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Dealing With Bad Tenants

Dealing With Bad Tenants

One of the best ways to gain wealth and boosting your equity in today’s market without really fully letting-go of your properties are making them available for rent. Despite of the potential dollars that you would earn, making your property for rent comes with a great price as well. Managing your property is a huge responsibility, managing tenants are another story. Today in this article, we’re going to talk about everyone’s favorite tenants: the terrible ones. The ones that are always late in paying their rent, those who always damage the walls, the doors, the kitchen counter, and even the sink! Most property owners deal with these harsh realities at some point, and it’s even more frustrating as it sounds! But today is your lucky day! We have prepared a list of types of problem tenants to look out for and tips in helping you survive these sticky situations.

Recognizing Terrible Tenants

Applicant screening is an excellent way in determining and pointing-out tenants that may become an issue along the way. However, it doesn’t reflect for changes in a tenant’s financial, emotional, and personal positions and situations. As a landlord, you can check out these common problem tenants so you can be cautious and quick to point them out in order for you to respond accordingly.

  1. Home Wreckers
  2. Late and A Dollar Short Payers
  3. Laws Aren’t Relevant
  4. Constant Complainers
  5. Strangers Welcome

Home Wreckers

Property damage is a HUGE problem for landlords, not to mention a not so very budget-friendly one. Some tenants do not ever care for the property as you expect them to be, while others decide to make unauthorized “improvements.” As a landlord, it is better to take steps to prevent this kind of situation to happen. Consider these advices below:

How to Prevent Tenants from Damaging Your Rental Property

  • A Well-written Lease: Identify carefully maintenance expectations for tenants before they take possession of the property.
  • Conduct a Comprehensive Move-in Inspection: Taking photos and documenting the property’s condition carefully must be done. This will give you something for comparison once the tenant moves out, allowing you to see the before and after condition of the property and would give you the idea in giving the proper charges for the damages.
  • Conduct Time-to-Time Inspections: This is something you must put into practice for any rental property. At least set a quarterly visit to the property in order for you to see any potential repair concerns. If you see the tenant is not keeping up and being responsible with the property, try to point it out to them sooner than later.

Late and A Dollar Short Payer

Don’t you love people who pay late and pay less than the expected amount? Neither do we! It’s a no brainer for landlords to make tenants who pay late and less to make them at the top of their list to watch out. Late payments, no payments, skipping payments, or partial payments can gravely affect a landlord’s financial position. The sad thing is, no matter how hard you try, most of the time, landlords may still come across late payments now and again. However, the only thing that you can do is to limit these situations to happen. Here are tips for to get tenants to pay on time:

How To Get Tenants to Pay Rent On Time

  • Unbending Policies: Leases must point out carefully what the procedure for payments are and what happens if a tenant pays their rent late. You need to emphasize to your tenants that this is a firm policy that you intend to enforce.
  • We’re All the Same: Whatever may be the circumstances, all tenants, regardless of who and what they are, must be held under strict observance of the same standards and guidelines to follow. Make it clear for them from the start and, in turn, avoid tenant’s pleas and negotiations.
  • Create Reminders: If a grace period is inculcated in your lease, consider a rent reminder for those tenants that miss the due date. Accidents may be possible in the future, and a reminder may redirect an incoming potential problem.

Laws Aren’t Relevant

Some tenants think so highly of themselves that they think that they can get away with literally anything. Common ways that tenants break the law ranges from the illegal selling or harboring of drugs to violent crimes and nuisance complaints. If ever a tenant under your property becomes criminally active, it’s best for you to ask an attorney for a legal advice. However, in some states, arrests do no change tenant’s right to occupy the property. That said, these tips below may also help:

How to Deal with Tenants Who Break the Law

  • Screening: We can’t emphasize this enough in this article. Pre-screening applicants will reveal criminal history. Evaluate and consider this carefully with other qualifications. A person who has a small criminal taint 20 years ago may be an excellent tenant but you are still to be watchful for recent illegal activity, participation, or a pattern of behavior. If you see these red flags, steer clear!
  • Regular Inspections: Another thing that we can’t emphasize enough. Scheduled and Regular Inspections of the home may point out signs of illegal activities or potential problems.

Constant Complainers

Every landlord loves a good and responsible tenant, the kind of tenant that would only report or call you when there is a legitimate issue. But the reality is, not all tenants are perfect, and landlords also deal with constant complainers. They frequently call, at all hours, to complain about everything, including making unreasonable requests!

How to Deal With Tenants Who Complain Constantly

  • Know Your Legal Obligations: You as a landlord is required to make certain and necessary repairs to make the home of feel like a home and safe. However, this doesn’t mean that you are obliged to grant every little request from your tenants, knowing that it would cost you a lot of time and money! You’re a landlord, not a genie!
  • Remind Them of the Lease: Your lease should point out who is responsible for what when it comes to maintenance. Light bulb out? The fire alarm’s battery died? Need a brand-new lock for the gate? This is the tenant’s responsibility, and you are to remind them of these.

Strangers Welcome

There are tenants that sometimes act like your property is an open community center, having multiple extended guests coming in and out, worse, will sublet the property, creating problems and liability. If a person is in your home that is not on the signed lease, that means the terms of the lease does not apply to them. Getting them out can prove to be lengthy and expensive depending on the circumstances. Avoid this at all costs by following the steps below:

How to Handle Extended Guests

  • Subletting: NEVER ALLOW IT. You do not want a person to live in your home whom you have not personally vetted. Make this clear as a part of the lease agreement and make communication open. If the tenant has circumstances that causes them to be away for a long period of time, they are to be aware that they cannot bring in someone else to take over.
  • Inspections: Just as the other examples that we have above, inspections can provide a ton of information! If you found out any unauthorized occupants, address it immediately with the tenant.
  • Guests are Allowed: A tenant has the right to have guests come over or even stay a few days! However, if they are planning for someone to stay for a long period of time, it must be settled and clear with the landlord first.

