How to Protect Your Rental Property From Difficult Tenants
Many landlords put up with difficult tenants. Why? Well, they think all tenants are the same when indeed they are not. Are your renters negligent or destructive? Are you called on regularly to make repairs to your homes or rental apartments due to ‘accidents’? If so, this article is for you.
Landlords do not need to accept difficult tenants and their antisocial behavior. The tenancy agreement sets the terms and expectations. Provide rental properties in good condition, so minimal maintenance is required. Then focus on tenant selection, choosing tenants that respect your rentals and pay the market rent rate.
How do you protect your rental property from difficult tenants?
Take Tenant Screening Seriously
The best way to protect your units from bad tenants is to avoid them. In other words, you must take tenant screening seriously for all potential candidates. A rigorous screening process can help you weed away the shaft. Have every prospective renter fill out an application with information on the work and employment history, estimated income, credit score, and criminal background.
Also, remember to inquire about their previous landlords’ contact. References can reveal a lot about a candidate. Most tenants tend to follow a pattern. Thus, if their last landlord complains about rental arrears, you’re more likely to encounter the same problem. On the other hand, if the landlord has only pleasant things to say and recommends them, you can put your mind at ease.
The benefits of screening tenant applications include:
- It helps eliminate poorly qualified applicants
- Reduces tenant turnover
- It helps you spot potentially problematic tenants
Collect A Large Security Deposit
A security deposit is a fund landlords collect to pay for any damage tenants might cause. Most state laws allow property owners to use this fund to cover unpaid rent and related renter debts. Hence, it makes sense to increase your security deposit if you’re dealing with terrible tenants. Research is crucial because it lets you know the legal limit for charging tenants.
Some jurisdictions allow you to collect as much as two months’ rent as a security deposit.
Although, it’s understandable if you’re apprehensive about increasing the deposit because you don’t want to scare potential renters. However, it can also be a way to identify high-quality, well-paying tenants. The key here is to know and follow all local security deposit and Fair Housing Laws.
The steps to collecting a security deposit include:
- Familiarize yourself with state laws
- Ensure the lease fully details how and when the deposit can be used
- Have both parties sign the agreement
- Collect the security deposit separately from the first month’s rent
Conduct Regular Inspections
Most landlords don’t live on their rental property, so it’s pretty easy to miss when things go wrong. If your tenant fails to keep you in the loop because they’re unobservant or negligent, you could have an expensive problem. Thus, regular inspections are one of landlords’ top risk management tips.
Remember that your tenants have a right to privacy, so you must alert them before entering their unit. Many states make it compulsory for you to issue a 48-hour notice, except in the case of an emergency.
After you’ve scheduled the inspection, ensure you document your findings. It is also essential to conduct move-in and move-out inspections. It would be best if you used this opportunity to take photos or videos to corroborate your story in the future. Of course, you must back it up safely for easy retrieval.
It is important to document everything during inspections to:
- Ensure tenants abide by the building code
- Avoid disputes about problems
- Schedule maintenance when needed
- Resolve issues before they escalate
Build A Healthy Landlord-Tenant Relationship
Settling disputes and reaching a compromise is always easier when you have a working relationship with someone. For landlords, it’s imperative to be on good terms with your renters because they live on your property. They’re around most of the time and also play a role in maintaining your investment. Thus, if your tenants are unhappy, they might act by damaging things or ignoring apparent problems.
In the long run, it’s much better to establish a respectful and honest relationship that makes both parties happy. Plus, you may want to add some to keep your tenants happy, e.g., upgrading to the latest digital trends like USB points in power sockets.
How do you foster a healthy relationship with your tenants? Through doing the following:
- Make prompt repairs
- Establish a convenient line of communication
- Practice transparency
- Honor your promises
Learning how to protect your rental property from difficult tenants can be a gamechanger for your business. It helps you save more on repairs and avoid unnecessary drama with renters. Thus, you can direct more energy and time to grow your portfolio and earn more significant returns.
Tenant screening, and more extensive security deposits, can help you trim candidates to the most eligible.
While performing regular inspections and building a healthy relationship with renters can help avoid unpleasant disputes. Although, it would be much easier to implement these strategies if you work with a professional property management company.
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