All landlords fear nightmare tenants in their homes. We’ve all heard the stories about how hard it is to evict difficult tenants once they’re in your property and most owners want to avoid this scenario. Sadly, it’s inevitable that long-term landlords will have to face up to terrible tenants at some stage, so it’s always good to be prepared. From the tenants who pay your rent late, to being argumentative, to damaging your property; there’s no end to the potential hazards that come from choosing the wrong occupants.
An estate agent in Ealing have highlighted the five top tips for managing terrible tenants:
Make sure you screen your tenants correctly
When choosing tenants, make sure you properly screen them. This includes running the appropriate background checks, such as credit checks, calling their references as well as all previous landlords. It’s also a good idea to properly verify their income, so you make sure they won’t be caught short each month if it’s not realistic that they can pay your rent. A good idea is to ensure their income is three times the monthly rent – make sure this is non-negotiable if you want to ensure you get someone both responsible and professional into your property.
Write down the rules
When there are no rules, it’s difficult to know how to follow them. If you create a written policy, you can make sure that your tenants are clear as to what they can and can’t do. You can create your rules via a lease and also a list of “dos and don’ts” to give to your occupants. This way, there are no areas of grey when it comes to what people can do on your property. This starts things off well, as you’ll have everything written down and it will show you’re professional and that you take your business seriously.
Don’t Be the Landlord
Sometimes it’s better to not be seen as the “landlord” as such. You could hire a property manager to take care of your rental income, or you could separate yourself from the owner and make out you are some kind of “middleman”. This way, you can put an emotional disconnect between yourself and the tenant, which gives you time to think about hard questions that may be asked. This could sound a little dishonest, but if you are holding property in a legal structure, you will be able to simply just manage that structure in your own way.
Don’t be afraid to be strict!
Sometimes it’s tempting to go easy on your tenants, particularly if you get to know them as people (see tip number 3!) However, the fact is that if you indicate to them that you’re “soft” they’re likely to subconsciously take advantage – this is just human nature. For example, if you don’t charge a late fee, the landlord is giving permission to the tenant to pay whenever they wish. If you have charges in place, tenants will follow the rules. You don’t have to be completely heartless – perhaps offer a grace period. You’re also doing them a favour, as if they get behind with the rent they’ll be in trouble and it could affect their credit rating.
Don’t be frightened to take action
If it gets to a point where you’re renting your property to tenants who really are hellish, don’t feel scared when it comes to getting rid of them. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of eviction, try reasoning with them by paying them cash to leave (this may sound like a cop-out but sometimes it’s the best option). The best thing to do is to initially screen the tenant so thoroughly you won’t get to this stage, but when it comes down to it you have to prepared yourself for the worst case scenario. Just make sure you’ve a good lawyer advising you!