Difficult tenants can cost you money and time. They also cause a lot of stress. If you’re a landlord who is dealing with difficult tenants or hoping to avoid difficult tenants in the future, we have some tips for you. The best thing to do, of course, is to hire a professional property management company. When you’re working with experienced property managers, you don’t have to worry about tenant disputes or ongoing issues.
Setting Expectations with Tenants
Often, difficult tenants will show up with a sense of entitlement. It’s a good idea to have an open and honest discussion about expectations and responsibilities before your tenants move into your property. When you meet to sign the lease and collect the move-in funds, have a conversation about what is required for everyone to have a successful and pleasant rental experience. You can discuss what’s allowed and what isn’t allowed, the consequences of unpaid rent, and the frequency with which you will conduct inspections. When tenants know that you care about the property and plan to enforce the lease, they are more likely to be more cooperative.
Tenants Who Don’t Pay Rent
The most difficult tenants to deal with are often those who do not pay rent on time, or don’t pay rent at all. Landlords will hear a long list of excuses for why rent is not paid on time. Tenants will beg for more time or come up with new reasons that they don’t have the money. It will be a shock to them that they’re getting evicted after not paying rent.
The best way to deal with these situations is by implementing a rent collection policy and then following it consistently. Keep your emotional responses in check, and remain professional and committed to your policy of collecting rent on time. Once the grace period has passed and rent is officially late, serve your Pay or Quit Notice and charge your late fees. It’s important to be consistent when you’re collecting rent. If you let tenants pay late once without any consequences, they’ll expect that allowance every time.
If late payments or nonpayment o rent becomes a persistent issue, it is also advisable to do all you can to prevent “going legal”. Filing an unlawful detainer is costly and takes a lot of time in San Diego county, before the tenant is out of your rental property and the issue is finally resolved. It’s best to avoid the court system and to do everything possible to negotiate with the tenant to encourage them to vacate peacefully and to surrender the property as quickly as possible
Screen Tenants Thoroughly
You can avoid difficult tenants by screening applicants well. Make sure you check all of their financial and criminal information. Look for past evictions and talk to current and former landlords about how the tenant performed. Ask if they paid rent on time, if there was any damage left at the property after they moved out, and whether they complied with the terms of the lease agreement. Always ask the former landlords if they’d be willing to rent to that tenant again, and if they say no – find out why.
Communicate with Tenants Proactively
We have found that positive tenant communication also helps to manage difficult tenants. Respond promptly to maintenance issues and requests so they don’t have a reason to complain. Check in once in a while to find out how things are going and if there’s anything they need. Be available by phone, email, text message, or any other platform that works for you. Difficult tenants only become more difficult when you try to avoid or ignore them.
These are just a few tips that may be helpful in managing your most challenging tenants. If you have any questions or need any help, please contact us at San Diego Residential Property Management. We’re here to help!