How to Deal with Difficult Tenants
Most landlords have heard the horror stories of nightmare tenants, but think it won’t happen to them – until it does! While a career as a real estate investor can be very rewarding, there are things you’ll need to plan for, like tenants who give you a hard time, or worse, stop paying their rent entirely. Here are some tips on how to protect your property and your income:
- Be confident in all communication with tenants: This will take some skill and practice. You must come across as confident and a leader in all situations with your tenants. You can still be friendly, but make it clear that this is a business relationship, not a personal one.
- Know your rights as well as those of your tenants: Make no mistake – most landlord and tenant rules across the country favor the tenant and have laws put in place to protect their rights. That doesn’t mean that they can walk all over you; it just means that you need to know what you can and can’t do when it comes to eviction, rent collection, etc.
- Stay focused on your goal: Your ultimate goal as a landlord is to invest in real estate, collect rent and amass a great fortune! Know that some tenants are going to be more difficult than others and that they are just a small obstacle on your way to achieving wealth.
- Keep records of your communications, including dates: Whether you’re dealing with a non-paying tenant, or a tenant who has damaged your property, you need to keep detailed records of all communication you have with them and third parties. This includes photos, dates and recordings if you have any. If you end up going to court, this documentation will help you win your case.
- Try and work with the tenants: Like all of us, sometimes tenants fall on hard times. If they have been great tenants and they contact you, then try and work something out with them. Perhaps you can draw up a payment plan for the next couple of months while they look for another job, or their unemployment check comes in. The law does not require you to do this; however, it never hurts to be kind to those in need. When your tenants know that you are trying to help them, they will be less likely to clear out in the middle of the night, or damage your property.
- Follow the law: Don’t try to make up your own rules when it comes to evicting tenants. You’ll need to follow the law to the letter in order to protect yourself from a lawsuit later on.
- Learn from your mistakes and move on: As a landlord, you are going to make mistakes. Learn from them and move on. As you become more experienced you will learn to trust your instincts, and be able to judge who a good tenant would be and who you should run away from. As long as you learn a few valuable lessons from your experiences, you will be successful as a landlord.