5 Types of Problem Tenants – and How to Deal With Them

Dealing with difficult tenants, or at least knowing how to handle them, is an inevitable part of property management. Even if you meticulously screen all of your applicants, a problem tenant can still slip through the cracks, and someone whose history shows they were always an honest and reliable tenant might go through a difficult time in life that results in late rent payments or unpredictable behavior. In order to identify and efficiently deal with a problematic tenant, you need to have a good action plan.

So, here is a list of five common types of renters who make a property manager’s job more difficult, as well as suggestions for handling them:

The tenant who never pays rent

If you want to be a successful property owner, you need a thorough background check on all of the applicants and always draft a solid lease agreement outlining the rent collection procedure, including the amount that is due each month as well as the time it should be paid, and explain it clearly to your tenants prior to move-in.

If your current tenant is having money problems or is late with their rent for some other reason, you might want to think about some alternative solutions, such as creating a structured payment plan or prorating any late fees, before you start the process of eviction, as it can be grueling for both parties.

The tenant who struggles with substance abuse

While it’s crucial to know the difference between a former addict who is in treatment or has been sober for a while and a person who is currently addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s also important to be aware of the fact that in most places around the world both of them are protected against discrimination, as addiction is viewed as a disease or even a disability.

So, instead of evicting them and risking a lawsuit, try to be compassionate and understanding, offer them a great drug abuse treatment program and only take action if they are destructive, violent or otherwise dangerous to you or your property.

The one who damages your property

While some wear and tear is normal and should be expected, damaged or destroyed property is a completely different ordeal. Apart from costing you a lot of time and money to restore the damage, you might even find it hard to rent the property again after the move-out.

In order to avoid such situations, it’s important to contact their current and former landlords, always do a thorough background check and be on the lookout for a history of vandalism, theft and arson, as a history of such behavior is a strong indicator that the tenant will repeat it.

You also need to know who is responsible for fixing issues. That’s a key place to start.

The tenant who hosts to all

Some renters will sublet a part, or even the whole property, while others might decide to rent it as an Airbnb for short-term vacations, without bothering to check whether you allow it.

Even if it’s simply letting their friends crash on the sofa for the weekend, having a parade of strangers occupying your property is definitely not the same as having the people you screened and approved live there. In order to avoid such situations, try to be strict and use specific language in your lease that will let you deal with such unexpected tenants as you see fit.

The indulgent pet owner

When it comes to animals living on your property, it is always best not to make any promises. A cat that marks its territory with urine or a dog that loves to chew your furniture can do some serious damage to your property, and even make it harder to rent after the move-out. If you allow pets, make sure to perform periodic checks on the property, to ensure there is no damage.

If you don’t allow them, but happen to find evidence of them anyway, you need to invoke consequences before the tenants have packed up and left, making the situation that much more complicated. Bear in mind that service animals do not count as pets and should be allowed on the property.

If you have been in the renting business for a while, chances are you have already encountered some, if not all of the difficult tenants mentioned above, and have experienced at least one eviction. While dealing with these situations is no fun, it is an unavoidable part or property management, which is why it is so important to know how to deal with it correctly and efficiently.