If you have been a landlord or property manager for any amount of time, you have experienced both good and bad tenants. We wish that all tenants would be great, but the fact is some are not.
Warning Signs of Bad Tenants
First, to help minimize the chances of getting a bad tenant, property owners and managers should always run the tenant background screening that is available in most online property management software. In addition to that, be sure to follow up with checking references, past landlords and employers. This is not a guarantee, but it will help in the weeding out process. Here are some indicators that you are probably aware of:
- Difficult attitude and often threats or talk about lawsuits
- Regularly delinquent
- Leaves in the middle of the night
- Leaves the property in a mess
It’s unfortunate that these people exist but you can be better position to handle these types of tenant behaviors.
Attitude and Threats of Lawsuits
Make sure you understand the lease completely. These types of tenants can be a real pain to deal with. Understand the Fair Housing Laws and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Document everything along with the log of all communications. Have policies and procedures in place should they be needed. In addition to all this, your attitude can make a big difference. Be friendly and open to listen to them, even if it’s a bogus complaint.
Don’t make any exceptions for late rent. This will set the stage for future dealings with this tenant. Stay consistent with your rules and regulations that you should have as a written protocol. Utilize the automatic tenant late fee options in your property management software and let the software auto apply these with consistency. Hint: You can blame the software if a tenant complains. Also, you should let the software send invoice and late fee reminders to your tenants. Run all your tenant communications through the property management software. That way you will have a log file of them. Should you have to go to collections.
If your tenant skips out on you, keep track of all the evidence and document everything! A good understanding of your state’s laws is critical (or have legal counsel on retainer). There will be certain procedures you have to follow for handling abandoned property and taking back possession.
Damaged or Mess Up Property
First, make sure you require renter’s insurance. Most web-based property management software will also provide an option for insurance. This will help cover more serious damage like fires (even small kitchen fires). Document all damage, use the property management accounting software to track all expenses related to the damage and include photos.
It’s very important to have these protocols and processes in place before a problem arises. Having these in place will help you avoid unnecessary headaches.
PropertyZar is a real estate technology company specifically in the web-based property management software for owners and professional property managers. Learn more www.PropertyZar.com