How to Handle Problem Tenants : The Non-Payer
There are many instances of encounters with a horrible tenant, not all of which result in a court action. Once the lease agreement is signed and keys are exchanged, a landlord or property manager can only hope things go smoothly. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case when it comes to dealing with unpleasant situations regarding tenants. Here are some issues with tenants some of our clients have experienced, and which you may want to try and avoid.
This is a tough tenant to deal with because of the time and money it consumes. This person just doesn’t pay rent, usually after the first couple of months. After many missed phone calls and ignored notices, and having to spend countless hours of time tracking down that payment, or racking up legal bills for an unlawful detainer, they still have excuses as to why they are unable to pay rent. Even though these tenants are still liable for these payments, many times they are either uncollectable or just disappear.
HOW TO HANDLE THE PROBLEM
Immediately Post Legal Notice to Pay Rent or Quit!
Don’t wait for the payment, immediately being the process to start an unlawful detainer action. Typically this begins with a written notice that either must be delivered or posted and mailed to the tenant. By doing so, the tenant will realize that you are serious, and not going to waste time by listening to unwarranted excuses.
Contact them however you can
Prior to turning it over to an attorney for an eviction, use every method possible to get in contact with them. Revisit the application and find their workplace phone or even their emergency contacts. If you are a landlord that lives close by, have a face-to-face meeting but be sure to send them a text message, email, or call them first to arrange a meetup, even posting a notice asking for a meeting time.
Discuss the Matter
Do not make any promises, or say you will wait for the payment, instead, keep the dialogue open and try to find the true issue as to why they are avoiding paying rent. In no event, though, should you wait more than a week to begin an eviction Explain that you understand that they are having hard times, but you must still pay the mortgage, utilities, and other bills.
Ultimately, as a landlord or property manager, you won’t always know what type of tenants you will be dealing with until you’re in the leasing process. However, comprehensive tenant screening should give you an idea. Past behavior is a likely dictator of future behavior. Remember to always clearly state the expectations and outline the consequences of breaking the rules in the lease agreement. As it is a legally binding document, it can guide and protect most any situation you encounter.