A challenging renter can become a property owner's worst nightmare. A difficult renter may not initially present themselves as such. They might come across as nice, quiet, and polite until after their lease is signed. On the one hand, you want to remain amicable, but what if you're being harassed, bullied, or taken advantage of?
With multiple rental properties in your portfolio, finding good renters and managing bad renter situations is critical for your success as an investor. Here's how to manage difficult renters and how a Sarasota property management company can help you avoid them altogether.
How to Spot (and Handle) Difficult Renters
In many cases, bad renters are easy to spot. Unpaid rent, repeated property damage, and causing problems with neighbors or other tenants are sure signs that you have a difficult renter in your Sarasota rental property.
However, your approach to resolving a bad tenant situation is critical to protecting yourself and your income and property. Property owners must follow the law to resolve situations as peacefully as possible to avoid a lawsuit.
Protect Yourself and Stay Professional
Always be careful when approaching residents that break your property or the lease rules and act with hostility when you send rental payment reminders. When dealing with difficult renters, stay professional by keeping all conversations cordial and polite. Use your office phone and official email—never your personal information. However, despite your best efforts to stay calm and find a peaceful resolution with a tenant, they might argue over different topics.
How can Sarasota property owners respond to common situations that can lead to difficult tenant responses? Here are a few scenarios.
Monthly Rent Misunderstandings
A raise in the rent or a misunderstanding over late rent can create a bad situation with a renter. Always document rent changes in writing and update the lease. Raising the rent should only take place when it's time to renew a lease. Before a tenant signs the lease, review the rent amount, due dates, and highlight any changes from the previous lease.
Miscommunications About the Lease Rules
Miscommunication or misunderstandings can lead to bad behavior from your renters. If they've already broken the rules and you're trying to enforce penalties, it's critical to document communications between you and your renter.
Keep a file of emails and text. VoIP phones let you record conversations, and a lot of businesses record calls for quality training purposes. Thoroughly documenting communications and having a thorough lease to back up your attempt to enforce a violation helps your lawyer pursue a legal eviction if it becomes necessary.
Grievances With Other Residents
Whether it's a roommate fight or tenants can't get along with the neighbors next door, sometimes renters try to bring landlords into their fights. Avoid these if at all possible. If you can't, ensure both parties are always present when trying to navigate lease rules and document the incident in writing.
"Mystery" Property Damage
Sometimes things break, and it's no one's fault. At other times, bad Sarasota tenants break things and either decide not to tell their landlord or claim that they "don't know" how it became broken.
When a resident reports a maintenance issue (or you find one on your own), listen to your renter and try to work with them. Stay calm and be patient. Listening goes a long way in diffusing a hostile situation. If your tenant broke it, work with them to cover the costs of repair. You can also deduct the repair balance from their security deposit as long as it meets the criteria for tenant-caused damage.
How to Avoid Difficult Renters in the Future
The best way to deal with difficult renters is to avoid them! With a thorough screening process, Sarasota rental property owners deal with fewer terrible tenants and place better-quality residents that don't cause problems.
As you establish relationships with tenants, keep it professional. Avoid building friendships that could compromise your ability to enforce the lease. Showing favoritism to one tenant over another can also lead to a discrimination lawsuit from tenants who don't benefit from your friendship as their landlord.
Renting your property to friends and family might tempting. If you do, make sure to treat them like any other tenant with a signed lease and impartial rule enforcement.
If you're not sure how to screen tenants—or you never want to deal with difficult renters again—the right Sarasota property management company can handle everything for you!
If you aren't sure about what property managers do other than helping with tenants, read these blogs!
Find the Best Renters (And, Break-Up with the Difficult Ones) with a Property Manager
There will always be difficult tenants. However, with the right Sarasota property management company, investors experience more excellent renters and fewer bad tenants and situations. Reducing problems helps property owners make more money! Better tenants follow the rules, pay the rent on time, and often renew their lease.
If you're ready to break up with difficult renters, Gulf Coast Property Management can help! Our thorough applicant screening process can help match you with the most qualified applicants (so you can avoid the most difficult ones!).
Learn more about finding the best property manager in Sarasota! Click below to download our free guide.