Owners of rental property frequently have to deal with tenant-related problems. Rental management is not an exact science, and much of it depends on a solid business relationship with the tenant. When problem tenants are allowed to cause trouble, their activities can cause the remainder of your tenants to feel that they are being treated unfairly. They can also cause disturbances which upset your other tenants and lead to good tenants moving out.
There are many proven strategies to deal with tenant issues. Dennis DeGrazia, a prominent real estate developer in Massachusetts, offers strategies and tips to landlords when it comes to dealing with tenant problems large and small.
It is rare that a problem tenant comes out of nowhere. It is more likely that this behavior began at an earlier rental and has been carried forward into the future. Make sure that you perform all due diligence when processing the application to rent. Thoroughly check the tenant’s credit score, rental history and references, and background check. Make sure that they are upfront with you about any issues they may experience, including new pets, children, and maintenance issues.
Have a Professional Attitude
It is a good idea to treat your tenants with respect and professionalism. Even if you have a small building, it is not a good idea to get involved with your tenants’ personal lives. Be cordial and friendly but make your interactions with them professional in nature.
Dealing with rental properties can be uniquely frustrating, and it is understandable that you may experience negative emotions. It is vital to suppress these feelings as much as possible and to handle tenant problems according to a prewritten set of guidelines. Getting angry with your tenants in person will only cause problems down the road. If you model professional behavior, your tenants are less likely to overstep their boundaries.
Dealing with Tenant Conflict
Tenants frequently make their landlord the middleman when it comes to dealing with noise, pet, and mess issues. It is important that you handle these negotiations as professionally as possible. Be sure that you take both parties’ problems into consideration and try to handle it as fairly as possible. Again, it is wise to have a preset guideline on how you will deal with tenant problems and to put these guidelines in the lease.
If your tenant constantly makes maintenance requests, there may be little you can do about this problem. It is best to make sure your property is brought up to high maintenance standards before your tenants move in. Contract with professionals rather than doing the maintenance yourself, if at all possible. If you have some recourse with the company, you will be able to get your maintenance problems fixed with little or no trouble.
Keep lines of communication open between yourself and your tenants. It is smart to use communication methods that your tenants will respond to easily. For most people, text alerts are preferred over phone calls and emails. These alerts can help your tenants get on top of their responsibilities and give them easy ways to keep up with your company.
If you are open to talking with your tenant, you will reduce future problems and eliminate the possibility that they will claim they did not know what you wanted.
Get it in Writing
Document everything possible in writing and with photos. Your tenants can also use this method to make sure everything remains above-board. For example, if a maintenance person has gone to one of your units and made a poor repair, your tenants can take photos of the problem and send them to you.
Get in the habit of putting everything in writing, using tenant management software to keep a record of all of your interactions with a tenant. This can give you the ability to spot potential future difficulties before they arise.
If your tenant violates his or her lease, take quick action. If you put it off, they will not see the consequences of their actions. Notify the tenant immediately if you have a problem and refer them to their lease or your documentation. You will need to make sure that you keep on top of these issues to make sure your tenants take proper care of your unit.
When managing a rental property of any kind, Dennis DeGrazia reminds landlords that it pays to keep on top of any problems that may occur. If you properly pre-screen all of your tenants, you may be able to avoid encountering any of these issues. Record-keeping is crucial, and a professional attitude will help smooth things over.