Owning rental property is obviously only a worthy investment if you fill your units with tenants, but very often, tenants can cause as many problems as they solve.
Background checks, lease agreements, and personal interviews of prospective new renters can help you weed out many of the “bad risks,” but it is always still possible you will get a “surprise” nonetheless.
Here are 5 common property management problems that landlords have with their tenants and some suggestions on what to do about them:
1. Perpetually Late Payments
Late is far better than never, when it comes to collecting rent. But on-time is what you are looking for. You may have a tenant who is always late with the rent, sometimes by a week or more, and late on answering your posted or phone messages concerning the matter as well. What do you do?
If you have a good renter who suddenly starts paying late after always paying on time before, you should find out if there is some temporary difficulty your renter is going through. Perhaps, you can bear with him/her. But if it is just forgetfulness or taking advantage, you should issue warnings.
Eventually, you may need to resort to an eviction notice if the tenant shows no concern to correct his/her behaviour, has broken the lease agreement repeatedly, and you have better potential renters waiting in the wing.
2. Failure to Pay Rent At All
If your tenant simply fails to pay the rent at all, that is much more of a problem than merely delayed payments. Perhaps, he or she is refusing to answer the phone, not responding to notices, and pretending to not be home when you knock on the door.
It may be your renter has lost his/her job or is otherwise unable to continue to pay the rent. He/she may be trying to stay for free at your place as long as possible. The tenant would be liable for unpaid rent if evicted, under the lease, but it can be expensive and time-consuming to collect it.
It’s best to act fast. Try to get in contact with your renter and find out why he/she hasn’t paid. Arrange a face to face meeting 24 hours or more in advance. Hopefully, you have a security deposit to defray some of your losses if you have to evict.
3. Illegal Subletting Activities
Suddenly you discover your already-leased-out unit is being subleased on Airbnb or another online site without your prior consent or knowledge. Or, do you discover it?
You want to know if your lease agreement is being broken, and you want the right to control who lives in your apartments. Illegal subletting robs you of your ability to screen building occupants. Sign up with a group like www.SubletAlert.com, and you’ll get 24/7 monitoring of popular subletting sites online and quick email notification of any mischief detected.
You may need to follow up by evicting the illegal “extra” piggyback renter. Or, you may need to evict the original leaser too if it comes to that. But knowing IS the battle in this case, so signing up for alerts is in your best interests.
4. Rules Are Constantly Broken
Without some basic rules and guidelines, people can’t live together in peace. Your property manager (which may be you) may be getting constant violations from the same tenant.
Maybe someone is sneaking pets into a “no pets allowed” unit. Or maybe he/she is playing very loud music and disturbing a neighbor. Parking in someone else’s parking space might be another violation.
You don’t want to drive good tenants away based on very minor infractions, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Only have rules you intend to enforce, and let everyone know ahead of time what those rules are and what are the consequences when those rules get broken. In extreme cases, where property is being destroyed, demand compensation on pain of eviction.