As a landlord, challenging tenants are an inevitability. Even with the best screening process, you may still find yourself with a tenant who is demanding, difficult and problematic. If this should happen, it's important that you have a plan in place to deal with them. Otherwise, you may find yourself struggling to keep the peace. Here are some tips to help you deal with difficult tenants.
Objectivity is important when you're dealing with challenging tenants. If you allow yourself to be emotionally involved, it will be difficult to draw boundary lines where they need to be. Instead, establish solid ground rules and adhere to them no matter what the situation. That doesn't mean not having compassion, but it does mean that you need to be firm in your expectations.
For example, decide in advance how many days you're willing to flex on a rent payment. If you can comfortably allow your tenants to be ten days late paying rent, give your tenant a seven-day window to make a payment if they are facing a financial problem one month. Just make sure that you're clear about the situation and then follow through with your enforcement rights if they don't pay by day seven.
Put It in Writing
Any time you make an agreement with your tenant that departs from the lease agreement, put it in writing. You need written documentation of all of these things so that you have evidence in the event of a problem. Additionally, when things are written out, it shows your tenant that you're serious about your expectations even if you're doing them a bit of a favor.
Keep copies of all of your tenant's rent checks with the date received so that you have documentation in case you have to take them to court for any reason. If he or she does violate the written agreement you create, follow through with any legal enforcement options that your state permits. This will make it clear to your tenant that, though you're willing to work with them, you still expect them to hold up their end of the deal.
Hire a Tenant Services Company
If you have difficulties distancing yourself from the emotional aspect of managing your property, you may find that you're providing your tenants with more flexibility than you can really afford. If being the authority figure is difficult for you, consider hiring a tenant services company to help you. This way, you'll have an independent third party handling your day-to-day interactions with the tenant, keeping things professional and making it easier for you to distance yourself.