Best Ways to Handle Delinquent Tenants

stressWhat are some of the best ways to handle delinquent tenants? Needless to say that if you can avoid an eviction, that will likely make your life as the landlord much simpler. Sometimes a tenant gives you no choice, but if you do have options, why not take a look at them?

The first step is obviously to screen your tenants thoroughly before accepting them into your property. Check their credit, their criminal history, eviction history, references, prior landlords, and employment. It may be a lot of work, but it's less than an eviction will be.

Even with the best laid plans there will be a tenant that slips past from time to time. They may have had an excellent record up until you and then something changed. Suddenly the person that you allowed to rent the property and the person living in the property seem like different people. The rent doesn't come in on time (or at all) and when you drive by the property you find that it isn't being taken care of. What now? A lot of that is going to depend on the lease that you and the tenant have signed.

If they're on a month-to-month lease (or if they don't have one, which will default to a month-to month) that may make it a little easier. Check your local laws to make sure you give them proper notice, but let them know you will not be renewing that lease. You might also try raising the rent on them so that they will leave. That seems simple enough, but what happens when they're three months into a twelve month lease? Things get a little trickier.

Some landlords may try to work with their tenants, especially if it's their first slip up. This really does depend on the landlord, but often if you make allowances in your policies people tend to take advantage of that. It's often best to simply stick to them. Be strict with late fees and if follow through with warnings and written notices. Document everything, even if it doesn't seem important. If you need the person out quickly but don't want to go through the eviction process, some landlords will offer to pay the tenant to leave.

BiggerPockets has a couple of options on how to find alternatives to evictions. To read further, check those out here.
POSTED February 19 2014 10:50 AM

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