Tenant Issues – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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Tenant Issues – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Tenant Issues – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Real estate investors and property managers can improve their tenant relations by dealing with tenant issues quickly and fairly. Whether times are good or bad, the cost to re-let a vacant unit can frequently make it a far better investment to retain a tenant who pays their rent on time and is, in all other ways, a good tenant.

Tenant issues can involve complaints on their part, or can require that the property manager or owner deal with the tenant’s activities or payment patterns in a way that keeps things on track and rents paid.

The Good: If you have a tenant who is always on time or early with their rent payments, follows all the rules, and is a good property citizen, then you might want to show them that they are valued. Perhaps a coupon to a local restaurant or other small gift now and then would make them feel that they are appreciated. It could make the difference in keeping them when lease expiration rolls around. At the very least, jump right on their maintenance problems and handle their concerns with respect and interest.

The Bad: This could be a tenant who is a chronic complainer, or one who annoys their neighbors on a regular basis. Or, they may pay the rent late frequently. For whatever reason, you will want to document all interaction with them. If there is a neighbor complaint, document it in writing and provide any warnings or other notices in writing as well. If the situation escalates to “the ugly,” you’ll want to have a record of all your communications with the problem tenant. Always act according to the terms of the lease, as the rules work both ways.

The Ugly: We’ve now reached the stage where the tenant is not paying rent, or their rule-breaking behavior has become a huge problem. We have decided that we want them out of the unit, and a new less troublesome tenant in the unit as soon as possible. Hopefully, you have thoroughly prepared for this eventuality with your attorney’s guidance. Eviction is a relatively speedy process in most states, but that speed is based on the landlord or owner doing everything right and in the correct time frame.

• Have you issued the proper notices to the tenant per your state law?
• In most places, you cannot in any way disturb the property of the tenant, even if they have disappeared.
• If there is no tenant to dispute eviction, or if they lose the dispute, then you will be granted an order of eviction by the court.
• Normally, the order is served after notice by the local sheriff. Again, you cannot open the unit and remove their belongings on your own.
• Be sure to follow the letter of the lease and state law as to how any deposits will be handled, retained or refunded.

Dealing with tenant issues is part of the job of property manager or real estate investor/owner. Preparing for eviction with strong lease documents and the advice of an attorney will make the process run smoother. And, if they are a good tenant, find a way to make them feel appreciated. It could increase your return on investment a lot.



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