Troublesome tenants are any landlord’s worst nightmare. It’s a headache that no one wants, but unlike an actual headache, you can’t simply take a pill in order for the problem to disappear. Rules need to be adhered to and procedures followed, and whilst the problems may not disappear as quickly as you’d like, there are certainly ways to manage them.
If you’ve gone the route of deciding to manage your property yourself as opposed to through an experienced professional, you may not have had access to the various tenant screening facilities and may now be sitting with problems which you never anticipated.
Here are a few of those problems and how to deal with them effectively.
Payment hasn’t been made
Whatever the reason for non-payment, the issue needs to be addressed immediately and within the parameters of the law.
- Contact the tenant and insist that payment be made immediately, and proof of payment sent to you. If the tenant is having financial problems, a meeting should be held to discuss the way forward. Late payment fees may be charged in accordance with the lease agreement and law. This can be reiterated at the meeting and instituted if needs be.
- If payment has still not been made after the initial meeting, then a letter needs to be sent to the tenant stating if payment isn’t made within 7 days, or however many days you have stipulated on the contract, they will find themselves in breach of contract and their non-payment reported to the credit bureau.
- If the tenant can no longer afford the rental, it is better to cut your losses earlier rather than later, give your tenant notice and start looking for a replacement. It is important that notice of intention to cancel the lease, needs to be given, as well as instruction, for the tenant to vacate the property with immediate effect. If a relationship has been built up between yourself and the tenant, by all means assist them with leads on where to find more affordable accommodation, but make it clear that the onus lies on them to find a new residence.
Rules have been broken
A lease is a legally binding agreement and should your tenant decide not to honour the rules set out in the contract you are well within your rights to step in and take action.
Things like having additional people occupy the property, to introducing pets when it is stipulated that pets aren’t allowed, to disturbing the neighbours, these issues shouldn’t be left unchecked. Should you have a change of heart and decide to allow your tenant to keep their late grandmother’s Siamese cat, the addendum should specifically state which species of pet is allowed, how many and if the said pet is allowed to be ‘replaced’ should the current one pass-on or be rehomed. One animal can easily extend to 2 and in no time a menagerie of creatures may be inhabiting your designer, once spic ‘n span property. It is very important to keep in mind that your conditions, need to be in line with that of the body corporate, should your property be located in a complex.
Property has been damaged
Whether the damage is intentional or unintentional the matter needs to be investigated and repairs done immediately. Ascertain whether the client is liable for the costs and bill them accordingly. If your tenant is recklessly or intentionally damaging your property then a stern warning needs to be issued stipulating the consequences and steps that will be taken should the tenant not cease their unacceptable behaviour.
If however, there is a designflaw which lends itself to repeated damage, the onus lies on you, the landlord, to rectify the problem (if possible) or come to terms with the fact that damage might occur again and it will be for your expense.
The above is another reason why incoming and outgoing inspections are crucial. Take before and after photographs of your property so that you have visual evidence should damage be done.
There is a better way
If you are tired of the headaches and are considering enlisting the services of a property manager, feel free to contact us at Platinum Century Property for a non-obligatory chat about our property management solutions and how we can best help you. Our wealth of experience, meticulous tenant screening process, background checks and hands-on management style will ensure that you are left headache free. Let us manage your property while you carry on with your life.