As a landlord, you do not want just anyone leasing your rental home. You want good quality people that will pay their rent on time, respect your property, and follow the terms of the lease agreement.
As if handling a rental property wasn’t enough, the last thing a landlord, or their Howard County property management company, wants to deal with is a problem tenant.
While it is impossible to avoid all problematic tenants, even with the most thorough of tenant screening, having a clear understanding of the difficult tenant personality types will help you prepare for how to handle potential problems should a problematic tenant type end up leasing your rental home.
Here are some of the most common scary tenant types and their potential bad behaviors. Plus, let’s take a look at some of the ways to ward off their difficult personalities, hopefully before they ever surface in the first place.
4 Common Problem Tenants (and What to Do about Them)
1. The Complainer
While consistent communication with your tenant is crucial to maintaining a healthy landlord-tenant relationship, there are those scary tenant types that simply communicate too much.
The complainer will criticize everything and always seems to be looking for an argument in which they are sure they will win. They want their concerns to take priority and their behavior may turn aggressive if you do not address their needs right away.
You may even notice a condescending tone with complainers as they communicate even simple maintenance requests to you. This sense of entitlement will make it difficult for you to evaluate whether they have a legitimate complaint because to them, everything is always a problem.
Screening people’s communication styles is difficult to say the least. You may never know you have leased your rental home to a complainer until it is too late. However, there are some steps you can take with each tenant that may prevent or lessen the complaining:
- Provide clear ways a tenant may submit a concern they are having with anything related to your property. Maintenance requests, complaints, and emergencies should be outlined in detail.
- Use an email or online portal for tenants to submit concerns.
- Provide definitions and examples in a tenant manual about what is deemed an emergency.
- Assure your tenant that all concerns will be prioritized and handled.
- Offer an estimated time-range on when the problem is likely to be resolved. This will assure tenants a resolution is on the way, while decreasing the chances they will be constantly following up to find out when it will be completed.
2. The Late-Payer
It seems simple enough right? Pay your rent when rent is due. However, if you have been a landlord for a while, you will know that sometimes tenants appear to be on their own time schedule and pay rent whenever they feel is convenient for them, not you.
The late-payer may have several reasons for not paying their rent on time. They may claim they had car issues, a sick grandma, say their paycheck simply didn’t cover the monthly rent amount, or even that they simply forgot. Nevertheless, your tenant must be held responsible to avoid late-payment patterns in the future.
This kind of scary tenant type has the ability to dig deep into your pocket. After all, late rent means money that is not in the bank when you expect it to be.
However, a much scarier tenant type is the non-payer. Related to the late-payer, the non-payer’s behavior constitutes an extreme lease violation and is one of the top reasons tenants are evicted from their homes.
While you might not be able to determine whether a potential tenant will be a late-payer or a non-payer when deciding whether to let them rent your property, there are some things you can do to help lower your chances of leasing to one:
- Stick to your lease agreement consequences for late or non-payments no matter the reason.
- Keep records of your tenant’s payment history.
- Verify potential tenants make enough income to cover the asking rent. They should spend no more than 20-30% of their income on rent each month.
- Check your tenant’s references and discuss previous payment patterns.
- Offer convenient ways for your tenants to make the monthly rent (i.e. an online payment option).
- Choose an investment property in areas like Elkridge, MD. Boasting higher than average median incomes, your chances of placing a tenant in your home that does not make enough money are considerably lower in neighborhoods like these.
3. The Rule Breaker
Lease agreements are in place to protect both the landlord and tenant. This binding contract outlines the terms and conditions for living in a rental property and are agreed to by both signing parties.
Unfortunately, some people are born rule breakers and may end up leasing your Columbia rental home. Although some rule-breakers only commit minor infractions such as violating a pet policy, failing to adhere to quiet hours, or having too many visitors, the scary tenant types all landlords hope to avoid are the law breaking rule-breakers.
A tenant that breaks the law, such as participating in the illegal use or distribution of drugs, can cause a lot of trouble for landlords. Landlords are typically responsible for protecting the neighborhood their rental property is in from criminal acts their tenants participate in. Should your tenant engage in any illegal criminal activities while residing at your property, you may be held liable for your tenants’ actions.
In order to fully protect yourself from facing punishment due to the actions of your scary tenant follow these tips:
- Have your property management company draft a solid lease agreement stating a zero tolerance policy for any illegal activities.
- If at any time you become suspicious that your tenants are conducting illegal activities in your property seek the help of law enforcement and consult an attorney well-versed in landlord-tenant law.
- Screen criminal history, public records, landlord references, and credit reports to help determine what type of person your potential tenant is.
4. The Destroyer
Landlords and property management companies are primarily responsible for the maintenance of a rental property, however tenants have a large role in caring for the home they are leasing.
The destroyer is a scary tenant type that may just be extra messy or might actually damage your rental home. This destruction may be intentional and can include things such as:
- Little regard for cleanliness – Letting dishes pile up, staining carpeted areas and not treating them properly, allowing a pet to tear up interior furnishings or soil the floors, and much more.
- Not keeping a well-maintained yard – This may include tenant responsibilities such as trash disposal, lawn mowing, shrubbery maintenance, sprinkler controls, etc.
- Purposeful damage such as punching holes in walls, breaking major appliances, even making changes to the landlord’s home without permission to so (i.e. repainting, changing fixtures, ripping out grass yards, etc.)
While most property damage beyond that of normal wear and tear can be billed to your tenant, the amount of time it may take to restore your home to a habitable condition can mean a major loss in rental income. Even worse, the destroyer may disappear or declare bankruptcy, leaving you to cover the cost of damage.
Preventing this kind of scary tenant type from renting your home is difficult, yet following these tips to avoid this kind of behavior is not:
- Inform the tenant of their responsibilities in the lease agreement. Some tenants simply do not know what they are supposed to maintain.
- Conduct routine inspections and walkthroughs so you always know the condition of your rental property.
- Require your tenants to get renter’s insurance. Not only does this cover your tenants’ personal belongings in the event of theft or damage, it can also help cover the cost of damage due to negligence.
Arming yourself with knowledge about some of the most common scary tenant types and their typical behavior can help you manage bad tenants, or better yet, avoid them altogether. Sadly though, there are many other scary tenant types we can come into contact with and we cannot protect our rental properties from everything.
Tenant screening is going to be your best weapon against leasing to a scary tenant type. With the help of your favorite Howard County property management company, Bay Management Group, you will have access to an exhaustive screening process, help drafting airtight lease agreements, the benefit of routine inspections and walk-throughs, and a staff fully knowledgeable in all areas of landlord-tenant law. Plus, you will have the peace of mind that only the best of tenants will be placed in your rental property and that any issues that do pop up will be handled professionally and quickly thanks to your property management company.