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7 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Tenants

As a property manager, you know that there are two kinds of tenants: the ones who pay their rent on time and don’t cause any trouble, and the others. The “others” is a broad category that includes everything from those who don’t pay their rent to those who are constantly calling with problems to those who want special accommodations like extra parking spaces or larger kitchens. But what can you do when one of these difficult tenants starts causing trouble? You have obligations as a landlord—obligations that include making sure your property is well-maintained, well-managed, and safe for all residents. So let’s talk about how to deal with some of those difficult tenants out there!

1.0 Be Prepared

  • Have a plan in place.
  • Know your rights and responsibilities.
  • Know your tenant’s rights and responsibilities as well as the laws that apply to your situation and theirs, respectively (i.e., local landlord-tenant law).
  • Have a list of resources available to you (your company, experienced landlords) when dealing with difficult tenants so that you can be prepared for any eventuality or scenario that may arise during their tenancy and beyond into the future if they move out on good terms or bad ones (and regardless of whether they’re still living there).
  • Have an even longer list of resources available on how best to deal with difficult tenants who are moving out (and/or still living there) so that when they leave behind some kind of mess—and they will—you’ll know where/how/when best  to clean it up before calling someone else in who may not have experience dealing specifically with this kind of situation before either making things worse or charging too much money based on inexperience alone.”

2.0 Compromise

If you want to avoid difficult tenants and the headaches they bring, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what is and isn’t worth fighting for. Some landlords believe that every tenant should be treated equally and fairly, but this can result in losing money as well as peace of mind. Instead, consider creating a list of what is important to YOU (such as keeping your property clean and safe) versus what is important TO THEM (such as having pets or having access to their unit after hours).

Once you have this list laid out next to each other, compromise on those things that aren’t super important to either party. In return for giving up some rights on things like pets, get something valuable back from them—like paying rent on time every month! This way everyone gets something out of the deal—and no one has any reason why they can’t live together harmoniously.

3.0 Communicate Clearly

Communication is a key component in any relationship, and that’s especially true when it comes to managing your property. Communication can be the difference between having a tenant who pays their rent on time, or one who gives you an endless stream of excuses and takes advantage of your good nature.

If you want to keep your tenants happy and avoid unnecessary headaches, make sure that you communicate clearly with them about what is expected from them (and from anyone else who may live in their unit). You should:

  • Communicate often – don’t wait until something bad has happened before reaching out! Your tenants will appreciate getting updates regularly.
  • Use email or text messages whenever possible; phone calls are okay too but they may not be as effective at conveying information if there is any confusion over written communication.
  • Write down what it is that needs to be said before making the call/text so there are no misunderstandings later on.
  • Don’t use contractions (for example “I’ll” instead of “I will”) or slang terms such as “cool” or “sick”; this could confuse people who aren’t native English speakers.
7 Tips for Dealing with Difficult Tenants
Photo by Nolan Issac on Unsplash

4.0 Be Professional

You can avoid a lot of conflict with tenants by being professional. Here are some tips:

  • Stay calm. If you’re getting angry or emotional, it will be difficult for you to deal effectively with your tenant’s behaviour.
  • Be polite and respectful to your tenants at all times. You’ll have an easier time asking them to leave if they respect you as a landlord, rather than viewing you as an adversary or enemy.
  • Don’t lose your temper or get angry when dealing with difficult tenants–it will only make things worse! When someone is yelling at us, we often react negatively by shouting back even louder–but this doesn’t solve anything; instead, it just keeps the argument going longer than necessary until eventually one person gives up out of exhaustion from having been yelled at so much already! Instead try listening carefully during these moments: what does this person actually want? Are there any other ways I could help them achieve their goal without making us both more upset than when we started talking about these issues?

5.0 Get Organised

To keep track of all your tenant’s interactions, you should create a file and folder structure that allows you to easily find past communications, documents, and receipts. You can use folders on your computer or physical folders and binders in your office.

Here are some key files that you should have:

  • A folder for each tenant with all communications from them including emails, texts or letters. You don’t need every single message but having everything in one place makes it easy to go back through when something comes up later down the road.
  • The rental agreement that covers things like rent payment schedules and consequences for non-payment (late fees etc.).

6.0 Don’t Take It Personally

When dealing with difficult tenants, you must remember to not take it personally. This might be another person’s home and family, but it’s also your responsibility and livelihood. If you let them get to you, it will only cause more stress for both parties. Instead of letting your emotions dictate how you deal with a difficult tenant situation, try setting aside some time every day to think about what happened that day without letting any emotions cloud your judgment or alter your perspective on the situation. By doing this regularly, over time it’ll become easier to deal with these situations professionally instead of emotionally.

7.0 Stay Cool​

If a tenant says something rude or nasty to you, don’t take it personally. Just keep your cool and stay professional. Remember that it’s not worth losing your temper over them—you need to keep yourself in check so that they can’t get under your skin and use it as an excuse to get out of paying rent or breaking other lease obligations.

Don’t let them drag you into their drama by making threats or getting emotional yourself. If they’re causing trouble, then just calmly tell them how their behaviour is affecting other tenants (and therefore hurting the property). If necessary, let the tenant know that if there’s a problem with their tenancy and/or rental payments then you can arrange for eviction proceedings if necessary (but don’t threaten eviction unless there’s no other option).

If you're a landlord, difficult tenants are a part of the business. Here are some tips for dealing with them.
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

If you’re a landlord, difficult tenants are a part of the business. Here are some tips for dealing with them.

It’s not always easy to know what qualifies as difficult behaviour in this industry. Landlords who are prepared for difficult tenants can avoid a lot of headaches by knowing how to handle them when they come up.

I hope these tips have helped you to understand how to deal with difficult tenants. Remember, if you ever feel like the situation is too much for you to handle, there are always other options available. For example, if your tenant has failed to pay rent and continues to refuse communication attempts from both you and a third-party mediator, you can choose eviction proceedings as an alternative means of resolving this issue.

For more tips for real estate photographers and real estate agents, visit the HauzPhotographers blog.