No matter how much you prepare, sometimes it happens: difficult renters.
There are some big problems with renters that are more frequent than others and these can include renters disturbing the neighbors, not paying rent on time, not paying utilities at all, or damaging your property.
While the vast majority of tenants treat the places where they live as their homes, with kindness and respect, property owners sometimes have to navigate through relationships with difficult renters. We have some tips to help you through this process.
First, an ounce of prevention can go a long way. Start your screening process off strong. Make sure that you not only perform credit checks on applicants, but also get at least two years of rental references, emergency contact information, and job contact information. Verify all of it. Require that the applicant have prior rental history and contact the previous landlord to ask for the applicant’s history. Selecting the right applicant can start here. If an applicant does not have this history to provide, then require a co-signer to the lease agreement. We find that many property owners enjoy this additional security (especially when it comes to college rentals).
Second, as we’ve mentioned before, make sure that the lease agreement with your new tenant is clear and upfront. All expectations regarding security deposits, utilities, maintenance and any homeowners’ association requirements should be written for the tenant to see. Don’t leave anything to be assumed! In the state of North Carolina, if it is not in writing, it is not enforceable.
Once you have adequately prepared for a positive relationship with your tenant, you have options available to you if problems do arise, depending on the problem.
If renters disturb the neighbors, allow the community to sort it out first. Usually, those involved in the dispute will be the best situated to successfully resolve it. There should be clauses in your lease agreement, as well, that you can refer to when asking your tenant to curb certain behaviors. Make you tenant aware of noise ordinances and HOA rules. Be sure that you document everything for your records in case neighbor, community or noise issues arise and you have to evict. Clearly document your steps to resolve the issues.
If renters are not paying on time, you should have adequate recourse within your lease agreement to enforce this. But, as the property owner, always start by communicating in writing with your tenant. There are times when employment changes or medical situations impair tenants. Make sure to enforce your lease and do not let payments slip. If your tenant does not pay, start assessing the late fees from the lease agreement, as that may be enough to persuade renters to pay in a timely manner. Beyond that, if your tenant does not pay, then you will have to enforce the lease by starting eviction proceedings in your county. There are generally several steps involved with this process and the clerk of court can guide you. But you will need to be present for part of the process.
Always make sure utility bills are in the tenants’ name and not yours in case of non-payment. As a property owner, state in the lease agreement what the requirements are regarding utilities. If your name is on the bills and the tenants don’t pay, you will be the party responsible for paying any past-due fees.
Damage to a property by a renter can be scary for property owners. After all, there is some risk associated with letting someone else live in a home you own. But, again, as an owner, you have recourse. The property’s condition should be well-documented with videos and photos before any tenant moves in and between every lease transition. This will give you the opportunity to discuss any damages with your tenant honestly. Be sure that your property is sufficiently insured, including liability coverage.
You always have the option to evict tenants when all else fails. If other communications, negotiations and remediation have run their course, this may be what is required. In this event, you will need to engage the services of an attorney.
Of course, hiring an experienced property management team can help you with all of this. A licensed property manager will know the laws that pertain to dealing with tenants. We’ve seen it all through our decades of business at Sweyer Property Management, and we can help you through every part of the process, making the business of being a property owner easier. Contact us today to get started.
Sweyer Property Management has been providing real estate property management services and long-term rentals to the Wilmington area since 1987. The company continues to be the industry leader with more than 1400+ units and more than 20 employees. Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead areas while maintaining a 4.8 Google+ rating for customer service. To inquire about the company’s full-service management services, or to take a tour of houses for rent in the area, email [email protected], visit us online at WilmingtonForRent.com or download our mobile app, Sweyer Rentals. You can also Like and follow the Sweyer Property Management Facebook page to get property management tips or see properties for rent.
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