Tips For Dealing With Trouble Tenants

Posted by Chad Braungart on

Ahh yes, so you have a situation on your hands and it’s not a fun one.  You have a tenant who is not behaving well.  Whether you’re dealing with late payers, drug dealers, or noisy ones, you need to get things under control.  Let’s look at some tips and tricks which can help you get things back in order!

  • Remain Calm -   This is a business so don’t get personal and yell or let your emotions come into play.  Once your emotions come into play, then it will make things worse for everyone.  Be polite yet firm with any requests for compliance.
  • Keep the lines of communication open - Communication is critical!  Call and leave voicemails, text them, drop by and knock on their door, drop off letters.  Keep this up consistently and be persistent.  Don’t lose communication. Follow up.  If you are unsuccessful with any sort of communication after repeated attempts, Follow up again.  A tenant who refuses to communicate is not a responsible person you want to deal with.
  • Drop off Forms- You need to be form driven.  Forms for this and forms for that.  Drop off a late rent form.  Drop off the payment plan form.  Drop off the violation notice form.  Be persistent.  Get their attention through forms.  Depending on the individual, they may reach out which gives you a way to calmly advise the situation and what needs to be done to correct it.  
  • Start a new project - Okay, how is starting a new project relevant to dealing with a bad tenant?  Starting a repair project such as replacing boards on the front porch on the property with the bad tenant allows you to show up consistently to the property and allows more opportunities to meet the tenant.  It shows that you care about the property.  Many times people think landlords just want to sit back and collect checks and not do anything with the place the tenants live at.  Having the initiative to show up and fix or improve something shows that you are not a slumlord and want a nice place to live for them.  
  • Offer Incentives - Sometimes you need to dangle the carrot in someones face for them to become motivated, myself included!  Providing an incentive to correct their actions or get caught up on rent may give them motivation to move towards that goal, and you can reward them with things like replacing their old kitchen faucet, painting one of their rooms, or even an Amazon gift card could be enough for them to act on your incentive.  
  • Follow your local laws - If you’re planning on turning off the heat, please don’t. Make sure you are aware of your local and federal laws.  Don’t be that person who makes landlords out to be bad people and have news articles written about them.  We have a difficult time just dealing with the job at hand, let alone trying to defeat the slumlord stigma.
  • Install Cameras - Cameras tend to change how a person responds if they know they are being recorded.  A camera system may help with nuisances or issues with drug dealers.  Drop off forms to them stating you will be installing surveillance cameras.  Put them on notice!
  • Cash for keys - If the tenant is destroying your place beyond recognition, the neighbors are talking about how you’re a bad person, it may be time to part ways with the tenant.  Offering physical cash to leave can be great motivation for them to leave if they agree.  If you live in a state where the court system is very tenant friendly, this might be a better option than eviction.  It might go against your beliefs of paying someone who may not be paying you to live in your apartment, but the key here is to regain possession of the property.  
  • Start the Eviction Process - If you are unsuccessful in keeping the lines of communication open with calling, texting, emailing, or physically showing up to talk with them, it may be time to start the eviction process.  This is best handled by an eviction attorney so you do not waste time with any mistakes.  
  • Continue communications even after the eviction process has begun - If you are going down this avenue, keep dropping off forms as sometimes you may have the tenants reach out.  You can always stop the eviction process.  Be courteous with the outreach. 

Dealing with bad tenants can create more issues besides a non-payment of rent and getting things back under control can be a challenge.  Are there any other ideas or strategies for handling bad tenants you can think of?


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