Being a landlord can be a daunting task. Dealing with tenants, maintaining the property, and going through legal procedures – all take time and hard work. The job becomes tougher when it comes to less desirable aspects of property management, such as handling a problematic tenant.
Developing cordial relations with a tenant is not easy to achieve. At some point, property owners may start facing challenges in the form of late rent payments or property damages by the tenant. In the start, it might be tolerable. However, as the tenant gets more problematic, there comes a need to take appropriate action.
Evicting a problematic tenant requires a complete understanding of the situation. As a landlord or property manager, reviewing, recognizing, and responding to such tenants according to the situation is essential.
Graana.com, Pakistan’s smartest property portal, brings a guide to dealing with different types of tenant issues.
Types of Problematic Tenants
Before accepting anyone’s application for a tenancy agreement, reviewing and screening is essential. It will help not only avoid unsuitable tenants at first but also save your property from damage later on. The following are the most common types of problematic tenants:
- Property-damaging tenants
- Day late and a dollar short
- Perpetual complainers
- Tenants with too many houseguests
Let’s discuss these types of tenants and the legal actions that can be taken against them.
Property damage can be a major problem in tenancy. Tenants tend to be careless while living in a rental property. Secondly, some tenants decide to make improvements or changes to the property according to their personal choices. These change the interior of the property and leave several things damaged.
In such cases, landlords need to consider the following actions:
- A well-written lease agreement: Before handing possession of your house to the tenant, it is important to clarify all maintenance expectations in the lease agreement. It will help both the tenant and landlord maintain the property in proper shape.
- A detailed move-in inspection: Documenting the property’s condition when a tenant moves in helps landlords in judging the condition of the property when the tenant moves out. A detailed inspection before and after the tenant moves in will help determine the overall damages or changes to the building.
- Routine inspections: Despite detailed move-in inspections, the property should be inspected regularly for potential maintenance concerns. It will give the landlord a chance to talk to the tenant in case he does not take care of the property. Secondly, it will help the tenant in raising his or her concerns about property maintenance.
Day Late and A Dollar Short
The second major issue of tenancy can be the late payment of rents. Late, partial, or no payments of the rent can cause financial damage to the landlords. Most property owners rely on payments from rent to manage other expenses. Almost 80% of landlords face this problem.
To make tenants pay the rent on time, the following measures can be adopted:
- Rigid lease policy: A rigid lease agreement should clearly state the duly payment of the rent. It will make the tenant understand all consequences if the payment gets late.
- Set the standards: Regardless of your relationship with the tenant, a standard should be set for the rent payment. However, there can be some exceptions, for example, during natural calamities.
- Set reminders: Lease agreements generally have a grace period for rent payments, which gives them some extra time. However, if the tenant fails to pay rent even after the grace period, they should be notified accordingly.
Rental properties follow certain rules and regulations of the area, such as no selling of drugs or prohibited items, no violent crimes, etc. Rental properties usually have a higher chance of harboring such activities.
In cases where your tenant is involved in criminal activities, you need to consider the following measures first:
- Consult an attorney: The best way to handle any criminal activities is to consult an attorney who can suggest an appropriate course of action
- Screening: Another way to avoid law-breaking tenants is being thorough in the screening process. When you are reviewing applications, take a look at the tenancy history of each applicant. If it suggests any kind of illegal activity, you can either follow up on it or deny the application.
- Regular inspections: Regular visits and inspections of the property are essential. It might give you an idea about the tenant’s dealings and intentions.
Property owners prefer tenants who are cooperative and complain only when they face any legitimate problem. Someone who has the habit of frequently making complaints about the property can become a cause of restlessness for landlords.
In such cases, the following measures can be taken:
- Follow legal obligations: Landlords must be aware of their legal obligations regarding any property issues or maintenance work. For instance, if any minor or major repairs need timely attention, the property owner must address them right away. However, it does not mean, of course, that they should cater to every little request by the tenant.
- Keep the lease agreement as a priority: The best way to handle such tenants is by reminding them of the lease agreement. Most rental agreements have clauses that mention the minimum time period that landlords have for addressing any issues.
Tenants With Too Many Houseguests
Some tenants have a habit of inviting over multiple guests to the property. This can create problems for the landlord as the property is a liability of the owner. If a person who has not signed the lease agreement with the property owner lives inside the property, the owner has a legal right to ask them to leave.
However, the process is not as simple as it looks. Getting such tenants and guests to leave the property can be a long process, which may even lead to a legal battle. To avoid such conditions, the given measures can help:
- Do not allow subletting: Sometimes an existing tenant hands over a part of the property to a subtenant. This is known as subletting. To prevent subletting, you should prohibit it in clear terms in the lease agreement. Moreover, the tenant should inform the owner beforehand if he or she is leaving the property for an extended period.
- Guests are allowed: Property owners cannot stop tenants from having guests over. After all, it is their legal right. These guests can stay with the tenants for a definite period. However, they should not be allowed to stay for an indefinite time.
Legal Steps to Evict Problematic Tenants
The above discussion provides all the measures that can be taken against various types of problematic tenants. However, if a situation gets worse, and the owner has to evict the tenant from the property, it is essential to be aware of the legal steps involved.
The following are certain steps that should be taken in extreme conditions:
- Learn about the rental property acts
- Issue notice to the tenant
- File eviction in court
Learn About the Rental Property Acts
Rental property acts are part of all lease agreements. They allow both tenant and owner to understand their legal obligations and responsibilities. Moreover, it informs them about all the legal procedures that can be adopted under specific conditions.
Therefore, before issuing a notice to your tenant, you must be aware of all the rental property acts and laws of your area. It will help you understand the eviction process and all its prerequisites. There are certain cases where you cannot evict the tenant from your property. In such cases, if you are unaware of the laws, you might lose your case against them.
Issue Notice to the Tenant
After you have understood your legal rights, you can now issue a notice to the tenant for the eviction of your property. A grace period is given to the tenant to pack up his belongings and then leave. However, if the tenant is not willing to leave, it is your legal right to file an eviction case.
File Eviction in Court
Filing eviction in courts is not a complex process. You just have to submit a fee and complete all the legal documentation. Once your case is set for a hearing date, both the parties will be called and the matter will be discussed. If you have sufficient information and proof to support your eviction claim, the court will resolve the matter in your favor.
If you win the eviction claim, the court will order the tenant to leave the property under certain guidelines.
To get more information about tenant agreements and rental properties, visit Graana Blog.