Difficult tenants can be more common than you think. Whether it's a renter that constantly reports maintenance issues as "emergencies" or a tenant that doesn't pay the rent on time (ever), property owners might have to deal with a variety of issues with less-than-ideal tenants.
What should you do when a frustrating tenant lives in your Indianapolis rental property? Today our experts walk through some of our best rental property management tips to deal with difficult tenants appropriately.
Stay Calm and Be Patient
When faced with difficult tenants, it's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment. A hot-headed response to a problem or complaint can escalate the situation, making it even more challenging to resolve.
Here's where the virtue of patience steps in. It is absolutely critical to remain calm and patient throughout the ordeal.
To help mitigate challenging situations or unhappy tenant behaviors, listen attentively to their complaints, concerns, or requests. Even if they're hostile, showing them you're willing to listen can help diffuse the situation.
It's crucial to handle even the most unpleasant tenant situations with grace and patience.
Maintain Professional Boundaries
Having a cordial relationship with your tenants is always great, but establishing friendships can blur professional lines. It's important to maintain a strictly professional relationship to ensure business protocols are followed, and the rights of both parties are protected.
This applies to friends and family, as well. Renting to friends and family may seem like an easy way to avoid tenant issues, but this can often lead to more complications. Personal feelings can get in the way of professional decisions, so it's often best to avoid this situation altogether.
No matter who you rent to, make sure all tenants go through your tenant screening process, meet your preset criteria for the property, and follow the lease rules.
An experienced Indianapolis property management company can tell you that keeping thorough written records is paramount. Every interaction, every complaint, every repair — all of these should be documented meticulously. This includes not just what was done but when it was done and who did it.
Using a ticketing system to receive and manage work orders can be extremely helpful. It allows you to track progress, mark tasks as complete, and maintain a transparent record of all the work that's been done.
Thoroughly documented records can be useful if any disagreements or legal issues arise.
Recognize Difficult Tenants (Before They Move In)
Despite your best efforts to maintain a good relationship with your tenants, there will always be a few who pose challenges.
These individuals, often known as "professional tenants," are adept at finding loopholes and exploiting them for their benefit. They may be consistently late with payments, disrespectful of property, or unreasonably demanding.
Recognizing these tenants is essential to protect your interests. Being aware of their tactics can help you act accordingly and prevent them from taking advantage of you or your property.
Apply Thorough Tenant Screening Practices
Effective tenant screening is a proactive measure that can significantly reduce the risk of renting to a professional tenant or difficult renters in general. By thoroughly screening prospective tenants, you can select the best candidates who are less likely to cause problems in the future.
A thorough screening process should include credit history, criminal background checks, employment and income verification, reference checks, and prior rental history checks. Watch for signs of defaulting on prior rental payments or leaving a previous rental home on bad terms. Additionally, a low credit score can indicate that a prospective tenant doesn't follow through with paying their bills consistently, including paying the rent on time.
Apply your screening practices and criteria fairly to every applicant when choosing the best new renter for a property. Keeping bad renters out of your property is better than dealing with them after they move in!
Consider Hiring a Property Management Company
Sometimes, the best way to deal with difficult tenants is to put a professional barrier between you and them. Hiring a property management company can give you that much-needed distance and handle the tough situations that might arise.
A professional property management company in Indianapolis can enforce lease terms, handle complaints and repairs, and build good relationships with tenants. This can reduce the chances of difficult tenants causing problems in your properties.
The Best Rental Property Management Deals With Difficult Tenants
Even with the best screening process and following the tips we've mentioned in this blog, there is no way to completely reduce the potential that you'll deal with a difficult tenant at some point. While these measures can significantly reduce the possibility of bad tenants in your rental properties and help you cope with one more professionally if a tenant starts causing problems, sometimes bad tenants simply happen.
At ES Property Management, we believe in a proactive approach to dealing with difficult tenants. Not only do we provide comprehensive tenant screening, but we also enforce the lease terms diligently, maintaining healthy relationships with tenants to reduce the potential for difficulties.
We also take a risk management approach to our tenant screening services. We select only the best tenants and deliver customized lease agreements for each lease term to minimize the risks to your properties and income. We're here to protect your properties and your income, offering a buffer between you and potentially difficult tenants.
So, reach out to our team today to learn how we can handle difficult tenants for you to optimize your returns and help your peace of mind. You can also learn more about what a property manager can do for you with the insights in our free resource, "The Guide to Finding the Best Property Manager in Indianapolis."