Best Practices for Dealing with Terrible Tenants

So far, we’ve talked about terrible tenant traits to look for and some measures to prevent it, but let’s just face it, things still happen. Therefore, when these problems arise and you are needed for an intervention, how you respond as a landlord can make all the difference. Here are some suggestions in dealing with terrible tenants.

  1. Be calm, objective, and rational
  2. Keep a written record of everything
  3. Show tenants how they should treat you
  4. Try to get your tenants on your side
  5. Ask terrible tenants to leave
  6. Conduct an eviction process
  7. Hire a property manager

Be Calm, Objective, and Rational

It is easy (and understandable) when things don’t go right and when tenants cause problems, you get aggravated and angry. However, being hotheaded doesn’t solve the case, in reality, it only makes it worse. In handling terrible tenants, do not be clouded by your anger or your emotions when you talk to your tenants about the problems they are causing.

As a landlord, you are the voice of reason. Evaluate the situation carefully in all sides and take time in creating the best approach as possible. Tenants tend to be more receptive and understanding to what you tell them if you deliver it in a calm, tactful, and collected manner.

Keep A Written Record of Everything

One of the best ways to avoid conflict with your tenants is to keeping a written record of everything. Every repair, every transaction, every detail that both parties discussed and agreed upon. While this may be too much work, it would decrease the chances of the bad tenants to flip off everything against you.

Here’s a tip for you: When you’re inspecting the property, writing everything isn’t enough – take pictures and videos that feature a timestamp. In this way, no tenant can argue that the records that you hold is fake.

Teach Tenants How They Should Treat You

Tenant-Landlord relationship is much like any other relationship – what you do must reflect how you expect to be treated. Otherwise, you will find your tenants taking advantage of you. For example, if your tenants find out that you don’t pay your bills on time, they would imitate you and will not pay their bills on time. Let’s put it like this: How could they be someone you are not? How could they be responsible if you as a landlord isn’t? So it must be your responsibility to stand firmly behind your rules, and you’ll find your tenants doing so, redeeming you from a lot of hassle.

Try to Get Your Tenants on Your Side

Familiar with the phrase “kill them with kindness” as a way in dealing a very-hard person? Apply this strategy with your tenants by doing everything to be kind to them, as a means of achieving a positive outcome. You can be extra patient, quick to respond in their queries, or something else. But please, don’t literally kill them.

While this method is difficult with hard-headed tenants, building a good relationship with them can help you win them over. Once a good relationship with your tenants has been created, it would not come off as a surprise seeing them complying with your rules.

Ask the Terrible Tenants to Leave

Ah. The Drama. It can’t be avoided, especially when you’ve reached your breaking point, considering them to move out is highly recommended. While getting a terrible tenant to voluntarily leave sometimes seem difficult, it is not impossible. Start it by sending them a Written Notice to Vacate per the lease terms, and they will be aware that you want them to leave.

However, you cannot simply force a tenant to leave your property. If they refuse to leave voluntarily, you’re only left with one choice: the costly eviction process.

Conduct an Eviction Process

Eviction is a landlord’s last resort since the process can be expensive. As a landlord, it is vital to be familiar with the eviction requirements and laws in your area. However, in some states, a tenant can only be evicted for one of these three reasons:

  • Failure in paying rent
  • Failure to move out when the lease ends
  • Failed to observe the lease terms

So, evicting a tenant just because you cannot get along with them is not an enough reason. In fact, that is not an option.

Hiring a Property Manager

Some tenants are just difficult to handle and please. To save you from most of these troubles, hiring a property manager would be the right thing. Just imagine all the free time that you would have, not to mention all the headaches and stress that you would avoid. You’re earning money while not almost doing a single thing. Choosing the right property manager for your rental property is essential and of the majority of landlords, worth the investment!

What to Look for When Hiring a Property Manager

  1. Look for a Property Management Company with a Solid Reputation
  2. A company’s reputation can be found in a lot of places, so it is necessary to look into all the possible options. This would ensure you that you are choosing the best company for your unique needs.
  3. Investigate the Fees
  4. In today’s world, hidden fees are all around. If somethings seems to good to be true, it probably is.
  5. Give Property Management Companies with a Full Suite of Service More Consideration
  6. The bottom line is, the more services that a property management company offers, the more your assets would be protected, including you. So, choose a property management company that provides you with an array and comprehensive range of services to get the most peace of mind.

Landlord Solutions Any Great Property Management Company Should Offer

  1. Tenant Screening
  2. Advertising
  3. Move-In/Move Out Reports
  4. 24/7 Maintenance
  5. Eviction and Lawsuit Services
  6. Rent Collection
  7. Lead Paint Compliance
  8. Rental Registration
  9. Monthly and Annual Financial Statements


Screening tenants is the first and probably best defense against your property having terrible tenants. If you find yourself in a rental situation where you constantly complain about how bad your tenants are, consider a property management company that would save you a lot of time and from a lot of problems! The property management team at Realty One Group, Inc offers the best services in Northern Arizona at Competitive Rates and is a full service property management company specializing in property management services throughout the greater Flagstaff area, servicing single family residential rental homes, multiplexes, condos, town homes, and mid to long term vacation rentals.

Know more about Realty One Group, Inc!