We do what we can to minimize the risk of bad tenants through credit checks and screening services, but a great tenant on paper may be difficult to deal with in person. Hoarding, unauthorized roommates, late (or no) rent payments, illegal activities — tenant issues come in all levels of severity. With any issue, however, it is important for you to always remain professional: Communicate clearly and quickly, and take the necessary steps — no matter how hard they may be — to maintain a safe and profitable rental.

But what do you do when a problem tenant begins to throw threats in an attempt to avoid an eviction, to intimidate, or to stop you from realizing they’re breaking their lease clauses? How you handle threats from tenants depends on the situation.

Legal Threats Against Landlords

Tenants may make legal threats for discrimination, eviction protection, or constructive eviction. If a tenant is threatening legal action and states she’s involving a lawyer, cease the conversation unless it’s through a lawyer. If the tenant is bluffing, you stopped the conversation from continuing in an unproductive fashion. If the tenant isn’t bluffing, you have a heads up to prepare for a potential court case and retain your own legal counsel if necessary.

Violent Threats

If a tenant is violently threatening you, you have a few judgment calls to make. Your safety and well-being are your top priority in any situation. If you’re in the same physical location with the tenant while he’s making these threats and you’re unable to defuse the situation, leave the property. By removing yourself from the situation, you reduce the risk of physical harm to yourself.

If the tenant is making threats over the phone, make a record of what he said to start a paper trail. Save emails or texts if the tenant communicates with you through those channels. Documentation is important if you have to take your tenant to court due to the threats.

Adhering to Leasing Policies and Procedures

When a tenant signs a lease with East Bay Property Management and Consulting, they are agreeing to the rules, regulations and policies of your rental property. We make sure these are clearly stated in the lease agreement, and provide your tenant with a hard or electronic copy as well. In addition, we walk your tenant through the provisions of the lease before they sign.

A lease agreement should detail what tenants can and can’t do at your property, the amount of rent, when it is due and how it can be paid. In addition, include rules about noise, tenant responsibilities, landlord responsibilities, guidelines on additional occupants, guests, pets, smoking, property maintenance and normal wear and tear.


Bad tenants who threaten need dealt with appropriately. In some situations, you can let the tenant cool down before addressing the problem. In other cases, you need to involve a lawyer or the police. Knowing when to use each option is important for handling a threatening situation appropriately.

Working with East Bay Property Management and Consulting is a great way to avoid the hassle that comes with problem tenant. Let our team help you properly manage your property to avoid difficult situations that could lead to a decline in your monthly rental income.