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Best Ways for Apartment Investors to Manage Difficult or Bad Tenants

You feel like pulling your hair out over the tenant in Unit 355. Again.

Thankfully, most of your apartment building’s tenants are good. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples in the bunch, too. And these bad apples are causing you to have a pretty rotten landlord experience.

The reality is, sometimes you have no choice but to deal with difficult or bad tenants. The good news, though, is that you can handle them with confidence and thus protect your real estate investment long term. Here’s a rundown on how to deal with band tenants.

Record Everything

An important step to take to protect yourself against bad tenants is to keep a written record of everything you do and say when interacting with each tenant.

Yes, this will add more to your workload. However, it’ll also reduce the likelihood that a bad renter will attempt to dispute something with you—like a certain charge. So, it’ll pay off in the long run.

Remain Rational

Your first reaction when a tenant tries to pull one over on you or ignore your request is to become livid. And understandably so. But you won’t make the situation any better by being hot-tempered.

Before you confront bad tenants, make certain that you haven’t allowed your feelings to take over your rational thought process. To do this, consider going through a cool-down period—maybe even an overnight one—before you speak with the tenant.

The truth is, a bad tenant will likely be much more willing to listen to you if you approach him in a calm and collected manner.

Create a Positive Atmosphere for Your Tenants

Another way you can diffuse a difficult tenant is to be overly kind in your dealings with him or her. In other words, if you’re wondering how to deal with bad tenants, go above and beyond in your efforts to be hospitable to the renter.

For instance, you can respond right away to the tenant’s calls or emails, or show extreme patience when interacting with him or her. This may seem counterintuitive, but if you treat bad tenants with respect, they may be more willing to work with you.

Set the Standard for How You Will Be Treated

Although being kind, patient, and helpful when interacting with bad tenants is certainly important, you also need to establish the standard for how your tenants will treat you.

As an example, let’s say that a tenant fails to pay his rent in a timely manner. If you don’t penalize him with a late fee, he may assume he can repeat this “mistake” again next month without consequence. In addition, other tenants may be studying the situation to see how you react to it.

If you allow the problem to fester, your other tenants may attempt to get out of paying their rent on time, and you’ll quickly lose control of your tenants and your property. However, if you institute a fee for your late-paying tenant, he may be more apt to pay his rent on time in the months ahead. And your other tenants will follow suit.

Now, let’s say you penalize your late-paying tenants but still cannot get them to pay up promptly. In this situation, follow up with the tenants constantly. By doing this, you’re showing the tenants that you won’t forget the problem and that they need to address it right away to avoid future negative consequences.

Utilize Property Management

Sometimes tenants will be difficult even if you take extra steps to satiate them. For this reason, if you’re wondering how to deal with bad tenants, consider hiring a property manager to help you.

A property manager will chase down late payments for you and facilitate necessary unit repairs. Thus, using a property management company will save you time and eliminate unnecessary stress for you.

Just be sure to hire a manager who has extensive experience in managing apartment properties. Also, verify that your prospective manager is comfortable with handling all of the tasks you’ll need assistance with. In addition, choose a manager who has positive online reviews and/or references.

Get Rid of the Difficult Tenants

You may get to the point where you can no longer handle a tenant. In this situation, you should ask the tenant to move out. Getting bad tenants to vacate the premises can certainly be challenging. However, it’s not impossible.

To eliminate your difficult tenants, just send them written notices to vacate. They’ll leave if they don’t want additional trouble. However, to make moving out even more enticing, offer to return their security deposits to them if they move out within a certain timeframe.

If this doesn’t work and they refuse to move out, you’ll need to begin the process of evicting them.

Evict the Bad Tenants

Evicting a tenant can be a costly and time-consuming process, so it should be your final resort if you’re dealing with a difficult tenant.

As a general rule of thumb, you have legal grounds to evict tenants if they’ve failed to make their rent payments. You can also evict a tenant who doesn’t move out after his or her lease has ended. Finally, eviction is possible if your tenant has violated his or her lease terms.

Take a good look at your lease to see if you need to add extra clauses that will protect your best interests in the future. For instance, you may want your lease to include a clause about drug and criminal activity being grounds for immediate lease termination.

Protect Yourself Against Bad Tenants Today

Figuring out how to deal with bad tenants isn’t always easy. And it’s certainly not fun. However, it’s critical if you want to remain a successful real estate investor in the years ahead.

I can help you to safeguard your real estate investing business by dealing appropriately with bad tenants. Get in touch with me today to learn more about how to handle difficult tenants in the most personally beneficial manner possible.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.

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Joe Fairless