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How to Deal with Difficult Tenants in 5 Common Situations

August 15th, 2017 |

Landlords have the tough job of dealing with difficult tenants. If your tenants are consistently displaying one of these five detrimental behaviors, it’s time for a change. Keep reading to find out the best ways to ensure that your tenants follow all of your rules and, most importantly, what to do if they don’t.

1. Late or unpaid rent

Unfortunately, this is a common problem among landlords. To prevent this from happening in the first place, make sure that your expectations are clear with any new tenants. But when a tenant does violate rent rules, there are three steps to take: inform the tenant of what they owe, give them time to pay, then evict if they don’t follow through. Although this method seems harsh, it’s the best way for landlords to keep their authority and get paid. If you make exceptions for certain tenants, word will get around to the others.

2. Excessive noise or disturbance

In the case of excessive noise, you first should talk to the tenant directly. They might not have realized their disturbance. If they continue, it’s time to get the community involved. Have other tenants sign a notice to give the disruptive tenant an idea of who their behavior affects. If that still doesn’t work, you may have to consider the threat of raised rent or eviction.

3. Property damage

The first step in this situation is to educate your tenants about the difference between wear-and-tear and damage. Make sure they know what constitutes as destruction of property – this will minimize the controversy later. If they do break something, take the time to refer them to the cheapest and best repairmen in the area. This will show them that you are being kind about the issue, but that you expect them to handle it themselves. Set a deadline for the repairs and inspect when they are finished. For information on more situations, see this article from the AAOA.

4. Illegal activities

If you ever witness illegal activities, call the police. Even if it means losing a tenant, it’s always a better choice to report these behaviors when you see them. If you don’t, you could be held responsible for any damages, or you could even go to jail.

5. Constant requests for repairs

In this case, it’s also important to draw a line between wear-and-tear and damage. Be up-front with your tenants about what you will repair for them and set realistic expectations. If it becomes excessive, you may have to specify a monthly repairs limit in your lease. Even if this change in contract causes you to lose a tenant, you will quickly find a cheaper, less demanding person to fill the opening.

These five situations are some of the most difficult things that landlords face, and none have easy solutions. It’s important to remember that, while having longtime tenants is a great thing, you should never put up with a bad tenant for longer than necessary. It’s your roof and your rules; don’t compromise too much on the fundamentals.
If you have an investment property in the Boston and are interested in hands-off rental income, contact us at R.H. Blanchard Contract & Design to learn more about our property management solutions.