The late rental payments. The noise. The police are called, and your other renters are complaining. A difficult tenant is a property owner's worst nightmare. Whether it is a professional tenant who is always late paying their rent or a loud renter who disturbs others, here's how to handle a difficult renter. We will also explore how an Atlanta property management company can help you avoid difficult renters in the future—and improve your bottom line.
Dealing with Difficult Renters
They are an Atlanta property owner's worst nightmare, but difficult renters do not always start that way. They might present as your typical renter and try to befriend you. At some point, they may ask for favors or help if they fall behind on their rent. However, these small instances are isolated at first.
Over time, they may exhibit behavior that's hard to miss. It might include after-hour or weekend emergency calls about other neighbors. They may fight with other renters and escalate matters to get the police involved. Some professional renters will push to start a lawsuit against you or refuse to pay their rent in some instances. They might also delinquently pay their rent late every month—but promise to get caught up (yet they never do).
In the worst cases of terrible tenants, you might have to take them to court. Suing tenants or pursuing legal eviction in Atlanta are lengthy and costly problems that investors should try to avoid.
What Can You Do?
They're a hassle, but property owners must follow legal processes and best practices to resolve issues with troublesome tenants. When dealing with difficult renters:
- Always stay calm, be patient, and listen to their side. Even if you think they are wrong, listening goes a long way to diffuse a hostile situation. You are also protecting yourself because a difficult renter might say in court that you refused to hear their requests.
- Keep written records of everything and save a log of all conversations. Use a ticketing system to receive work orders and renter requests. Stay on track with this and mark each item as complete.
- Accept that some tenants will always be difficult. They may purposely have a victim mindset. They might also have underlying disorders that affect their behavior. Because certain personality types look for trouble with their landlord, keep every conversation amicable and always stay polite. A disgruntled renter may secretly record you looking for trouble, a way out of their lease, or a reason to sue you for discrimination.
- Call the police if you have a renter who becomes belligerent or if they harass or threaten you. You can also call the police for noise complaints. Documenting each incident can help you build your case should you decide to evict and sue the renter or not renew their lease.
Developing a mindset and process for difficult tenants helps Atlanta investors reach peaceful resolutions, more often than not.
Preventing Difficult Renters in the Future
Because you cannot tell who might be difficult, use your credit, background, and criminal checks as a way to highlight red flags of potentially bad tenants. You can also pull eviction histories on your potential renters. By screening each applicant thoroughly, it can help you avoid difficult renters in the future.
Here are a few tips to help you recognize good tenants, avoid bad ones, and maintain professional relationships with all residents:
- Avoid potential renters who want to become friends. Do not establish a friendship with tenants to keep the relationship professional.
- Do not rent to friends and family. They may put you on the spot or ask for extra allowances that you would not tolerate with other renters, like late rent, loud noise, and late-night parties.
- Beware of potential tenants without references who want to pay in cash. A professional renter will not have references. They might give you the phone number of a friend or relative they stayed with. Be concerned if they state they have only lived with relatives or friends, use alias names, or provide fake social security numbers. They want to secure the housing before you run a credit check and might even pay in cash.
The best way to deal with difficult tenants (or avoid them completely) is to hire an Atlanta property management company! Your property manager is a buffer that can help you avoid difficult tenants. They can also carefully screen potential renters beforehand and help you find the most qualified applicants for your listings.
Difficult Tenants Are No Match for Atlanta Property Management
Professional renters can make property management extremely difficult. To avoid the scenarios described above, always carefully screen your applicants. Run background, credit, and eviction checks, and verify all references. However, to benefit from the best renters and tenant management, hire an Atlanta property management company!
The GTL Real Estate team is your local experts to handle difficult tenants and experience better tenant placement. When investors don't deal with the hassles of bad renters, they enjoy better renewal rates and ROIs. If bad residents are a problem, let's talk about how we can handle them for you!
For more information about what to look for in an excellent property manager, download "The Guide to Finding the Best Atlanta Property Management Company."