Terrible tenants can wreak havoc on your rental property business. Late paying tenants, damaged property, and complaints by others not only hurt your pocketbook but also your reputation.
If you are self-managing your Jacksonville rental property, chances are you’ve come across a tenant or two that made your life tough. In fact, you may have even had to go so far as to evict a tenant. No matter the case, knowing how to handle these situations without breaking any rules can be challenging.
If you’re ready to tackle terrible tenants head-on and take back your rental property, keep reading. We’ve got the 5 best ways to handle problem tenants and get you through the tough times, so you can go back to enjoying your investment.
Types of Terrible Tenants and Practical Solutions
1. Property Damagers
Let’s face it, you’ve invested a lot of time and money into your Jacksonville rental property. So, when your tenant damages it or decides to make unapproved “improvements,” it’s frustrating, to say the least.
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent tenants from damaging your rental:
- Perform Routine Inspections: inspect your rental property throughout the year to check its condition. Doing so lets your tenants know you are always on the lookout. It also gives you a chance to fix minor repairs before they become costly.
- Write an Airtight Lease Agreement: set the expectations high in your signed lease agreement to ensure your tenants know what they should – and shouldn’t – be doing. This also gives you a way to implement consequences if your tenants break the rules.
- Conduct a Thorough Move-In and Move-Out Inspection: knowing the condition of your Jacksonville property before and after a lease term is not enough. You must document and compare your property’s condition before a tenant moves in and after they leave. This way you can pinpoint any damage and charge your tenants for it. The move-in inspection also lets your tenants know that you’re watching how they treat your property.
2. Payment Refusers
There are several reasons why a tenant may refuse to pay rent:
- Cash flow shortages
- Loss of employment
- Maintenance and repair disputes
That said, it’s a tenant’s responsibility to pay the rent.
While it can be tempting to start the eviction process right away, hear us out. If you can avoid the costly and time-consuming process of evicting a tenant, everyone wins. And it all starts with a little bit of communication and some of these alternative solutions:
- Create a structured payment plan that allows tenants to manage their cash flow
- Give your tenants a bit of extra time to remedy a late payment
- Allow your tenants to get a roommate or sublet your property
Lastly, have a structured rent collection procedure in place from the start. 82.2% of rental property owners want a property manager that offers rent collection services. These services make paying rent easier for tenants. It also provides a great way to document rent payments and get the money you deserve right away.
Other helpful ways to prevent late or non-payment of rent include sending out reminders to tenants each month and being clear from the start about your rent collection policies. This includes things like rent due dates, grace periods, and the eviction process.
3. Law Breakers
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to know landlord-tenant laws. After all, if you break a law a tenant has the right to sue you. This has become a source of stress for 19% of all property owners and it is not going to go away.
That said, your tenants also must follow the laws of the community while leasing from you.
Unfortunately, some terrible tenants believe they can do whatever they want. For example, some may run illegal businesses out of your rental. Others may sell or harbor drugs. Some might get involved in violent outbursts, or even just rack up a lot of neighbor complaints. No matter what the situation is, you must deal with your tenants when they break the law.
Thoroughly screening tenants before you let them lease from you is a great way to prevent legal troubles. Specifically, you will want to look into your potential tenant’s criminal background. You’ll also want to perform routine property inspections, which can reveal illegal activities.
4. Constant Complainers
Landlords and their Jacksonville property managers are to make sure their tenants are 100% satisfied. However, when a tenant takes things too far and complains about everything, even the most patient of landlords will lose it at some point.
If you have a constant complainer on your hands, here are the best ways to handle them:
- Review the Lease: the lease agreement should clearly outline who is responsible for what during a lease term. If your tenant continually complains, just have them review the lease agreement. Better yet, simply remind them of their obligations and reassure them that you’ll do the same.
- Know Your Responsibilities: you may not know exactly what you should have to do for your tenants. And constant complainers know this. To prevent a tenant from taking advantage of you, make sure to review your responsibilities. If you don’t want to deal with this hassle, consider hiring a local Jacksonville property management company to do it for you instead.
5. Faux Landlords
You are the landlord, not your tenants. However, some terrible tenants will try to make a quick buck off your investment property. One way they do this is by allowing roommates or subletting your Jacksonville property illegally.
Before this happens, it’s important you outline the rules regarding extended guests and subletting in your rental property. Here are the best ways to do just that:
- Never allow subletting or roommates. You must personally screen and vet all people that live in your rental property. By including this clause in the lease agreement, you have a chance to seek damages should your tenant go rogue and try to play landlord.
- Always inspect your property. Again, by regularly inspecting your rental property, you can keep tabs on what is happening there. This includes whether your tenants are allowing people to overstay, or worse yet, rent your property from them.
- Allow extended guests with approval. It’s okay for tenants to have guests over. After all, this is their home. If your tenants are going to allow someone to stay for an extended period of time. However, tell them that they need your approval first.
Other Tips for Handling Terrible Tenants
Of course, preventing the placement of terrible tenants in your Jacksonville rental property is the key to success. But it is not always realistic. No matter how well you screen prospective tenants, there’s always a chance you’ll place a problem tenant in your rental.
To handle a difficult or terrible tenant in your rental, follow these suggestions:
- Start by setting the expectations high from the start of the lease term and enforcing all the rules during the lease term
- Create an airtight lease agreement that outlines all the rules and consequences
- Keep written records of everything, including communication
- Stay calm and approach things like a business – leave your emotions at the door
- Always implement the consequences
- Begin the eviction process right away and the right way
Lastly, you can always hire an experienced property manager to handle everything for you.
Sometimes tenants are just too difficult to handle, no matter what you do as a landlord. Luckily, the experience of a reputable property manager can take on the stress of a terrible tenant for you. Plus, they can handle all the problems that come up without breaking the rules.
Are you in need of a reliable property manager to help you with your Jacksonville investment property? Then contact us today and see how we can help.
At Real Property Management Sunstate, we know what a hassle it can be to deal with even the best of tenants. That’s why we make it our number one goal to provide professional property management services that focus on giving tenants an extraordinary experience.
More than that, we strive to problem solve, put preventative measures in place to avoid problem tenants, and give you an unrivaled tenant/property management experience. When all is said and done, when you hire our reliable property managers to do the heavy lifting for you, all you need to think about is how you’re going to spend your annual earnings.
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