If you’re managing your property yourself, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll strike it unlucky and end up at some stage with a difficult tenant – one who pays their rent late, or doesn’t take care of the property, or simple doesn’t answer your calls. Here are a few tips that might help you deal with a difficult tenant:
Use Multiple Channels of Communication
Make sure you have more than one way to contact your tenant – by post, by phone and by email, and if possible, with other contact details such as the employer’s name or a relative. Sometimes tenants might appear difficult simply because they prefer to communicate one particular way – if you figure out your tenant is most likely to respond when sent a physical letter by post, then give up the convenience of the phone or email and write them a letter.
Try To Stay in Regular Contact
You can avoid the problem of poor communication (and of course, good communication is essential for resolving all tenant problems) by keeping an open, regular relationship with your tenant. Whether this is a regular phone call to check everything is in order, or a monthly email summarising the rent paid and the rent owing, whatever it is – if you’re in contact regularly, difficulties are less likely to emerge.
Be Firm, But Fair
Don’t wildly threaten eviction every time the rent is a day late, but don’t be too easy, either. You might need to remind your tenant that you also have bills or a mortgage on the property to pay, and if they don’t pay rent, that causes you a lot of problems – some tenants actually forget this part of the equation, but will be more helpful when reminded. Give them warnings, too, but clearly explain your expectations as regards care of the property and rental payments, and stick to what you say.