The Perfect Ten Tips To Identify And Handle Problem Tenants

By E-Renter Tenant Screening
Posted on September 20, 2006 under Tenant Screening & Background Checks | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

If a landlord finds himself / herself saddled with even one single problem tenant, you can be certain his / her life is going to become extremely difficult. The tenant /tenants may have appeared charming, but if you did not screen them or conduct a thorough background check, you may have just opened a can of worms for yourself. Not only can they give you a headache, cause endless trouble, rack up three or more months of past-due rent or damage your property, they can even skip off, without paying the rent or the bill. Stuck with a problem tenant or tenants, then here are a few tips that should help avoid renting to trouble makers, as well as, strategies on how to deal with them.

  1. ‘Everything in Writing’ should be your motto or mantra. Before taking on a prospective tenant, ask for references and follow up, ensuring they all pan out. Your rental agreement should have a clear code of conduct clause, as well as, one clearly specifying what action will be taken in the event of non-payment of rent, bad behaviour or damage to your property.
  2. Perform background checks on all prospective tenants prior to renting out to them. If a tenant has proved to be quite a handful, having taken advantage of even one landlord, you can be sure there well might be a record. There are tenant screening and background check services, such as, that you can use to provide you with background check information i.e. criminal records, etc., steps that help identify problem tenants in advance.
  3. Credit checks are as necessary as background checks. Apart from background checks, obtain information from applicants for performing a credit check. Get their name in full, social security numbers, including written permission from them allowing you to obtain their credit histories.
  4. Do not get taken in by sob stories, no matter how heart-breaking. A landlord must think with his / her head not his / her heart when deciding who should be taken on his / her tenant. There are many people, who are well-versed in cooking up the most heart rending stories, spinning yarns that have no element of truth in them.
  5. Be wary of inaccurate references. If references given by an applicant do not check out, you can be certain, there is something very wrong here. Often, references are given, counting on the fact that landlords will not follow up. Don’t make this mistake as a reference check may help deal with existing problem tenants.
  6. All late rental payments should be recorded. Record and document each late rental payment you receive, as it will assist and provide sufficient grounds, in the event, you have to serve notice for eviction.
  7. Pay heed to complaints or stories other tenants and neighbours may tell about your new tenant(s). If you do not live on site, you may not be aware of what goes on at your rental property. If a tenant or neighbour complains about the new tenant, listen to them, recording what is going on. For single family units, enlist the support of neighbours, asking them to report any strange or illegal activities that may go on, on your premises.
  8. A landlord should be wary and cautious about tenants unwilling to sign 6-month or 1-year lease terms. No one wishes to take on tenants, who will not be there after a few months, as a tenant who moves out quickly will only cause you to incur re-advertising and re-leasing costs, all within a very short frame of time.
  9. Be knowledgeable about what the rights of a landlord. Knowing your state laws will help deal with problem tenant situations, as well as, ensure you are not violating any fair housing acts by evicting a problem tenant.
  10. Don’t delay, act quickly. If you have problem tenants, get them out as soon as possible, as if their behaviour is allowed to continue, it can only become worse over time. Enforce the terms of your lease, stand your ground, document all problems and act swiftly.

As long as, a landlord has a written rental agreement, he / she can protect his / her property interests. And, it also gives you legal recourse, in case something should go wrong with a tenant or potential tenant. Avoid any mishaps or unwanted tenants by visiting for help with tenant screening and background checks, the best and only way to prevent expensive litigation or penalty charges later on.

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