What to do With a Cop-Calling Tenant

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on January 4, 2011 under Landlord Tips, Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentRead the First Comment

tenantscreeningblog, tenant screeningWe recently heard from Jason, a fairly new landlord, regarding a common problem: a tenant who calls the police—a lot. “I did my due diligence and ran a tenant background check and criminal screening on her, and she came through with flying colors. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about some of her former friends,” Jason said.

After the tenant moved in, her former boyfriend started showing up, uninvited. She felt harassed and seemed to be unable to get him to leave on her own. “She calls the cops at least once a week,” said Jason. “It looks bad to the neighborhood and it concerns my other tenants. I’m thinking about evicting her.”

Jason was rightly concerned that he could be in violation of the law if he proceeded with eviction. He planned to contact his attorney to be sure. But what should a landlord do when an otherwise perfect tenant makes his or her personal problems a larger issue? If the tenant has done nothing wrong, is it fair to force her out?

One landlord said the best course is to encourage the tenant to seek a restraining order, or to refer the tenant to a domestic violence prevention center. Another mentioned that if the tenant is not an innocent victim, but rather calls the police for minor issues that the landlord or property manager should be handling, it could be more of a nuisance issue. In this case, eviction could be the proper recourse to allow other tenants quiet enjoyment of their homes.

Landlords cannot generally evict tenants when they are exercising their rights. And, it is certainly up to the management to control tenant actions when they affect others. Most landlords we talked to about Jason’s case indicated they would get involved in the situation in order to prevent a possible escalation of harassment. Obviously, confronting the ex-boyfriend is not a good idea, but helping the tenant seek a restraining order is much better than doing nothing. Evicting her would only compound the problem.

When you are a rental property owner, it is in your best interest and that of your tenants to provide a safe environment. This tenant’s calls to the police could be a wake-up call for the landlord to get involved. Remember, when it comes to bullies like this tenant’s ex-boyfriend, stay safe and let the police do their jobs!

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