How to Handle Problem Tenants : The Property Destroyer/Litterer
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.
The Property Destroyer/Litterer
This is the tenant that damages and destroys property, whether intentionally or unintentionally, or continually does not pick up after themselves, thinking it is not their problem.
There are individuals that deliberately cause damage to a property regularly. This type of tenant can cost the landlord thousands of dollars out of pocket just to fix and repair the damage.
HOW TO HANDLE THE PROBLEM
Have a bill-back policy in place
When a tenant has been determined to be the cause of the damage, immediately bill them for the cost of repair, whether it is deliberate or an accident. By holding a tenant accountable for their actions then it is less likely to happen. Also, if other tenants’ realize that they can get away with not maintaining their unit/appliances/community, without any consequences, the problem will grow exponentially.
As a side note, do not just guess that the tenant caused the damage, but instead, have be able to provide evidence. Your maintenance team should be trained to determine if the clog was due to something the tenant placed in the drain, etc… Also, security cameras providing photographic evidence for damages to common areas are great ways to determine responsibility.
Meet in person with them
Once you’ve determined that the tenant is the cause of the damage, you should then calculate the cost to repair the damage. Set up a meeting with your tenant and discuss if they are able to pay for the repairs. Discuss with them, that it is their responsibility to conduct basic maintenance for the unit, ie: clean, vacuum, mop, and dispose of trash/grease appropriately. Try to find out why the damages are happening and what can be done to prevent future damage from occurring.
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.
One of the easiest ways to address tenant problems is to avoid them altogether. To ensure you get the information you need we’ve created a download that shows you the 9 Most Effective Methods To Reduce Tenant Problems. Get your download today!
You may have encountered some other problem tenants as well, see what else you can do to address those issues: