Rental Property Headaches Goodbye

Being a property owner means you’ll have a host of responsibilities, like tenant screening and maintenance, to worry about. We at Bergan & Company provide property management services that help you generate a passive income without much effort. We’ll take care of tedious tasks, leases, and portfolios for you. Contact us now for more details.