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7 Actionable Tips for Dealing with Terrible Tenants

Terrible tenants can make your job as a landlord extremely difficult.

Some of them pay rent late every month, while others are careless and damage your property. Some of them have their mindset on arguing with every word that comes out of your mouth, even when you’re being perfectly reasonable.

If you’ve been a landlord for a while, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Most landlords face the hassle of dealing with difficult tenants at some point, and it isn’t easy. But fortunately, we’ve put together this list of 7 tips to help you get through sticky situations with your tenants. Check it out.

How to Deal with Difficult Tenants

1. Be calm, objective, and rational.

It’s easy (and understandable) to get angry when tenants cause problems. However, being hotheaded will only make the situation worse.

Make sure your thoughts aren’t clouded by emotions when you talk to your tenants about the problems they’re causing you. If you need to, take some time to calm down – you might even want to sleep on the situation before you take immediate action if you’re too worked up.

Your tenants will be a lot more receptive to what you tell them if you come across as collected and tactful.

2. Keep written records of everything.

One of the best ways to avoid conflict with your tenants is to keep written records of everything. While doing this will increase your workload a bit, it’ll also decrease the chances of a bad tenant trying to dispute a charge or something else with you. So, it’s definitely worth the trouble.

Tip: When inspecting the property, don’t just keep a written record of your findings – take pictures and videos that feature a timestamp whenever possible. That way, no tenant can dispute necessary security deposit deductions.


3. Teach tenants how they should treat you.

The tenant/landlord relationship is much like any other relationship – your actions have to reflect how you expect to be treated. Otherwise, you’ll find your tenants taking advantage of you.

For example, if you don’t reprimand a tenant immediately for not paying their rent on time, they’ll begin to think that they can get away with making late payments. On the other hand, if you stand firmly behind your rules, you’ll find yourself dealing with far fewer hassles.

If you do take action and still can’t get the desired results from your tenants, keep following up with them. Doing so will let the tenant know that you aren’t going to drop the issue and that they need to resolve it quickly or face negative consequences.


4. Try to get your tenants on your side.

Ever heard of the phrase “kill them with kindness” as a method of handling a difficult person? Basically, it means that you show overwhelming kindness to someone – usually as a means of achieving a positive outcome.

You can use this strategy with your tenants by going out of your way to be kind to them, whether that means being extra patient, responding quickly to any emails/calls from them, or something else.

While this method can be tough with difficult tenants, it can sometimes help you win over your tenants and build a relationship with them. And, once you’ve built a good relationship with your tenants, you’ll typically find that they’re more likely to comply with your rules.

5. Hire a property manager.

Some tenants are just hard to deal with, no matter how much you go out of your way to please them.

When that happens, it may be in your best interest to let someone else – a property manager – handle them for you. Just imagine all the free time you’d gain and all the stress you’d eliminate by doing this!

Here are a few tips for hiring the right property manager:

  • Ask the property manager about their experience managing properties and figure out what they specialize in.
  • Find out what specific services are offered by the property manager, and make sure they can handle every task that you need help with.
  • Check the property manager’s references and reviews, if possible. That way, you can see how many other people had a positive experience working with them.

Tip: Keep in mind that these are just a few of the basics you should consider when choosing a property manager. For a more comprehensive guide, check out this blog post on how to choose the right property management company.


6. Ask the terrible tenants to leave.

When you’ve reached your breaking point with a tenant, you might want to consider asking them to move out. While getting a difficult tenant to voluntarily leave can be difficult, it isn’t impossible. You can simply send them a Written Notice to Vacate, and they’ll know that you want them to leave.

However, that doesn’t always work out, and unfortunately, you can’t force a tenant out of your home without going through the costly eviction process.

So, for more ideas on getting a bad tenant out of your property, check out this blog post.

7. Begin the eviction process.

Evicting your tenant should be a last resort since the process can be costly. In Maryland, you can only evict a tenant for one of these three reasons:

  • The tenant failed to pay their rent
  • The tenant failed to move out once their lease ended
  • The tenant violated the lease terms

So, don’t think that you can evict a tenant just because you don’t get along with them. Unfortunately, that isn’t an option.

Tip: For more details and a step-by-step guide to the Maryland eviction process, check out this blog post.


Proactively avoid placing terrible tenants in your properties in Baltimore County (or a nearby area) by using a thorough screening process.

The best way to avoid dealing with difficult tenants is to avoid placing them in your properties in the first place.

If you find yourself struggling with your tenants more than usual, you might not be using a thorough enough screening process.

If you need assistance with the screening process so you can place high-quality tenants in your properties, we’d love to help.

Our property management team is so skilled at screening that less than 1% of the tenants we place end up getting evicted (and if they are evicted, we re-lease the property for you for free!).

From Catonsville and White Marsh to York and Lancaster, and throughout Pennsylvania & Maryland, we help landlords with all aspects of property management and can do the same for you!

So, don’t spend another minute stressing over your difficult tenants – reach out to our team today and let’s talk about how we can make your job as a landlord easier.