In property management, difficult tenants are an unpleasant but inevitable part of the industry. While having a strong tenant screening process, such as background and credit checks, help to leave out bad applicants and protect your business, some will still find their way to your properties.
There are no easy solutions for dealing with a difficult tenant. From late rent to damaging the property, bad renters can get under your skin. However, the key to handling some of those difficult conversations and potentially confrontational situations is by learning how to keep your cool.
In this article, we’ll highlight a few practical suggestions to help you stay calm and keep a level head when dealing with difficult tenants.
A Landlord’s Guide to Handling Difficult Tenants
1. Actively Communicate with Your Tenants
Before situations turn into confrontations, it’s best to instruct your tenants on how to communicate. When discussing the lease agreement, be clear about how your renters can reach you with questions, issues, or concerns.
Be open and transparent about how you plan to address their issues and provide them with a timeline to avoid tenant conflict. Setting the expectation earlier on and teaching renters how to communicate with you to get what they want can often deter problems in the future.
2. Keep All Documents Organised and Ready
Record keeping and documentation are vital for a landlord. It is always best to document every interaction with a tenant and all work done during their occupancy of the property. By doing so, you can eliminate unnecessary contradictions by having proof.
For example, a difficult tenant might be arguing with you about a late payment, claiming to have forgotten the due date. However, if you can produce documentation that you have contacted the renter about late rent earlier by phone, email, or mail, it will significantly reduce their ability to argue.
3. Negotiate in a Calm and Rational Manner
If you find yourself in an escalating tenant conflict that involves raised voices, consider taking a step back to collect your thoughts. Approach the conversation calmly and rationally and look for ways to negotiate the situation in a peaceful manner.
Explaining why certain policies are in place can elaborate on the motives behind your side of the argument without causing more conflict. Asking the disgruntled tenant what they would do in your situation might also be helpful as their response might help you find common ground from which to renegotiate.
4. Telling Difficult Tenants to Go
Sometimes, despite your best pre-screening efforts, you will encounter a difficult tenant that needs to go. Instead of engaging in an exhausting conversation, consider moving forward with your eviction process whenever they fail to pay their rent.
Evicting your tenant should be a last resort since the process can be costly. An occasional disagreement can be negotiated, but routine violations will take up too much time and impact your income. Recognise your difficult renters early on and move to solve the situation before things become confrontational.
5. Hire A Professional Property Manager
Some tenants are just difficult to deal with, no matter how much you try to please them. Instead of dealing with them yourself, it is in your best interest to let a professional property manager handle them for you.
This is because property agents can help settle the tenancy agreement professionally. Both sides will benefit with mutually agreed conditions and instructions stated clearly in black and white, minimising any unhappiness or dispute that could occur. Having a liaison between you and the renter can be helpful too, in enforcing compliance.
Hassle-Free Rentals with Rumah-i
When things go smoothly with your tenants, your job as a landlord is easy. However, in reality, we know all too well that not every situation can be a pleasant one.
Rumah-i’s Home Renting App helps landlords with our rental management service. New tenants can apply on the spot with convenience and ease, and landlords can take their time ruling out applicants until they find the ones best suited for their property.