Most landlords don’t live in the same building as their tenants and usually avoid any direct confrontations. This might be a good thing when things turn sour. In the worst case scenario, complaints turn to harassment turns to dangerous hostility. When your safety as a landlord becomes compromised, learn how to respond and ask for help without escalating the situation.
We’ll recount a harrowing experience where a tenant turned abusive and how the landlord protected themselves while the eviction process was underway.
Crossing Lines and Boundaries
From day one, the tenant was verbally abusive and rude. This was initially due to unreasonable complaints that were settled between the tenant and landlord, but it continued to escalate as they made their demands about the ‘unlivable’ conditions of the unit. Neither party had communicated these problems early, and an employee was assigned to the case as soon as it was brought up.
Money was the biggest issue and something the tenant was going to fight about no matter what. The tenant became extremely aggressive, threatening the landlord with bodily harm and harassed the assigned employee daily. Messages like, “You’re useless” and “I’ll kill you.”
Given the threatening behaviour, the landlord said enough was enough. He told SPEEDHOME to take over the management of the case entirely, explicitly asking for no more direct contact with the tenant. He reached a breaking point, hoping SpeedHome could resolve the issue professionally.
Shockingly, the tenant began making more death threats, putting everyone on the case on high alert. He made it clear that the situation had evolved from merely difficult to potentially dangerous. He then cc’d multiple government agencies in his correspondence with SPEEDHOME through emails.The emails criticised SpeedHome’s service quality, entirely sidelining the original issues—namely, the tenant’s abusive behaviour.
The tenant was informed that such behaviour would not be tolerated and that proper legal actions would be initiated if the threats continued. Employee well-being was prioritised, and the harassed staff member received the necessary support and counselling. Eviction was eventually successful and brought an end to that reign of terror.
What to Do In This Situation
If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s the best steps you can follow:
- Do not threaten back. Keep calm and respond professionally.
- Call the Police if you feel threatened or in immediate danger. Having records will help you if you need to go to court.
- Tell the tenant that all communication must be done in writing. Save all of the texts, emails, and voicemails. You might need them in court someday.
Your safety both physically and mentally is the most important factor.
Modern day aggression
Aggression from tenants and landlords can come in many different forms. Aggression can range from a snappy conversation through to threats. In our modern world, some tenants take to venting over Google or via other social media sites. Others may yell, swear and can be very aggressive towards you. And this can be the most damaging of all, particularly from a psychological level.
Defuse the situation
So, what do you do if a tenant or landlord does become aggressive? Put simply, it all comes down to their level of aggression and the property manager’s personal safety, so it’s important to use discretion depending on the situation.
At all times speak in a low calm voice showing no aggression or tone. Understand their problem, always listen, never interrupt, and then offer an action plan to fix the problem. If they’re aggressive and you’re unable to resolve the issue nor calm them down, simply tell them you will call them back so you can investigate and resolve the problem.
In some cases, a tenant may threaten to take you to court. If your renter claims he will sue you, you can verify the legitimacy of this claim by asking to speak with the attorney they claim is representing them. Get the lawyer’s phone number and give them a call. Lawyers have an ethical obligation to follow the law, and cannot encourage a tenant to pursue a course of action that is not justified. Chances are, the attorney will speak to you more respectfully, making it easier to resolve the problem. Ask for information from the attorney in writing.
Remember that you have rights when it comes to protecting yourself from negative behavior from your tenants. Follow the law, don’t get emotional, respond professionally, contact the authorities, have a landlord-tenant lawyer on your side, and move forward with a legal eviction if necessary. And don’t forget to screen your tenants.
SPEEDHOME is Your Mediator and Witness
This unfortunate incident highlights the need for rigorous tenant screening. A detailed background check can often preempt these issues.
With our platform policies, SPEEDHOME advocates to protect both landlords and tenants, and situations like these are no different. Should your case be severe, you can approach our team and count on us to be your mediator and witness.
Working with tenants is one of the hardest parts of being a property owner, a reason many landlords find it difficult to rent out their spaces successfully. If your rental business needs a boost, consider leveraging our comprehensive property management solutions.
SPEEDHOME has you covered from thorough tenant screening that will weed out the problem tenants to rent collection, maintenance, and eviction services. This way you never have to handle a property management problem alone.
Curious to see if SPEEDHOME aligns with your property needs? Get in touch with us today to explore our packages. Whether you rent to just a few tenants or manage multiple properties across the city, we’ll adapt our service to you.