Owning property comes with a number of challenges for landlords. Tenants that do not pay rent on time, tenants that sneak animals into the apartment, and tenants that continue to disrupt others are just a few of the common issues landlords handle. How can you prevent a good tenant from suddenly turning into a new one? If you want to avoid bad tenants, learn from out top 5 renting horror stories!
Scenario # 1: Waiting Around for a Check to Arrive — It Never Does
“I have a newer tenant that started out great for 6 months, but then they suddenly stopped paying. I heard every excuse in the book until I finally got fed up and evicted them. We went back and forth in court and we finally ended up getting them out of the apartment 9 months and $3,000 in court fees later.”
A pleasant and well-behaved tenant suddenly shifts from paying on time to being late one month, and then the next month its 15 days late, or the check never comes. No matter the price or the location, landlords will deal with late paying tenants. Warning letters, fees, and eviction notices do not always work for landlords to find a way to get their money. The worst scenarios will normally end with an eviction and the landlord will not be able to recoup the cost.
So what can you do to avoid this situation? Set up a thorough rent collection process well before you begin accepting tenants. Perform a credit check and criminal history record with each applicant. Another aspect to screening a tenant is to contact their previous landlords. If you already have tenants, make sure you clearly communicate with them what is expected of them. Tenants need to know what the policies and procedures are regarding the timeliness of rent payments and late payment fees. Online rent collection systems are a great way to ensure tenants have a way to automate payments, and emails can be sent regarding late payments, upcoming payment emails, and more.
Scenario # 2: Tenants Continue to Clog the Toilet
“We had a tenant call several times in the middle of the night with a toilet that was clogged and overflowing. Turns out there wasn’t an issue with the toilet, the tenants kids kept flushing toys down the toilet.”
Tenants commonly call landlords when they have water problems. Clogged toilets are one of the most common and frustrating issues for landlords. How can you keep tenants from constantly clogging the toilet? Setting up a policy regarding toilets is a great way to ensure tenants clearly understand what is expected of them. If the toilet continues to clog, it may be time to invest in a drain cleaning service to test for tree roots in the system that can cause blockages.
Scenario # 3: The Pet Issue
“My property has a pet policy in place, but we have dealt with 3 tenants that illegally brought in pets. When we discussed the rental agreement with the tenant, they simply shrugged it off and kept living there. When we finally were able to evict them, we had to replace all the carpeting, repainted, and even had to replace doors where the dog chewed them up!”
Landlords often face serious frustrations with landlords that bring pets into the complex even when there is a clear policy in place. Even housebroken pets can struggle to keep the pets from defecating inside the home. If you do not want to end up needing to replace carpet after the tenant moves out, make sure you have a pet policy in place. Regular inspections of the property can help to ensure tenants are abiding by their contract.
Scenario # 4: Tenant Nuisances
“Our worst tenant came along with a number of issues from yelling at other tenants to playing extremely loud music late at night. Our relationship with the tenant became so bad that it took 8 months to finally get them to leave. Unfortunately, they trashed the place, leaving us with thousands of dollars in damage.”
No matter how thorough your screening process goes, there will always be that one person that slips through. Some individuals enjoy being a nuisance to their neighbors, and they tend to get into fights with them. Setting up a clear tenant policy regarding proper tenant behavior will help in this situation as you can evict them for their strong of bad behavior. Check with your city officials regarding noise and nuisances. In some areas, you may need to bring the police in to assist with tenant nuisances.
Scenario # 5: Fire Due to Negligence
“We once had a tenant leave a space heater on when they weren’t home. The space heater ended up catching fire, burning down the entire property.”
Tenants often start unintentional fires, leaving a landlord with a massive bill to pay. Fires are often caused from curling irons that are left on, space heaters, and other things. It is important to have a good insurance policy in place to cover the expenses related to damage.
Hopefully these renting horror stories have given you some direction on how to handle difficult rental situations. For more information on how to manage tenants, call East Bay Property Management and Consulting today!