Even with thorough tenant screenings and contract agreements, if you are a landlord you can still wind up with problem tenants. At some point in your career you may need to evict a tenant, but steps can be taken to solve conflict before an eviction notice is necessary. Learning how to deal with bad tenants will allow you to resolve any issues that may arise in a professional manner. Here’s how to handle some common problems:

Payment Problems

Paying rent in a timely manner is arguably the most important responsibility of a tenant, and your revenue stream depends on it. Outline late payments and fines in your rental policies to ensure expectations are clear from the start. As with any issue regarding finances, communication with your tenant is key. Learn what is hindering your tenant from making full payments. It may be an unsteady cash flow or temporary unemployment; if this is the case, restructuring a payment method is the most effective action to take. In the event that a tenant completely stops paying rent, you will need to serve a Nonpayment of Rent notice, notifying the tenant that they must pay rent within a given period or leave.

Disruptive Tenants

Tenants’ activities can impact their neighbors directly. If you receive complaints about your tenants, be sure to record the complaint and document it clearly. Should you ever need to bring the situation to court, your written account may be used as evidence. Disruptive tenants should be notified of their poor conduct and given an opportunity to fix their behavior. Politely remind them of the lease terms and possible consequences if problems persist.

Property Damage

Ideally, tenants would leave a space in the same shape as they found it—realistically, this is not always the case. Property damage beyond the daily “wear and tear” should be documented, and a written request for repairs should be sent to the tenant. Damage too large for tenants to handle can be fixed by yourself of a hired professional; determine a payment plan with your tenant after the repairs are complete. Your lease should explain where responsibilities fall regarding property damage, whether negligent or deliberate.

Violation of Rules

Landlords may become aware of violations such as an animal in a pet-free property or an unauthorized roommate. You may witness a tenant violating a lease or learn of a violation through a third party. Whichever way you learn of it, notifying the tenant of the violation is essential. Send a letter to the tenant describing the violation and request that the tenant corrects the problem in a given timeframe, emphasizing that failure to correct the problem may lead to eviction. If they do not comply with your request, you can judge whether the suitable course of action is eviction.

To deal with difficult tenants of any sort, landlords should follow a firm course of action. With clear communication and proper documentation, it is possible to resolve conflicts before eviction is necessary. If you don’t want to face these common landlord issues head-on, consider using the expertise of a property management company such as Noahs’ Preferred Properties.