How to Deal With Difficult Tenants
A tenant is an individual occupying a land or property rented from a landowner. Some tenants are well-mannered and pay rent in time, while some tenants are troublesome and quite hard to relate with.
Dealing with difficult tenants or knowing how to relate with them is part of being a landlord. Sometimes, despite being careful and selective in accepting tenants, one or two tenants could turn out to be a thorn in the flesh. While some do everything to cover up their bad character while house hunting, others become difficult tenants due to challenges they are currently facing.
Who is a difficult tenant?
A difficult tenant is someone who continues to be a problem to the landlord. You may find yourself spending so much time dealing with such tenant. They drain up your energy, take up your space, peace and time and equally make the premises less habitable for other peaceful tenants.
Some common types of difficult tenants are;
- The late or partial-paying tenants (who do not pay their rent as at when due).
- The sub letters (tenants who rent out (sublet) a part or all of the property without notifying the landlord or convert a section of their space to an awful use).
- The whiners (tenants who call constantly to make awkward requests and complain unnecessarily).
- The lawbreakers (tenants who are drug addicts and troublemaker).
- Tenants who are pet owners who never bother to check if their pets are constituting nuisance in the premises.
- Late-night or party freaks (tenants who go out for party frequently and return late to wake all neighbors up with heavy bangs at the gate).
Every landlord should as a matter of being a good property owner learn to manage both the good and bad tenants. You may not have a troublesome tenant today but the longer you continue being a landlord, the more likely you will run into one someday.
How to deal with difficult tenants
Communication and Negotiation
Know that a relationship that would be successful of any kind requires continuous and clean communication. Sit your tenant down and resolve the matter as adults. Be ready to negotiate for a win-win bargain.
Problems that may arise between landowners and tenants are often due to lack of communication. So, difficult situations can frequently be resolved with a dialogue. discussions from the onset. Let rules be set up with the use of communication.
A landlord should know where to peg informal relationship with tenants and where to start relating officially. As a landlord, do not allow minor issues to get out of hand due to negligence or carelessness. Also, do not be reactive or overtly emotional over issues, always allow logic and reason to guide your actions. Let every agreement and financial dealing be carefully documented and do well to carry your legal adviser along whenever necessary. Be friendly and courteous with your tenants but avoid be loose with them, don’t forget they are your clients not relations. Give them notices the appropriate way. Do not send little children to go and relay important information to tenants.
Hold up your end of the bargain
See your tenants as customers. Make sure your actions, dispositions and communication are always in line with the tenancy agreement signed by both parties. Make sure you don’t give promises you do not intend to fulfill as that is a way to terminate the tenancy. This will also save you legal battles.
Difficult tenants are often deceptive and manipulative. They play with your emotions and appeal to your good nature. Landlords are expected to have rules that are strict but fair. It is one thing to understand and empathize with your tenant, but make sure you do not allow them take advantage of you. Manipulative people should not be given be as much as an inch. Tenants should be corrected on behavior through positive and negative reinforcement. If you accept payment of rent late, without imposing a penalty, you are approving them to make late payments. One must treat tenants well but must become firm when the need arises. however, treat all tenants in the with equity and fairness.
Use the Tenancy Agreement to Clarify Issues
The tenancy agreement guides and guards the official relationship between landlords and tenants. Every landlord must work with his attorney to make sure that the tenancy agreement is as comprehensive as possible. It should be unambiguous and endorsed with by both parties. It should be that the tenancy bond should be able to answer certain question or issues that may arise in the course of time.
Make sure you have clear rules and procedures for tenants. Provide your tenants with a copy, and let them take time to read, consult their lawyer and sign the agreement signifying that they fully comprehend what is expected of the parties and how things work. The rules should include lines, stating that tenants are not allowed to disturb their neighbors or other tenants without loud music and the likes.
Do well to have your tenancy agreement and premises rules in writing. Each time there is a problem, document the instance in writing with photos and videos (if necessary). This will guide you in the event that there is a problem, development or even litigation. In fact, detailed records may help you evade going to court. If you have been logical, careful and professional in your engagements then you are well protected.