With more than 2 million evictions happening every year, landlords are getting their property back from bad tenants all the time. However, any landlord knows that dealing with problem tenants is no simple ordeal. It’s a costly and time-consuming headache that makes everyone feel crummy.
Here’s what you can do to rid your property of bad tenants and maybe skip some of the drama.
What NOT to Do
While there are some clear ways you could intimidate or push people off of a property, they’re not all legal. In fact, if you cross a line and do something illegal, your eviction could turn into a massive headache. You could end up in court when you need to be running your property.
You could end up in court or in jail if you change the locks on paying tenants. Remember that tenants have rights and that you’re violating the law if you prohibit your tenants from entering a home they have a lease to. If they’re a paying tenant who has a record of being responsible, it’s going to blow up on you and you could even lose your property.
You also can’t turn off their utilities either. While this can be a way to upset them, cutting the power they pay for not only violates their rights but might also violate utility companies’ property.
Some landlords have considered just moving a tenants belongings, but that’s not a way forward either. It’s a violation of their property and a form of harassment. Your only real recourse is to file an eviction.
Here’s how to get things started.
Save Your Receipts
One of the most surefire ways to get a tenant to move on is to keep records of everything. If you can prove that they’ve been bad tenants, they might not want to fight you. If you charge them with not paying their rent, make sure you have a record of the payments they have made so that you have strong proof.
Pictures, videos, or any other documentation showing their wrongdoing is powerful. You can easily win a court case if you have arrest records or police reports of an event that happened.
This is going to require more legwork on your end, but it ends with a clean eviction that doesn’t hang over you for years.
Get Them to Sign an Agreement
Whether you want to have them sign this before they move in or implement the policy later, a relationship agreement can be powerful. You can let your tenants know how to treat you and what you expect from them. Tell them also what they can expect from you.
You can hold one another accountable. This makes things much more equal. If you’ve said that a rent payment that’s five days late is okay, then you can’t get mad about it later. However, if you tell them that after five days, you can take action, they can’t be surprised if you do.
Taking action can mean hassles for you, so take the time to get tenants on your side. Being kind and helpful can go a long way. While not every tenant will be amenable to this, some will be so happy to have a friendly landlord that they’ll never make any waves.
Consider a Property Manager
Rather than struggling with your tenants, you can put prophylaxis between the two of you. Via a property manager, you can enact policies and take action. If someone violates your agreements, it’s much easier to lay down the law via your property manager than on your own.
Every property manager will have a specialty. They’re likely to specialize in certain services and working with certain types of properties.
Understand that you’ll be working closely with your property managers, so hire someone who it’s easy to communicate with. If you struggle to communicate, you’ll be dually frustrated, with your tenant who is acting poorly and with your property managers who don’t seem to know what to do about it
Ask Tenants to Leave
If you just can’t get along with a tenant, consider just asking them to leave. Some people don’t want to be anywhere that they’re not wanted. It’s an awkward feeling.
You could send them a written notice to vacate, which will make it clear that you want them to leave. A voluntary exit isn’t easy but it’s not impossible.
You can’t just force a tenant to leave without going through the eviction process. This is a headache for both parties, so it’s much better to simply be clear.
Begin the Eviction
If you can’t make headway via any other channels, it might be time to just evict them. Evicting a tenant should always be your last resort. You’re going to have to pay for a lawyer, go through some complicated legal processes, and end up having to do work on your home as tenants might destroy it.
If a tenant fails to pay their rent, you have legal recourse through eviction. If their lease ended and you’re not renewing, they have to move out, otherwise, you have to evict them.
Tenants who violate the terms of the lease agreement can be evicted as well. All of these steps require proof on your part, so make sure you have it.
Dealing With Bad Tenants Is Never Easy
While you may have been looking for a simple way to deal with problem tenants, the fact of the matter is that it’s never easy. There are no shortcuts. There are only bad tenants who cause you stress and those who don’t.
If you inherited the property you’re dealing with, follow our guide to ensure that you’re making all the right moves.