Dealing with Bad Tenants

(November 29, 2013)

housingWhen you rent your property to someone, you do so with the faith the person or family will be good tenants. Other than the occasional late rent, you hope not to encounter any trouble. If day late rent is the biggest problem you experience, count yourself as being very lucky. Many landlords find (usually too late) that they have bad tenants, which can be quite the headache. Often, tenants don’t treat the home as their own and therefore take very poor care of it. Some might annoy or fight with the neighbors. Some might stop paying rent all together. As much of a pain as they might be, you need to make sure you’re on top of these matters so you can deal with them properly and efficiently. And if you can’t work things out with these tenants, it is time to take further steps.

Get Your Information in Order

Make sure you have all of your information and documents relating to the situation in order. This will include your lease agreements, as well as any emails or messages between you and the tenants. It might also mean documents or statements from neighbors who have had issues with the tenants. Make sure you also have documentation of money paid by the tenant as well as any money that is outstanding.

Keep Things Civil

Naturally, you might feel frustration and anger towards these bad tenants and the situation they have put you in. The worst thing you can do is blow your lid! You need to maintain your calm and collected behavior every step of the way. If you stoop to the tenant's level of bad behavior, it will only worsen matters. If you feel you will have trouble keeping civil, simply extricate yourself from the situation. This ensures you will not to anything you will later regret.

Get an Eviction Attorney

Start working with an attorney who specializes in eviction and can help you through the process. It can take some time to evict bad tenants from a dwelling (I know this all too well) and you need to make sure you have a good lawyer on your side. They can make the eviction flow smoothly, or at least as smooth as can be. You can remove yourself from the thick of it to avoid any missteps. Make sure you research your attorney though; you want to be working with the best.

After you have an attorney on your side, check in on the process regularly. While they are able to take care of the job, it is important that you know what is happening every step of the way. Before long, you will have your property back from those unruly tenants.

What to Do Next

Now that you have your property back, you must make the decision, do you rent it out again or hang your hat as a landlord and sell it. If the eviction wiped you out financially, selling might be the better option. If you owe little to nothing on the property, then that rental income might not be smart to walk away from. There is no textbook right or wrong answer, it’s purely personal once you’ve laid out the pros and cons. If you’re currently dealing with bad tenants, I wish you the best of luck. It’s a long and stressful road. I know, I’m currently in the thick of it with a home I just took off of a seller’s hands recently. He decided selling to me, with the unruly tenant still in place, was his best option.

Topics: landlord issues

Jennifer Shenbaum

Written by Jennifer Shenbaum

Jennifer Shenbaum is a real estate investor based in Southern California. She is a veteran of the housing market crash of 2007. Best of all, she offers free remodeling ideas to all who ask.

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