Difficult Tenants: 5 Tips for Landlords
Handling difficult tenants is no easy task and if not handled well it may backfire to you or your property. What should be done to these difficult to deal with tenants? Here are a few ways you can tackle your tenants’ behaviour and get a peaceful solution out of the situation.
- Screen Prospective Tenants
- Communicate To Resolve Issues
- Set Clear Rules and Policies
- Focus On Important Obligations
- Settle Things Legally
Screen Prospective Tenants
You have to be extensively careful before selecting a tenant for your rental property. Screening is one of the first steps that save you from having to deal with difficult tenants.
When you put in the effort to screen your tenant, half of the problems are sorted at that very moment. Just imagine, you let an unqualified renter in your property without screening, the person is always late on payments, and they’re completely the opposite of what you want. Just the thought of that is enough to give you chills.
An excellent way to avoid this is to meet your prospects and make sure you screen them for a credit report and background check. This way, you get insights into their estimated income, their credit score and verify their identity.
At the end of the day, you would want to rent your property to someone clear of any financial problems and criminal history. This will go a long way in preventing an unwanted issue with the lease.
Communicate To Resolve Issues
As a landlord, you have to be professional, especially when dealing with bad tenants. No matter what happens, never break that rule. If your tenant is not answering your texts or calls, then inform them of your visit and talk.
Remember, when communicating to resolve issues, your first focus should be getting to the root of the problem and then coming up with the solution to solve the problem. For instance, if your tenant is having problems paying the rental due to job dismissal, you can come up with a written agreement for a payment structure that can convert big rent payments into an easier-to-pay amount.
You set your conditions to make sure the tenant finishes off the overdue in the next few months. This, in return, will give the tenant some time to come up with the payment, and you can avoid costly eviction.
That is one of the many positive ways of resolving things. If there is any kind of miscommunication, it will go away when you sit to talk to each other. You can’t just get up and be at their doorstep, shouting and screaming. You have to be calm and find an easy way out of the trouble; it helps you put ice on the heat.
Set Clear Rules and Policies
One of your essential tasks as a landlord is to make sure you set clear rules and policies that will protect your property from damages and losses. That’s why it’s imperative you draft a comprehensive lease that is legally binding. Here are some clauses you can include in the tenancy lease to protect your property:
- Actions Toward Overdue Rent: This part highlights the actions you will take in the event the tenant pays their rent late or does not pay their rent. The action may include a verbal notice, court letter and eviction notice depending on how you would like to handle the situation.
- Utility Payment and Collection: You highlight the timeline in which the bills will be generated and sent for the tenant’s reference. Then you set the due date for the tenant to make the bill payment.
- Tenant’s Obligation: This highlights the tenant’s top obligations, which may include paying the rent, bills and maintaining the habitability of the property – free from damages, dangers and unhygienic conditions.
- Damage or Destruction: This section lists down the type of damages and destruction, then the results or actions that you will take in the event that the tenant inflicts them.
You can also include more clauses depending on how you want to protect the property. The more specific and detailed your rules and policies are, the better they will be for your property.
Think about all the valuable things you want to protect and include them in the lease. This way, you can take action if the items go missing or get damaged.
Focus On Important Obligations
It’s hard to satisfy everyone, especially your difficult tenants. They can be full of complaints and seem like you can do nothing to satisfy them. If this happens, one thing to remember is to include your main obligations in the lease. Here are some of your obligations as a landlord:
- Perform regular inspections, and maintenance for the exterior of the property
- Carry out repair works if the damages occurred are out of the tenant’s control.
- Ensure there are sufficient safety measures against fire
- Ensure the safety of the electricity system and all electrical appliances
To avoid getting into sticky situations, we advise you to be descriptive and specific when you explain those obligations.
Your obligations can be both negative and positive. Negative obligations are the actions you should not do, for example, visit the property without any prior notice, while positive obligations are actions that you should do, like maintaining your property’s facilities.
Once you’ve laid out your obligations in the lease, only focus on those, tell your tenant in advance about this and tell them that they’re responsible for addressing the issues not included in the lease. Trust us. This will save you from so much time dealing with odd complaints.
Settle Things Legally
When all else fails, things get out of hand and nothing polite works with the tenants. Then the only option is to terminate the tenancy and settle things legally.
Despite having all the necessary clauses included in the tenancy agreement to protect your property from overdue rental. If your tenant breaches the agreement you cannot simply kick them out. You need to follow the proper legal procedures. Here are a few things you should know.
- You need to have a legally binding tenancy agreement; remember that it needs to be LHDN stamped in order for you to officially legalise it.
- Give appropriate eviction notice that will serve as a grace period for your tenant to move out or come up with the money to pay the overdue rent.
- File an eviction order in court for outstanding rental, recovery of premises and all possessions belonging to you and double rental.
Avoid evicting the tenant yourself through force or barging into the property! This would end up in a messy civil lawsuit against you for breaching their rights and section 7 (2) of the Specific Relief Act 1950.
Also, don’t forget that filing an eviction order is not easy; it can take up to 7 months and RM10,000. It is not only lengthy but also costly. If you’re not up for this risk, you can opt for renting out your property on SPEEDHOME instead, where SPEEDHOME will help you file the eviction letter and assist you in regaining the vacant property back.