Dealing With Unwanted Tenant Issues

By on January 27, 2014

No landlord ever goes into a lease expecting things to go bad. Despite their best wishes and a tenants best intentions, things happen. Through no fault of their own, a tenant may lose their job or become sick, setting in motion a series of events that will hamper their ability to pay on time. Since the house is the most important expense, they will try to hold out as long as they can. A few days past the first of the month may turn into a week, or even longer. How you react to unwanted tenant issues will make all the difference between a successful resolution and a trip to the courthouse for eviction.

Yes, you are running a business. However, the first thing you need to understand is that most tenants do not fall behind on payments intentionally. They would much rather have their jobs and a place to live than struggle to pay the rent. This is a difficult time for them. While their inability to pay rent is an issue for you, it is certainly a bigger problem for them. Yelling and screaming at them to pay will typically get you nowhere. Instead, sit down with them, get to the root of the problem and quickly find a solution.

If it appears to be a short term problem, you may be able to come up with a compromise that benefits everyone. This doesn’t mean letting them live rent free, but consider reducing the rent for a short period of time. A smaller rent is certainly better than an eviction. If there is a way to work it out that works for you and avoids eviction, it should be considered. If not, you need to start the eviction process as soon as possible.

As soon as you know they are having a problem, find out how much they can pay and when they can pay it. You want to be compassionate and understanding, but you also need to be firm with your dates. If they say they can pay half the rent by next week, you had better make sure they do. Once they start missing these revised dates, problems start to compound. Everyone has a story and everyone has issues, but you can’t run your business a month behind just because you feel bad for your tenant.

If you see that they cannot make the payment at all, set up a date as soon as possible to get them out. The quicker they leave, the quicker you can have cash coming in. Even though you don’t have to, you can offer cash incentives if they move out in 30 days. Don’t look at it like you are wasting this money. Instead, you are actually gaining money by having rental income come in faster. Plus, you never know when you will see your tenant again. Doing someone a favor when they are down could help you somewhere down the road.

Dealing with bad tenants is the worst part of being a landlord. The quicker you face any problems head on, the easier they will be to deal with.