Although investing in rental properties can be a lucrative strategy for building your nest egg, it’s not without its downsides. One downside is difficult residents. Although most will be likable and easy to deal with, you might have to deal with problematic residents. If you’re prepared for such situations, you’ll be better able to handle them effectively and fairly.
As a rule, it’s always best to avoid acting out of anger at any time. Angry encounters are more likely to result in bad feelings between you and your residents — and could increase the chances of litigation. Instead, step back, evaluate the situation calmly, and try to come up with a solution that’s fair and satisfactory for both parties. Also, don’t threaten action unless you’re willing to follow through. Otherwise, your residents will learn that they can get away with bad behavior without repercussions. The following are helpful examples of difficult situations you may encounter with residents and ideas for how to mitigate them:
The late-paying or nonpaying resident First, make sure you clearly outline in writing the monthly rent total, day it’s due, and late or nonpayment consequences. If you don’t receive rent by the due date, act quickly. Put a notice on the resident’s door warning that if he or she doesn’t pay the rent within the grace period you outlined in your lease, you will evict him or her. However, don’t threaten eviction if you don’t intend to follow through.
The destructive resident Don’t assume because you haven’t heard from your resident that everything is fine. Schedule a walk-through of the premises every month. Check for maintenance and repair needs as well as resident damage. Whether accidental or on purpose, you need to hold the resident accountable. You can bill her or him directly or withhold a portion of the damage deposit. If the resident continues his or her destructive behavior, don’t be afraid to start eviction proceedings. Also, make sure you and your property are properly insured.
The resident who causes disturbances To begin, ensure you’ve outlined unacceptable noise levels and behavior in your lease. On the first incident, calmly hear out the resident’s side and work with him or her to come up with a solution. If the behavior continues, let the authorities deal with it and begin the eviction process.
Avoid problems The best way to avoid problems with residents is by beginning with a thorough screening process. Call references, check rental histories, and do background and credit checks. Make sure the lease clearly states what’s expected of resident and landlord. Be understanding but firm, and act promptly after any incidents.
Another way to reduce problems is to use a professional property management company as a barrier between you and your residents. This method is extremely effective for those who do not have the time or desire to deal with difficult residents. A team, like ours at Universal Property Management, can alleviate the pressures you face when dealing with problematic residents.