In the world of landlording, having tenants may seem like a catch-22: you can’t live with them but you can’t live without them. But that’s only true if you have bad tenants, not good ones.
Therefore, the number one thing to do about bad tenants is to avoid them from the get go. That may seem harsh, but after all, you're not in the property management business to run a charity or to offer yourself as someone to be taken advantage of.
Screening New Tenants
There are a number of ways to screen your applicants to maximize the chances of getting a good renter who pays his/her rent on time consistently, someone who doesn’t destroy your property, and doesn’t disturb your other tenants.
First of all, make everyone sign a tenancy agreement that spells out what you expect and what you will do in the case of flagrant violations, ahead of time. Many bad renters will be scared away simply as you communicate this information upfront in no uncertain terms.
Second, do a background check, credit check, interview, and check with a landlord credit bureau to see who may be on a good or bad renters list in their tenant repository.
Third, require a substantial deposit, proof of income, and the first month’s rent upfront. You need to know you are dealing with people who have the means to pay the rent consistently, and you need a deposit to protect yourself against possible damages to your property.
Attract Good Tenants
But it’s really not all on the negative side. You need to encourage good tenants to apply just as surely as you need to discourage bad tenants from applying.
How do you do that? By rewarding people for being good tenants. Here are some ideas in that direction:
● Credit back the deposit to tenants who stay with you a full year without damaging any of your property.
● Let the 12th month’s rent be free if you were paid the first 11 months on time. But charge a 10% late fee as well. Then do the math and adjust your rent so you aren’t losing any profit based on this policy.
● Always keep your property in good condition and be responsive to tenant complaints, if they are reasonable.
● Provide security fences, locks, alarms, and a guard. Provide a top-notch laundry facility for tenants only. Set up a socializing lounge with coke machines, pool tables, and couches.
Make your apartments desirable enough to draw in a lot of applications. Then you can afford to sift through them and apply high tenant standards.
Cracking Down on Bad Tenants
It only takes a laptop and an internet connection to illegally sublet out your units online. That’s the reality landlords face these days. But sign up at SubletAlert.com | get notified when tenants sublet on Airbnb service they provide will prove more than beneficial as it’s a solution to one major tenancy problem.
What about delinquent rent? Here, you need to communicate with your tenants. You don’t want to evict someone who pays, albeit late, especially if they have “a good reason” for their tardiness. But don’t waive the late fee unless it’s a medical emergency or something to that effect.
If a tenant doesn’t pay the rent at all, and there seems to be no intention to do so, you have no choice but to commence eviction proceedings. Outline eviction notices and processes in your tenancy agreement and follow it to the letter: you don’t want to be accused of discrimination.
As to the destruction of property, you can simply charge for it if the value involved is not too high. But if the damage was not accidental, may be repeated, or is extreme in nature, you will have to evict.