There are many ways a tenant could cause problems for their landlord. Maybe their rent has been late the past three months, maybe they’re subleasing a room in their apartment without your knowledge. Whatever the case, problem tenants can make your job as a landlord extremely difficult. Most landlords have to deal with difficult tenants at one point or another, so it’s good to be prepared and know how best to handle them.

Know The Law

Each state has unique laws and ordinances. Make sure you know your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, tenant rights, and the basic workings of notices and eviction procedures in your area. You may want to work with an attorney to set up your own rules and procedures. 

Act Calmly and Rationally

It’s easy to get angry when a tenant is causing problems. However, this kind of behavior will only make things worse. Make sure you take some time to calm down before addressing your tenant, this way you’ll be able to be more objective and not let your emotions cloud your judgment. Tenants will be much more receptive to what you have to say when you’re tactful and collective.

Document Everything

One of the best ways to avoid conflict is to keep a written record of everything. Document your own policies and procedures as well as every interaction you have with a tenant, good or bad. Note phone calls, save texts and emails, document late payments, notices served, warnings issued, complaints, maintenance requests, requests to enter the unit as well as what happens inside once you do, and any other interaction you have with your tenant. This may be a little extra work, but it will decrease the chances of a tenant trying to dispute any necessary decreases from their security deposit or other charges you end up making against them.

Teach Them How to Treat You

If you don’t reprimand a tenant immediately for not paying rent on time, they’ll think they can get away with doing it again. Instead, stay firmly behind the rules you set in place and you’ll find that you have fewer problems. 

Treat Them as You’d Like to be Treated

The golden rule can actually apply here. Go out of your way to be kind to them, even if they’ve caused you a lot of strife. While this can be tough, it can also help you build a relationship with them and make them more likely to comply with your rules. Whether this means being extra patient, replying a little faster to emails or calls, or another small task, it’s always better to err on the side of kindness.

Give Out a Termination Notice

If you do everything right and your tenant still won’t cooperate, it might be time to hand out a termination notice. There are several different kinds of warnings or notices you can give to a tenant if they simply won’t comply with your rules. You may issue a nonpayment of rent notice, a cure or quit notice, or an unconditional quit or vacate notice. Make sure to do your research in order to know what the specific rules are regarding each one of these, but in general, in order to be valid, they must include the tenant name and address, violation details, number of days in which your tenant must comply, signature and date, and proof of service.